The Japanese giant dominates the Australian new car market, but it is missing an important model from its line-up … not for long.
Large families will be able to reduce their environmental footprint when a hybrid version of Toyota’s Kluger seven-seat family SUV arrives in June.
The brand has enjoyed enormous success with hybrids in recent year. Australians bought more than 54,000 Toyota hybrids last year, representing more than a quarter of the brand’s overall sales.
The petrol-electric RAV4 in particular has been a huge hit, topping the sales charts in July last year.
Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s head of sales and marketing says the addition of the Kluger Hybrid shows the brand’s commitment to a sustainable future.
“The popularity of SUVs continues to grow and the new Kluger hybrid models mean that families can have all the space, comfort, refinement and versatility of a large SUV with a low environmental impact,” says Hanley.
The arrival of the Kluger hybrid fills one of the last remaining holes in its hybrid line-up — only the larger Prado and LandCruiser SUVs and the HiLux ute are without a hybrid option.
Ironically, they are the vehicles that most need hybrid power. A recent study found Toyota’s SUVs and utes were among the least environmentally friendly on the market.
Toyota will launch the Kluger in three grades: GX, GXL and Grande. It will be available in two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive versions, but the hybrid will be all-wheel-drive.
Hybrid versions are powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and three small motors matched to a CVT auto. Combined power outputs are 184kW. There is no combined torque figure but the petrol engine makes 242Nm.
Fuel use is a claimed 5.6L/100km, impressive for a machine weighing more than 2000kg.
The Kluger Hybrid is more efficient than any of its seven seat competitors such as the Mazda CX-9 (8.4L/100km) and Hyundai Santa Fe diesel (6.1L/100km).
Petrol Kluger versions are powered by the same 3.5-litre V6 engine making 218kW/350Nm paired to an eight-speed auto. It drinks between 8.7-8.9L/100km depending on 2WD or AWD according to Toyota.
All Klugers require premium unleaded fuel.
Prices start at $47,650 (before on-road costs) for the two-wheel drive GX petrol with all-wheel drive adding $4000 and hybrid power a further $3500.
GXL grades follow the same pricing structure with the 2WD petrol costing $56,850, AWD petrol $60,850 and the Hybrid is priced from $63,350.
The range-topping Grande costs $68,900 for the 2WD variant, $72,900 for AWD petrol and $75,400 for the Hybrid.
All versions have impressive standard safety equipment including auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist and radar cruise control.
Connectivity is taken care of via an eight-inch touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
GXL versions score heated, faux leather upholstery, satnav and a power tailgate.
Grande examples add ventilated front seats, head up display, 36-degree camera, leather accented seats and a 11-speaker stereo.
Toyota has said the Kluger is both wider and longer than before, which should translate into a roomier cabin.