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New York show: Toyota to reveal new Kluger

Family friendly: The current Toyota Kluger (pictured) has been a sales hit, and a new-generation one is imminent.

Toyota’s new Kluger SUV set to appear this month in New York, Oz debut in 2014

Toyota logo15 Mar 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

TOYOTA will reveal the third-generation of its popular Kluger SUV at the New York auto show later this month before it goes on sale in Australia in the first half of next year.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed that Australian-spec Klugers will be built at Toyota’s Princeton, Indiana plant in the US rather than Japan where the current model is sourced from.

The announcement that it will show the Kluger, sold in the US as the Highlander, comes after a busy period for the Japanese car-maker, which earlier this year released the smaller RAV4 and late last year launched the top-selling Corolla hatch.

Also on the launch radar are the 86 cabriolet – premiered in concept form this month and expected to hit production this year – and the new Corolla sedan, due in late 2013 or early 2014.

While no technical or specification details have been released, it is expected that the 2014 Kluger will continue with Toyota’s current sharper, more angular design language that is slowly making its way onto all models from the Yaris to the Camry.

It is also unclear what drivetrains will appear in the next-gen Kluger, however there has been speculation that Toyota Australia will continue with the petrol-only policy of the existing model.

Expect a hybrid version to be offered in markets such as the US. It is unclear, however, if a petrol-electric version could make it to Australia.

In Australia, the current generation Kluger has been on the market since August 2007 but was given a major facelift in late 2010.

The second-generation Kluger was a major departure from the original version that Toyota launched in 2003, moving from a smaller boxy shape to the larger, more stylish version that quickly became a family favourite in Australia.

Although sales for the Kluger are down by 4.6 per cent this year, it is still the third best-selling large SUV in Australia with 989 units, trailing its Prado stablemate that recorded 1238 sales, while Ford’s locally built Territory leads the pack on 1316 sales so far this year. New York is shaping up to be an SUV-centric show, with Range Rover announcing that it will reveal its all-new Sport and Infiniti set to unveil a hybrid version of its QX60 crossover.

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