Car companies are going all-in on electric power. Volvo, for example, is promising an electric option (including hybrids) for all of their vehicles this year with 50 percent of their vehicles being fully electric by 2025. Ford is pumping $500 million into electric truck/SUV startup Rivian. The Volkswagen group is unleashing dozens of electric models in the next few years. And Toyota too has announced it plans to make hybrid engines an option for every vehicle they make by 2025.
Apparently, that includes the mighty Land Cruiser.
A hybrid in that legendarily capable—and heavy—V8 powered beast? Times are a-changin’.
Right now, in America at least (overseas variants include a smaller V8 and a turbodiesel), the Land Cruiser comes only with a 5.7-liter V8, which produces gobs of horsepower (381) and torque (401 lb-ft) and horrible gas mileage: 13 city and 18 highway, if you’re lucky. But you can tow a boat. And your around-town car. And your house. And another boat. And tow them all over the Rubicon, if you wish.
That thirsty, thirsty V8 slated to be dropped, however. The current Land Cruiser, the 200 series, has been in production and relatively unchanged since 2007. The new 300 series is due out in 2021, and, as reported by Australian car site Car Advice, the V8 will be shelved for a V6, likely the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 found in the Lexus LS500 sedan that’s already set to be plopped down in the next variant of Tundra trucks. Possibly a turbo-diesel variant will make an appearance in the US as well.
V8s are being axed in vehicles around the world, so even that smaller V8 (a 4.6-liter) available in some foreign markets likely won’t survive the update.
“You would see most brands are shifting down from V8s whether it be petrol or diesel configurations,” Bernard Nadal, head of product planning and development for Toyota Australia said. “It’s generally in the pursuit of greater efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions, so that’s the global trend.”
The most interesting news for overlanders who value fuel economy is the rumored hybrid powertrain expected to make an appearance soon after the 300 series first rolls off production lines. Some sites are reporting it will likely be a year or two after the initial redesign is launched before the hybrid makes an appearance, though since it will possibly have the same setup that powers the Lexus LS500h sedan, a twin-turbo V6 mated to a hybrid drivetrain, there’d be little reason to hold back production of the hybrid. Not much is known about the design changes for the new Land Cruiser, though speculation is that it will be redone to differentiate significantly from the more luxurious Lexus LX version of the same truck.
Toyota is tight-lipped at the moment about coming changes but it’s possible the new Land Cruiser will be unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show in October. Might we see the hybrid version debut along with the tradition gas engines?