Toyota wants to bring a hybrid version of its blocky new Prado to Australia, but it still has yet to be locked in.
The company revealed its next-generation Prado (aka LandCruiser 250) last year but despite the growing popularity of its hybrid variants – which account for over 80 per cent of Camry and Corolla sales – it was only confirmed for Australia with diesel power.
“It’s certainly something that we’re deeply studying with our US counterparts, to understand the technology, to understand the capability,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing.
“We certainly wouldn’t rule it out, we have no announcements today but it is a technology and an engine powertrain that we are very interested to study further.”
The Prado is due here mid-2024, powered exclusively by a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system, producing 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque – identical outputs to the outgoing Prado, and the same powertrain that will be rolled out to the HiLux this year.
This powertrain is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with drive sent through a full-time four-wheel drive system.
In other markets like North America, however, the new-generation SUV will be offered with an available 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid with total outputs of 243kW of power and 630Nm of torque.
In the US, the manufacturer-estimated combined cycle fuel economy figure for this powertrain is 8.7L/100km. Official US Environmental Protection Agency figures have yet to be announced.
Other available powertrains, depending on the market, include: a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four with 207kW and 430Nm; a version of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel without the mild-hybrid system; and a naturally aspirated 2.7-litre petrol four with 120kW and 246Nm.
The new LandCruiser Prado – to be known as LandCruiser 250 in Japan and just LandCruiser in North America – is the first new generation of Prado since 2009.
Compared to the outgoing LandCruiser Prado, the new SUV is 100mm longer at 4925mm, 95mm wider at 1980mm, and 20mm taller at 1870mm. It also has a 60mm longer wheelbase at 2850mm.
This makes it almost the same size as the LandCruiser 300. Their width and wheelbase length figures are identical.
The new LandCruiser Prado will be available locally in five- and seven-seat configurations.
Toyota claims the body-on-frame LandCruiser Prado has a 50 per cent increase in frame rigidity, as well as a 30 per cent increase in overall rigidity. It’s also claimed to have improved wheel articulation.
The LandCruiser Prado has an electric power steering system which helps reduce loss of steering control when driving off-road, improves low-speed manoeuvrability, and enables Lane Tracing Assist.
Other features include: a stabiliser disconnect mechanism, a Toyota first; a Multi-Terrain monitor and Multi-Terrain Select drive modes; as well as a Crawl Control mode.
The styling is a radical departure from the outgoing model, which was a gentle evolution of its predecessor.
It features a bluff, boxy new body, offered with two different front end styles – one of which features retro-style round headlight elements.
It’s unclear if both styles will be offered in Australia at this stage.
The current Prado has been Australia’s best-selling large SUV for nine consecutive years. Last year, Toyota sold 20,710 examples, still comfortably ahead of the much newer Ford Everest (15,071 sales) and Isuzu MU-X (14,139 sales).