Toyota recently revealed the striking new LandCruiser Prado and hinted at plans for a new compact model to carry the iconic name. While the LandCruiser 300 and new Prado remain incredibly popular cars, not even Toyota can avoid the ever-stricter emissions standards being introduced around the world.
Which means an electric LandCruiser is more a matter of when and not if. In fact, the new Prado has already gone hybrid in the USA, even if it has avoided the technology locally. Australian-bound Prado will be powered by an updated version of the existing 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine with a new 48-volt mild hybrid system, which is so mild that Toyota Australia doesn’t refer to the powertrain officially as a ‘hybrid.’ The US examples will get a new 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid, sold under the i-Force Max name that Toyota uses for its Tundra pickup.
While most LandCrusier and Prado fans will likely prefer a diesel engine, the stats don’t lie – the local turbo diesel makes 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque, while the new hybrid produces 243kW and 630Nm, comfortably out-muscling our local option.
But this is only the beginning. According to a report from Autonews, Toyota is preparing a range of plug-in hybrid, hydrogen and all-electric powertrain options for future LandCruiser and Prado models.
As we reported recently, Toyota has plans for a revived FJ Cruiser, a baby LandCruiser of sorts, and has hinted it may feature an electric powertrain. Whether or not the bigger LandCruiser and Prado models could work with an all-electric powertrain is less clear. These vehicles are renowned for their large fuel tanks that give them the range needed to explore remote areas.
Because of that, a plug-in hybrid would seem the most likely alternative, as it could allow for low-emissions urban driving but still offer a long range with the internal combustion engine. The catch is plug-in hybrids are becoming increasingly unpopular with consumers and car makers.
Toyota Australia has long been an advocate for hydrogen technology, either as a fuel cell or liquid hydrogen fuel, but that too lacks the infrastructure to cater to LandCruiser and Prado owners that want to go deep into the outback.
Whatever choice Toyota takes it is prepared, with the new TNGA-F ladder frame chassis that sits underneath the LandCruiser, Prado and Tundra prepared for a range of alternative fuel options.
Let us know in the comments or on social media what option you’d like to see for future LandCruiser and Prado models? Electric? Hybrid? Hydrogen?