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Toyota to go hybrid with next Kluger

The next Toyota Kluger will follow the RAV4 and C-HR down the hybrid SUV path

12 May 2020

TOYOTA Australia has confirmed that its next-generation Kluger large SUV will arrive Down Under sporting the option of both traditional internal combustion and hybrid powertrains.


First revealed at last year’s New York motor show, the fourth-gen Kluger is tipped to hit local showrooms in the first half of next year with the choice of either the familiar V6 petrol engine or a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid setup.


The established line-up of front and all-wheel-drive configurations for the V6 variants will continue to be offered while Toyota Australia says the new hybrid will be all-wheel-drive only with an electric motor on each axle.


Power for the new setup is rated at 179kW – the Japanese giant has not yet quoted a torque figure – while the carry-over V6 unit will continue to pump out 218kW/350Nm.


Shifting duties will be taken care of in the hybrid by Toyota’s e-CVT (continuously variable transmission) while the V6 will carry on paired with an eight-speed automatic.


No official fuel economy figures have been revealed yet either but Toyota did say at the time of the new Kluger’s reveal that the new system boasted a 17 per cent improvement in efficiency compared to its predecessor – a hybrid setup has been available in the US and other markets for a while now.


According to a Toyota Australia spokesperson, the introduction of a hybrid Kluger was not possible until this new generation was unveiled.


“We have been consistently expanding our hybrid offerings in Australia in recent years and this was the earliest opportunity that a hybrid could be introduced into Australia, as part of the all-new model’s introduction,” they said.


The fourth-gen Kluger will not only expand the powertrain line-up (in Australia at least) but sales as well, with more than a fifth of all Toyota Australia sales now being hybrids.


Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the hybrid Kluger was a logical step for the brand which has sold more than 15 million hybrid vehicles globally and more than 135,000 in Australia.


“The all-new hybrid Kluger is the result of combining Toyota’s hybrid leadership with extensive experience in SUVs, along with an unrivalled reputation for quality, durability and reliability,” he said.


On top of the predicted sales growth, the Kluger itself will grow with the new model set to be some 60mm longer than the current third-generation vehicle and underpinned by the Toyota New Global Architecture GA-K platform.


According to Toyota, the new platform “allowed designers to craft a longer, more distinctive body that delivers a more flexible interior with expanded cargo space and a more tailored ambience”.


In terms of sales, the Toyota spokesperson said it was too early to tell yet what the sales split would be between the hybrid and V6 but expected there to be strong demand for the former.


“It is too early to definitively tell, but based on the demand we have for hybrid powertrains on RAV4, Camry and Corolla, we expect that it will form a significant portion of the demand,” they said.


“As an example, RAV4 had a greater than 60 per cent demand for hybrid in April’s sales results.”


Through the first four months of 2020, Toyota notched up 3010 Kluger sales, placing it second only to the Prado as the best-selling sub-$70,000 large SUV with an 11.5 per cent segment share.

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