Akio Toyoda and his soon to be successor as CEO Koji Sato are at pains to point towards carbon emissions as what needs to be minimised. How the car industry gets ever closer to net zero involves many technologies, they insist.

This report examines certain of Toyota’s newest models and what will be coming to replace and supplement today’s profit drivers. After all, big-volume vehicles such as the Camry, Corolla, RAV4 and Tacoma not only greatly help the company’s bottom line, they’re much in demand.

Cars

Both of the Japanese market’s Kei cars are up for replacement this year, these being the Pixis Epoch and Pixis Joy. Each is manufactured by Daihatsu. The successors will again be made at plants in Kyushu and have a 660cc engine. Lifecycles should be seven years.

There won’t be too much more in the way of changes for the existing Corolla, the car having now had a mid-cycle update. Generation thirteen is due in 2026.

The tenth generation Camry will be revealed during the second half of 2023. The platform is to be an update of the current model’s. China (GAC & Toyota JV) and the USA will again be by far the largest markets. A new Camry Hybrid can also be expected.

As with generation nine, Tsutsumi (Japan) should be the first plant to start building the new car. Other factories to switch over to Camry 10 (project code: XV80) in 2023 and 2024 would include Georgetown 1 and Georgetown 2 (Kentucky, USA), Guangzhou (Guangdong, China), Gateway (Thailand), Me Linh (Phuc Yen-Vinh Phuc, Vietnam) and Bidadi (Karnatake, India).

Is the new Crown – a tall sedan – a car or a crossover? Toyota hopes its sheer novelty will entice curious buyers.

In North America, where a car with this name had not been available for 50 years, there are two powertrain choices, each of which is a hybrid. All-wheel drive is standard.

The first of the pair is a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine (code: A25A-FXS) boosted by two motors and sending drive to both axles via a CVT. The alternative is called Hybrid Max. This has combined power of 340 HP via a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine and two motors (T24A-FTS). Drive to the back wheels is via an e-axle. The transmission is a six-speed automatic.

Crown production is at two Japanese plants: Motomachi and Tsutsumi. There are also rumours that a PHEV is coming later in 2023. Build in China should be added later this year. A facelift for all regions is scheduled for 2026 and a next generation in 2029.

Pick-ups

The next generation Tacoma will share its TNGA-F platform (for Frame, and also known internally as ‘F1’) with the larger Tundra.

Replacing what has steadily become the best seller in its size segment, the 920B series model will be launched for North America’s 2024 model year and have a likely eight-year life cycle.

Electric power – at least as an option – should be available for the new Tacoma. That will at first mean the availability of a hybrid powertrain but an EV option should arrive some time after 2025.

The Tundra must surely be one of the company’s best money makers. The latest generation of this full-sized pick-up, new for the 2022 model year, introduced TNGA-F.

While GM, Ford and Stellantis all offer large capacity eight-cylinder engines in their equivalent trucks, Toyota took the decision to replace the previous Tundra’s 5.7-litre V8 with two alternatives: a 3,445 cc turbocharged V6 or a hybrid version.

We saw a long life cycle for the old model and that could again be the case for this new one, stretching potentially to a decade or more. However, there will likely be an eventual EV to match those already launched by Ford and Rivian and others coming from Ram, Chevrolet and GMC. For now though, gasoline remains the energy source for all Tundra variants.

SUVs

Powertrains for the Indonesian-built Innova Zenix and India’s Innova Hycross are as follows:

  • 128 kW (174 PS) naturally aspirated 1,987 cc four-cylinder engine, CVT
  • 112 kW (152 PS) naturally aspirated 1,987 cc four-cylinder engine plus an 83 kW (113 PS) motor, combined power being 137 kW (186 PS), CVT

Both Indonesia’s Innova Zenix and India’s Innova Hycross are new for 2023, having been revealed towards the end of last year. Equivalents for this 4,755 mm long model’s other main markets will follow. Those countries are The Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. In certain countries, the name may again be Innova or Kijang Innova.

One of the major changes is the switch from a rear-wheel drive frame architecture to a front-wheel drive unibody construction. This also sees the overall profile change from a tall MPV to a crossover/SUV. Seating for up to eight occupants remains.

The name of India’s model changed because Toyota Kirloskar (the local JV) is keeping the previous generation in production. The newer Innova Hycross offers petrol or petrol-hybrid power whereas the smaller, older and less expensive Innova Crysta has a diesel engine.

A replacement in 2026/2027 will probably have new petrol and petrol-electric powertrains plus an EV option.

The sixth generation 4Runner is likely to be revealed next year and enter production soon after. Like the current model, the next generation of this SUV will have a ladder frame chassis and be related to the Tundra pick-up. That also means a hybrid biturbo V6.

As with the even bigger selling rivals from GM, Ford and Stellantis, Toyota’s Sequoia won’t be going electric any time soon. This huge SUV must be a profit powerhouse in a way that the company’s EVs won’t be for many years. So it’s no wonder that last year’s new generation model should remain in production until the early 2030s.

Toyota did at least dump the old model’s 5.7-litre V8 in favour of a 3.5-litre hybrid V6. The Sequoia retains a ladder chassis and is built at the San Antonio plant in Texas. To coincide with a mid-life makeover in 2027, there will likely be a revised gas-electric powertrain. That should include a new battery to replace today’s nickel-metal hydride one. This has a capacity of only 1.87 kWh.

While the 4Runner and Sequoia are mainly for the US market, one other and equally lucrative frame architecture SUV is way more global and in fact not available in North America: the Land Cruiser Prado.

The thrice facelifted Prado, introduced in 2009, has become one of the company’s longest-lived four-by-fours. The fifth generation model is due to arrive later in 2023. Build will be at Hino’s Hamura factory in the western suburbs of Tokyo, with additional production at TMC’s own Tahara plant in Aichi prefecture.

Gazoo Racing – ICE rules (for now)

GR division, a small part of the giant Toyota Motor Corporation, is nonetheless proving its worth in evolving the image of the Toyota brand. Ongoing rally success with the Yaris plus five consecutive Le Mans wins show just how serious and well funded the company’s Gazoo Racing programme has been.

After the worldwide success of the 86 (GT86 in the UK), Toyota decided to directly link the replacement to its motorsport division. The GR86 also remains a joint project with Subaru.

As was the case with the first generations, the interiors of the Toyota and Subaru are all but identical. There aren’t that many external differences either, not that this matters in the UK as the BRZ is not available here.

Whereas the first BRZ and its GT86 twin had a 2.0-litre engine, now there is a 2,387 cc flat four, which is again naturally aspirated. It produces 173 kW (235 PS) of power at 7,000 rpm and 250 Nm (184 lb ft) of torque at 3,700 rpm. The redline is at 7,400 rpm.

Drive goes to the back axle via a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Toyota GB offers the car in one trim level, pricing for the manual being GBP29,995 or GBP32,085 for the self-shifter.

Both cars are manufactured by Subaru Corporation with Japan also one of the main markets, along with the USA. As for Europe, it’s a niche region but still the GR86 already has something of a strong cult following.

The GR86 has been labelled “an analogue car for the digital age”, a description which I would agree with. It’s compact, at only 4.3 m long, light (circa 1,300 kg) and isn’t available with all-wheel drive as that would add weight and take away some of the fun. And fun is the right word.

If the GT86 was memorable for the beauty of its chassis balance, the extra power of the GR86 only makes things even better. Suspension tune is equally inspired and if the distinctive Subaru exhaust note seems a little strange at first, it soon becomes very welcome. A touch more volume would be even better.

Perhaps the only disappointment with this sports coupe is the fuel consumption, the WLTP average being 32.1 mpg. Roads replete with black ice during some recent days spent with a GR86 manual meant things had to be taken cautiously. That’s probably why I somehow bettered the official economy number by a few miles per gallon. And the CO2 average? That’s 199-200 g/km.

Toyota’s approach of investing in all technologies seems a sound one. Moreover, once many more of its planned EVs begin to hit the market, the fuss over its supposed lack of enthusiasm for such cars will die down.

GR division’s models will inevitably become electrified but for now, the GR86 remains a glorious, fantastic option for those who want an affordable 2+2 sports coupe. Bravo Toyota!

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