Toyota: LandCruiser hybrid “an education thing” for Aussies
You don’t need to be worried about towing, driving long distances and offroad ability when it comes to a hybrid LandCruiser.
QUELLING ANY thoughts that a hybrid Toyota LandCruiser could be too soft for the land down under, Toyota Australia says that it has ‘considerable input’ on what the new model needs, and that ‘long-distance or hauling loads’ is firmly at the top of the list.
Recent reports from Japan suggest Toyota’s upcoming LandCruiser 300 Series will go hybrid, and now we can report that Toyota Australia says it has investigated alternative-energy drivetrains for the next-gen LandCruiser, and that an engine such as a hybrid “will be an education thing” for customers to get to know. Much like the recent adoption and subsequent proliferation of hybrids in models such as the Rav4 and Corolla.
As Practical Motoring previously reported, the next-gen LandCruiser is expected to replace the stalwart 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol hybrid motor. The move is fully in line with Toyota’s plan to offer an electrified version of every model it sells by 2030, and given that this next-generation LandCruiser is expected to launch within 12 months and last a decade or longer, it will need to bring an electric driveline.
Having the opportunity to talk with Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, and general manager of product planning, Rod Ferguson at a recent launch, Practical Motoring understands that the new 300 Series LandCruiser will not compromise on crucial features such as off-road ability, towing capacity and long-distance driving range, regardless of what the electrified drivetrain looks like.
“Of course, at some point in the future LandCruiser will change,” says Hanley.
“While I don’t have any announcements on the new LandCruiser today, what I will say to those who might be considering LandCruiser for the first time, is that whatever we do in the future you can be sure that this LandCruiser will continue to have the capability and performance its loyal followers expect.”
Replacing the current 4.5L V8, which produces 200kW and 650Nm, the new V6 hybrid is expected to develop north of 250kW and over 500Nm. The implementation of this engine – or the recently speculated 2.8-litre diesel from the Prado which could also feature as the only diesel in LandCruiser – has raised concerns over towing and payload capacity.
Referencing alternative-energy drivetrains in the next-gen LandCruiser, Ferguson told us that Toyota Australia is playing a heavy hand in input for requirements.
“We’re seriously reviewing all the powertrains of all the models, whether its hybrid, whether its fuel cell, whether its plug-in hybrid battery, the whole lot.
“Each car is a bit different as to how we approach each one or apply that sort of technology because the usage from a Yaris [hybrid] to a LandCruiser [hybrid], you could imagine different considerations.
“If we were to put a hybrid drivetrain in an off-road vehicle, our confidence has to be there that it is going to perform the way we expect it to perform,” Ferguson says, avoiding confirmation that there is a hybrid LandCruiser.
“We have our own testing regime which is quite severe to give us our quality control and our customers the confidence it is not going to give any issues, they are going to tow and do all of that sort of stuff.
“Maybe yes, it is an education thing in terms of the acceptance, but all things happen like that.”
Ferguson added that “I think you’ve covered some pretty good ones,” when we suggested top of the list for a hybrid LandCruiser would be driving range, towing capacity and off-road ability.
“We’ve got a range of different people that buy that car and they all have to be satisfied they can do what they buy it for, whether it’s long-distance or hauling loads.
“Anything we come out with, for sure, [it has to be] fit for purpose. We have to maintain fit for purpose otherwise we walk away from the requirements of our customers.”
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