Kia rolls out robotic guard dogs to patrol factory
We wouldn't normally write a story about a new security guard starting work at...
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
Toyota is likely to go hybrid only with the next-generation version of the iconic Land Cruiser SUV, with the so-called ‘300 Series’ model expected to adapt new drivetrains and technology when it arrives in the coming years.
Officially there’s no word on when the new 300 Series Land Cruiser will arrive. You guessed it, will replace the current 200 Series model - but it’ll likely be a very different offering to the existing model, which runs the choice of a 4.5-litre turbo diesel V8 (200kW/650Nm) and a 4.6-litre petrol V8 (227kW/439Nm).
Instead, it is expected Toyota will offer the choice of two downsized, hybrid-backed engines. Indeed, the company is set to embark on a rural roadshow to spruik the benefits of hybrids in the coming months. The aim being to discuss the extent to which hybridised models will impact customers in areas outside of the major cities.
“I can’t comment today on what’s going to be in the next LandCruiser,” said Bernard Nadal, product planning and development manager at Toyota Australia - but he did indicate that the move towards smaller capacity engines is something that is widespread in the automotive space.
“Very generally speaking, most brands are downsizing their V8s - whether its petrol or diesel in configuration, generally in the pursuit of greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. That’s the global trend,” Mr Nadal said.
Mr Nadal indicated that turbocharged downsized engines are just part of the landscape, and that “Toyota is clearly a leader in hybrid technology”, and that leads us to believe the next-gem versions of the Land Cruiser and Prado may well package both elements together.
Toyota Australia director of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, said that the company hasn’t spoken directly to customers about the future of the larger SUVs in its line-up, but that it needs to start communicating about what the technology means for consumers.
“We haven’t done any research on LandCruiser or Prado - big SUV buyers - as such around hybrid. What we know is that if the performance is right, if it can do the functions that the consumer needs for that vehicle to do - whether it be commercially or privately - then people will adapt to hybrid,” said Mr Hanley.
“So we do believe that based on the vehicles and offerings we have with hybrid variants right now, that if it’s priced right, performs right, is practical and it still serves to reduce our CO2 footprint and provide fuel efficiency, consumers will gravitate,” said Mr Hanley.
“We are about to embark on what we’re calling a Hybrid Cavalcade. That’s not a tool to sell vehicles - it’s to start the conversation in regional Australia about hybrid technology.
“We’ll go all around Australia - we’re going to every regional, rural Toyota dealer in Australia to see their customers so we can start the discussion about hybrid technology. What it represents, what it can do, where it’s going to go for Toyota Australia. We want to talk about electrification, we want to talk about reducing our CO2 footprint. We want to start the conversation.
“Up until RAV4 we truly haven’t had a product that would necessarily be attractive to the agricultural area. But given our statement on electrification, our diversification of our range in the future, we know we’ve got to start that conversation. We want our customers - our existing customers and our potential customers - to be comfortable that hybrid can deliver on the things they require going forward.
“We want to start the hybrid discussion in Australia - and that will start in the second half of this year,” said Mr Hanley.
“It’s a really important step for Toyota. It represents, I think, very publicly, how important regional Australia is to the Toyota brand.
We’ve never ruled them out, right. We have a commitment - well before any government legislation arrives.
“That will mean a certain form of electrification across our range going forward,” said Mr Hanley. “Hybrid technology should not compromise capability.”
Mr Nadal indicated that any such hybrid high-end SUV will meet the current standards of towing capability - pegged at 3.5 tonnes for the Land Cruiser 200 Series.
Early indications suggest the new-generation Land Cruiser 300 Series will launch in 2021, and it could debut high-tech firsts such as see-through pillar technology to eliminated forward blind spots.