Toyota Australia is not ready to talk much about the next-generation ‘300 Series’ LandCruiser, which it says is still “some way away”, but insists none of the updates including the speculated-upon addition of hybrid power will make it any less capable off-road or towing than the current one.
There has been endless speculation about the new LandCruiser, and no small amount of concern from some quarters the fitment of new technologies designed to meet worldwide emissions requirements might water down its legendary toughness.
In a recent conversation with Toyota Australia’s vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley, who generally serves as the highest-profile voice of the top-selling brand here, we prodded for some updates.
He played it with a straighter bat than Ponting, but did furnish us with some information.
“I understand completely that the LandCruiser has a massive following, and for our brand it’s deeply important,” he said.
Pictured: 200 Series LandCruiser throughout
“... The thing with LandCruiser, because it’s such an important nameplate to our brand, is this: any thought that anything we do with LandCruiser in the new model would make it less capable than the current one, is a thought that people should dispel straight away. Move away from that.
“There’s no way in the world we would do anything with the vehicle that would make it less capable to suit the Australian market, than what the current model is.
“... Of course, people often ask me ‘do I know what the new model is’? And in truth I have ideas, because when we launch a car we start planning the next model. It's not as if we sit here in an 8-10 year development phase and not know. We do know, but the truth is it’s just far too early for us to start talking about the new model.”
What we have previously reported regarding the 300 Series LandCruiser
Well-placed sources have told us previously the 300 Series will have a choice of V6 turbo-diesel and V6 turbo-petrol power when it goes on sale in late 2021 – before eventually being joined by a V6 hybrid a few years later.
Toyota says it's too early to discuss technical details of what will be the first completely new LandCruiser in 14 years, however CarAdvice understands the current 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel will be phased out due to tougher global emissions standards.
Speculation on the V6 diesel seems scarce, though on the V6 petrol front Toyota currently has at its disposal a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre Lexus unit that produces 310kW of power and 600Nm of torque, which eclipses the old 4.6-litre V8 petrol's output of 227kW of power and 439Nm of torque.
While there has been much speculation about a hybrid LandCruiser too, although CarAdvice understands that variant will arrive a few years after the 300 Series V6 diesel and V6 petrol models. As evidence that it’ll happen, we’re relying on the following global TMC statement:
"By around 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up around the world will be available as either a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option," it said in a statement.
Research done by Toyota Australia is showing its army of regional and rural owners are “very enthusiastic” for hybrid versions of the next HiLux and LandCruiser — provided they’re capable enough to do the work required.
“What we are quickly learning as we travel around Australia and we talk about hybrids in regional areas, is our regional areas particularly in the agricultural sector are well advanced in alternate powertrains in their other machinery,” Hanley has told us previously.
“What we’re also learning is they are very enthusiastic for Toyota to bring out commercial vehicles in hybrid, and what those would be capable of doing.”
For now, however, it's unclear if Toyota will introduce a diesel hybrid or a petrol hybrid LandCruiser. To date, Toyota has not produced a diesel hybrid variant of any vehicle.
Based on what we know is available today, Toyota could adapt the 3.5-litre hybrid petrol V6 engine used in the Lexus LS500h sedan, which produces a combined 294kW of power and 650Nm of torque – that's 94kW more power and the same torque output as the current twin turbo 4.5-litre V8 diesel.
“Potentially you could have hybrid diesels,” Hanley added, interestingly.