TOYOTA’S next-generation Land Cruiser is shaping up to get a diesel hybrid system off the back of strong diesel demand for large SUVs in Australia.
While the car being referred to as the 300 Series by enthusiasts – the model code is yet to be confirmed – is yet to be revealed, Toyota Australia executives have given key clues to the environmental performance of the upcoming model.
“We will have all forms of electrification and ultimately the market will determine which is appropriate for that time and that particular market,” said Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley.
Moments earlier Hanley was quick to answer “yes” when asked if a diesel hybrid system would make sense for the Land Cruiser.
“We’re a big market for Land Cruiser in Australia. We’re always analysing the future and market trends… there are many variants of electrification.”
Toyota Australia product planning boss Rod Ferguson reinforced the preference for a diesel hybrid.
He referenced various Land Cruiser buyer types – such as mining companies and farmers – who have diesel on-site, making it the preferred fuel.
“We’ve still got a number of customers who see diesel as important for the performance of their vehicles, for the torque,” he said, with torque and load lugging a major consideration.
“For the big SUVs we are still committed to diesel… whatever we apply has got to be fit for purpose, it’s got to meet the requirements of the customer.”
Toyota has already committed to have an electric or hybrid version of every model in its range by 2025.
For Toyota that means the next-generation Land Cruiser (and Hilux, Prado and Fortuner) will be engineered to accommodate a hybrid system.
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However, the company hadn’t yet confirmed whether the internal combustion engine would be fuelled by petrol or diesel.
The two other big markets for Land Cruiser – America and the Middle East – favour petrol engines, one of the reasons the rival Nissan Patrol is these days only produced with a V8 petrol engine.
But as the single biggest market for the Land Cruiser, clearly Toyota Australia holds some sway with global product planners, insisting a diesel hybrid would make more sense.
Over the past 12 months 99.6 per cent of 200 Series Land Cruiser sales have been for the 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel, prompting Toyota Australia to cease importation of the 4.6-litre petrol V8 (it has already been removed from the website and downloadable online brochure).
The current 200 Series Land Cruiser went on sale in 2007 and is expected to be replaced around 2022, stepping its V8 engines back to V6s as the company chases weight savings and takes advantage of engine advances that improve efficiency.