Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), at the 2003 North America International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, on Tuesday unveiled the SU-HV-an SUV concept vehicle featuring the new Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system, which is claimed to be an evolutionary leap in hybrid technology.

When paired with a V6 (3.3L) engine, the new system achieves dynamic performance on par with a V8-powered SUV, giving the SU-HV the all-important motor vehicle characteristic of being fun to drive. Toyota claims the SU-HV driving experience is also smooth, thanks to an electronically controlled CVT (continuously variable transmission) for shift shock-free acceleration.

On the environmental side, the Hybrid Synergy Drive gives the SU-HV compact-class fuel efficiency and puts it in the highest tier of ultra-low emission SUVs. Preventive safety in the SU-HV is highly enhanced through electronically controlled 4WD and an ECB (electric control braking) system.

Toyota also displayed the FINE-S (Fuel Cell Innovative Emotion-Sport), a distinctive next-generation sports vehicle concept that maximises the special advantages of fuel cells, and the FJ Cruiser, an off-road type concept vehicle.

The FINE-S features Toyota’s proprietary fuel cell and hybrid technologies but is an evolutionary design with low centre of gravity achieved by mounting the fuel-cell power unit and auxiliary equipment below the floor and independent four-wheel control.

The FJ Cruiser is based on the ‘original’ Land Cruiser FJ40 and was developed with modern vehicle concepts in mind to appeal to the small truck market and younger drivers.