A hybrid version of the Toyota Hilux ute is on its way
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This month’s Toyota New Zealand (TNZ) virtual media conference for the new Yaris supermini also put a firmer timeline on the much-talked-about hybrid version of the big-selling Hilux ute.
Hybrid is now a huge focus for TNZ, with petrol-electric passenger vehicles and SUVs outselling their conventional combustion-engined equivalents for the first time year-to-date.
“We expect this trend to continue and even expand into commercials,” says TNZ chief executive Neeraj Lala. “We hope to have Hilux hybrid enter the market before the end of next year”.
Diesel or petrol? Exactly what form the Hilux powertrain will take is still unclear, but TNZ has confirmed that it will be a mild hybrid, meaning that the high-voltage power system will assist the combustion engine and power high-drain electrics, rather than enabling zero-emissions EV-mode driving.
TNZ has promised that the cleaner Hilux will still “do everything a Hilux needs to do”.
Early next year we’ll see the new Land Cruiser 300-series, which also embraces a hybrid engine option. Then there’ll be a hybrid Highlander. Both models will be petrol V6.
Following the phenomenal success of the RAV4 hybrid, TNZ is also working on getting the RAV4 Prime plug-in into the Kiwi market, although that’s not an easy task. Toyota has only just started making the vehicle in right-hand drive and at this stage it’s only sold in Japan.