The 2021 Toyota Kluger has been caught on the streets of Melbourne, ahead of the new-generation SUV's launch late in the first half of 2021.
Images captured by CarAdvice's own James Ward and Kez Casey reveal the first examples of Toyota's fourth-generation seven-seater have landed on Australian soil, as the Japanese brand prepares for launch, which CarAdvice understands will occur closer towards the middle of 2021.
The white Kluger photographed near Toyota Australia's headquarters in Altona, west of Melbourne's CBD, appears to be a high-spec, V6 petrol model, judging by its silver 20-inch wheels and lack of a blue-accented Toyota emblem – a unique feature of the brand's hybrid models.
A closer look into the vehicle's Victorian licence plates suggests it likely touched down in the country in the second half of this year – around 12 months after the model launched in North America, thanks to a staggered development program for right-hand-drive markets.
Unveiled in April 2019, the new Toyota Kluger will, for the first time, be offered in Australia with a choice of petrol-only and petrol-electric hybrid powertrains, the former taking the form of a 218kW 3.5-litre V6 shared with the Camry sedan, and the latter combining a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with two electric motors for around 179kW and 'e' all-wheel-drive.
The new Kluger takes its biggest step forward over its predecessor in terms of technology, with the new model benefiting from its redesigned TNGA architecture to incorporate a variety of active safety technologies including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and traffic-sign recognition.
Inside the cabin, a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen – the largest in the class, and expected to be available with high-spec models in Australia – mounted high on the dashboard features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
While Toyota Australia has yet to announce official pricing details, given the additional technology, safety and comfort on offer, the new Kluger will likely attract a notable price premium compared with the current model, which starts from $44,850 plus on-road costs in base, front-wheel-drive GX guise, and tops out with the Grande AWD at $68,574 plus on-road costs.
The 2021 Toyota Kluger will arrive in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2021, with a local launch late in the second quarter of the year expected.