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"Sooner rather than later": Now the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Hybrid is coming to Australia, and it could be here this year!

The LandCruiser Prado Hybrid looks set for a local launch sooner than you might think.

Toyota will almost certainly launch the LandCruiser Prado Hybrid in Australia, with the brand's senior executives telling CarsGuide the aim was to launch the electrified 4WD "sooner rather than later".

CarsGuide had been critical of Toyota Australia's decision to launch the all-new Prado with a carryover 2.8-litre diesel engine with 48-volt assist when a more powerful and likely more efficient petrol-hybrid powertrain was being offered in the USA and other international markets.

But that seems destined to change in the near future, with the combination of the pending introduction of government's New Vehicle Efficiency Standard and Toyota's commitment to what it calls a "multi-pathway" strategy to reducing emissions responsible for the shift in strategy.

"We were studying the options on all our cars before NVES, but let's be clear — whatever happens, there's going to be an emissions standard, and we will have to adjust our portfolio of product," Toyota Australia's VP of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, told CarsGuide.

"I just don't know now what that means, we're studying that, at the appropriate time we'll let you know."

Asked whether the hybrid Prado would launch in 2024, Mr Hanley declined to specify a date, instead answering: "sooner rather than later".

"We don't have a date, we are investigating the potential of whether that powertrain is suitable for our market. It's part of our overall decarbonisation and multi-pathway strategy. It would be an outstandingly good attribute to our product line-up.

"Speculatively, we would rather do it sooner rather than later, but we don't have a date."

Already confirmed for new Prado, which will arrive in the middle of this year, is a 48-volt-assisted 2.8-litre turbo-diesel, which essentially carries over from the current Prado and HiLux. That means it will still produce 150kW and 500Nm, with power sent to all four wheels via a new eight-speed automatic.

But the powertrain now almost certain to join is the i-Force Max, which links a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol engine with a 36kW electric motor integrated into an eight-speed transmission to pump out a total 243kW and 630Nm.

It should prove both powerful and efficient, and still deliver a 2.7-tonne braked towing capacity – admittedly down on the the three-tonne-plus expected from the diesel.

While initially ruled out for Australia, Toyota then declared it "a vehicle of interest", before this latest development.

No matter what is powering it, the Prado is expected to be an immensely popular vehicle in Australia. When asked how many vehicles had been secured for our market, Mr Hanley replied: "whatever it is, it won't be enough."

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to...
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