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Sydney show: Toyota touts hybrid horizon

X marks the spot: Hybrid X concept previews Toyota’s MkIII Prius.

Toyota reveals updated Yaris, RAV4 and HiLux plus three hybrids ahead of Sydney show

7 Oct 2008

WHILE others will be busy showing their current showroom wares at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre on Thursday, Toyota will use the Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) opening to unveil three hybrid models it says “explore new frontiers for cars of the future”.

Unveiled in Sydney today ahead of their national motor show debuts on October 9, the trio is led by the Hybrid X – a concept that not only previews the look of the next-generation Prius that will be unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January, but also “proposes creative solutions that will potentially become signature points of a specific hybrid identity”.

The four-door, four-seater Hybrid X rides on a 2800mm wheelbase (longer than the Camry’s) and at 4500mm long, 1850mm wide and 1440mm high is slightly larger than the current Prius. It debuted globally at the Geneva motor show in March and was designed by Toyota’s European design centre in France, ED2.

It features swivelling rear seats, drive-by-wire steering, LED headlights, custom 20-inch wheels and a futuristic, cab-forward body shape dominated by a massive U-shaped windscreen.

Also on display will be the Supra HV-R, the first and only hybrid vehicle to win a motor race – in this case the 2007 Tokachi 24-hour endurance race in Japan, which it won by 19 laps after starting from pole.

Toyota says the 1080kg hybrid Supra, which combines a 350kW 4.5-litre V8 with an 150kW electric motor, two small front-wheel motors and a quick-charging capacitor instead of a battery pack, provided key data on making petrol-electric drive systems lighter, more powerful and more efficient.

Finally, the same (left-hand drive) US-spec Camry Hybrid that was presented to government and the media in June, when Toyota announced its plan to produce 10,000 Camry Hybrids annually from 2010, will also take to the Toyota stand as the car-maker reiterates its intention to sell one million hybrid vehicles a year globally as soon as possible after 2010. By the 2020s, it says it will employ hybrid technology in all of its model lines.

Toyota has sold 1.6 million hybrids worldwide to date (including almost 11,000 examples of the Prius in Australia) and estimates those vehicles have cut CO2 emissions by more than seven million tonnes and saved at least 2.7 million kilolitres.

GoAuto understands low-volume exports to the Middle East will be part of the program when Australia joins Japan, the US and Thailand in producing the Camry Hybrid from early 2010. It will be produced at Toyota’s Altona factory alongside the Aurion V6 and Camry four – a record 98,000 of which were exported to more than 20 countries in 2007.

Also announced on Tuesday were facelifted versions of Toyota’s Yaris, RAV4 and HiLux, while both the HiLux TRD and Aurion TRD come in for interior colour and trim updates.

As we’ve previously reported, the nation’s top-selling ute now comprises a new trapezoidal grille, new front bumper, new headlights with clear indicator lenses, upgraded front suspension damping and, for 4x2 models, upgraded rear suspension damping, bushes and double-row, roller-type axle bearings.

Single and dual-cab versions of the entry-level WorkMate are now also available with an automatic transmission for the first time, priced at $2000, bringing the number of HiLux 4x2 variants to 16.

8 center imageLeft, from top: Facelifted Yaris, RAV4 and HiLux US Camry Hybrid and Supra HV-R. Headlining the 2009 HiLux technical upgrade are Euro 4 emissions-compliant versions of the WorkMate’s 2.7-litre four (which as a result is slightly down on both power and torque at 116kW and 240Nm respectively) and the 4.0-litre V6. The WorkMate now also comes standard with 15-inch steel wheel as standard, allowing the standard fitment of 20mm-larger (275mm) front brake discs across the range.

Inside, there is a 300mm-higher new shift console for all manual HiLuxes, a front passenger vanity mirror cover, and new light and wiper control switches.

Rounding out the HiLux tech change is a new 15-inch alloy wheel for the 4x4 SR5, while all SR5s gain a chrome/grey grille instead of the previous body-coloured item, plus multi-function steering wheel controls. The SR5 Double Cab also scores standard cruise control, while the Kluger’s Tidal Blue metallic paint colour is now also offered.

While Toyota has held the current pricing for the WorkMate, 4x2 turbo-diesels and 4x4 SR V6 petrol single-cab and cab-chassis variants, it says prise rises across the rest of the range average just one per cent.

Toyota’s top-selling compact SUV, meantime, goes on sale in facelifted guise from this week, featuring active front head restraints, switchable traction/stability control and a hill-start assist function across the entire range.

Continuing the safety upgrade is a driver’s knee airbag as standard on seven variants except the entry-level CV four-cylinder, on which it is optional as part of a safety pack that also comprises front side airbags, side curtain airbags and dual-zone climate-control.

The four-cylinder Cruiser L and top-spec ZR6 V6 gain an electro-chromatic interior rear-view mirror, while auto on/off headlights are fitted to the RAV4 Cruiser, Cruiser L, SX6 and ZR6, and the entry-level V6 CX6 grade scores climate-control.

A new five-spoke alloy wheel replaces the six-spoke items on the RAV4 Cruiser and Cruiser L, while a new six-spoke wheel replaces the five-spoker on the V6 SX6 and ZR6.

Visually, the revised RAV4 presents a new grille, plus new headlights, front foglights, front and rear bumpers, rear lighting and exterior mirrors with integrated side repeater lamps. Graphite, Sandstone and Liquid Bronze join the exterior paint colour palette. Inside, the 2009 RAV cops new front air-vent switches and easier-to-read instrument meters.

The MY2009 RAV4 range continues to comprise three five-speed auto-only V6s and three four-cylinder variants available with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. Entry-level pricing remains unchanged at $31,990 for the 2.4-litre CV manual, while four-cylinder Cruiser variants drop by $500 and the mid-range SX6 V6 rises by $1000 to $44,990.

Toyota’s top-selling light car also comes for improved safety, comfort and cosmetics as part of a Yaris sedan and hatch facelift available from this week, when entry-level pricing remains at the same $15,190 for the YR 1.3 three-door manual. Meantime, YRS and YRX hatch versions drop in price by between $50 and $250 and sedan variant prices increase by between $200 and $400.

Fresh Yaris features include new headlights with increased reflector area, new front and rear bumpers, a new grille, new tail-lights with LED stop lights, more interior assist grips, two remote keys and a “warm silver” centre cluster finish for all models.

Additionally, both Yaris sedan variants get two new exterior paint colour options (Santorini and Tidal Blue), while all six Yaris hatch models are now also offered in Graphite, Lustre and Sting.

There is also the addition of telescopic steering wheel adjustment on the entry-level YR, illumination for the steering wheel-mounted audio switches on Yaris YRS and YRX hatch versions, a gear selection indicator for automatic sedans and a new Jacquard-weave seat trim with individual dark grey patterns for the YR and YRS hatch, YRX hatch and both YRS and YRX sedan.

The YRX sedan and hatch feature new bodykits, the latter comprising a new body-coloured grille insert while the sedan gains a new block-pattern grille and new exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. YRS and YRX grades score chrome rings on their air-conditioning registers. Finally, the Yaris hatch comes with a new wheel cover design on the YR and YRS, and a new eight-spoke 15-inch alloy wheel on the YRX.

Toyota also points out that manual versions of the Yaris 1.3 and 1.5 have now achieved a maximum five-star rating from the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide, joining the Prius and making them the only cars to do so using regular unleaded petrol.

Finally, the special-edition Aurion Touring announced on September 30 offers a claimed $2500 worth of extra equipment over the entry-level AT-X sedan upon which it is based.

Added features include four 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler (which together normally retail at $1150), plus a six-CD stacker, front foglights, dual-zone climate-control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, trip computer and front/rear parking sensors, for $34,990.

Read more:

First look: Toyota's overhauled HiLux surfaces

First look: Toyota Yaris gets a minor makeover

First look: Toyota shows its next-gen hybrid hand

Green light for Australian-built Camry Hybrid

Toyota investigates LPG Aurion

First drive: Toyota blows sport into Aurion

GoAuto can help you buy a new Hybrid X

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