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2026 Toyota Kluger to go electric? North American executives indicate next-gen seven-seat Hyundai Palisade, Nissan Pathfinder rival could transition to electric car | report

Could Toyota's next Kluger be electric? That's what North American executives are indicating.

Toyota’s electric vehicle strategy remains shrouded in mystery after the brand turned its attention to rapid development of BEVs last year. 

The brand’s first electric car, the bZ4X, has been greeted with lukewarm critical reception in Australia and the United States, and this has had planners in North America thinking about Toyota’s next electric move. 

A report from CarBuzz, which spoke to Toyota USA General Manager David Christ, indicated that the company is planning an all-electric Kluger – known as Highlander in North America – as its next major EV move.

The electric Kluger is expected to replace the petrol and hybrid version entirely, according to the report. Not only will it be a large battery vehicle to suit North American and Australian tastes, but it may spell an end to Toyota’s ‘bZ’ badging as well. 

Launched at the 2019 New York International motor show, Toyota’s fourth generation Hyundai Palisade and Nissan Pathfinder rival is due for replacement in 2026, perfectly aligning with Toyota’s intention to roll out a fleet of next-gen electric products. 

Reportedly, the Kluger/Highlander electric car will be built at Toyota’s Kentucky plant, where the current vehicle is made for domestic consumption. It could be the jumping point for a next-gen electric Lexus TX as well.

Toyota has committed to rolling out a series of electric cars and has teased an EV LandCruiser.

To follow the roughly C-HR-sized bZ3X due in 2025, the next-gen large SUV could be the first electric Toyota to drop the bZ branding. This information is for the United States, though it could be that Kluger changes to bZ5X in Japan and Australia. 

Toyota is currently working away on a series of as-yet unconfirmed electric vehicles. A few may include production versions of concepts shown at the 2023 Tokyo Mobility Show, such as a mid-size ute, road-biassed LandCruiser model and FT-Se sports car.

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen power will also continue to feature heavily in Toyota’s future, both in Australia and globally.

Toyota is also expected to have an electric dual-cab ute in the future.

CarsGuide has contacted Toyota Australian for comment on a next-gen electric Kluger.

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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