What future Toyota cars and trucks will we see?
When we talk years, we usually mean model years. What about flying electric taxis? Toyota’s there.
December 21, 2020. Toyota will finally release an entire series of battery-electric vehicles, targeting Europe first. Why Europe? Mainly because fuel prices are very high and emissions rules are very tight. In the past, most companies dealt with the price of fuel by using diesel; now that “clean diesel” has, largely due to Volkswagen and Mercedes, been shamed, hybrids and battery-electrics are the way forward. Toyota has grown its market share in Europe by roughly one percentage point in the last year, due to the shift from diesels to hybrids.
The first of the new series of electrics, on the “e-TNGA” platform, will be similar in size and shape to the current RAV4. It’s due in around two years, with a goal of having ten zero-emissions vehicles for sale in Europe by 2025, some created with Subaru, and six based on e-TNGA. Also slated for launch in Europe are an updated Proace City small electric van, though this is really a rebadged Stellantis/Peugeot, to be launched next Fall. Toyota does sell one fully electric car in Europe, the Lexus UX300e, a small crossover.
These electric vehicles may all be sold exclusively in Europe, at least for a while. e-TNGA is designed to range from small cars up to three-row crossovers, with rear, front, or all wheel drive, and batteries from 50 to 100 kWh.
Starting around 2025, Toyota plans to use a new solid state battery, which has different chemistry from existing car batteries; it is said to be lighter and faster to charge. Most likely, Toyota will make a small-run specialty car using these.
A new generation of the fuel-cell-powered Mirai is coming soon. Why, you may ask, is Toyota bothering? It turns out that they plan to use their hydrogen engineering for trucks, trains, ships, and power generation. Dual power stacks will run Class 8 trucks (the big semis, or tractor-trailer trucks) at two ports in California; in Japan, the company will test single power stacks in light duty trucks.
Lexus’ hi-performance V8 might be shelved because it could not hit performance goals. Indeed, Toyota may stop all V8 development, despite the Tundra and Land Cruiser, replacing V8s with hybrid V6 setups. Ford has replaced truck V8s (though not entirely) with turbo-V6 engines; Toyota could carve a similar path using hybrid-V6 combinations.
The Toyota Tundra’s 2022 redesign will probably be quite comprehensive, to leapfrog the aged truck for last place to first place in large American pickups for a while. It’s languished for years with the same engines and body. The next generation should include a strong hybrid version—not a “barely hybrid” Ram 1500 setup, but something more worthy of Toyota.
A new Tundra V8 may, though, already be ready; in which case “no more V8s” applies to future generations, not the one that’s nearly here.
If rumors of a 400+ horsepower V6+hybrid setup for the Tundra are true, there’s probably no need for a V8 anyway, except for the kind of traditional pickup buyers who opt for American brands anyway. The base Tundra will likely be a regular V6, with the usual 300 horsepower. Toyota could also, in theory, do both an economy hybrid (higher gas mileage) and a power hybrid (to hit that 400 figure). Remember, the Ram 1500’s V8 doesn’t quite reach 400 hp (unless, of course, you get the TRX).
The new Sequoia is being codeveloped with the Tundra, and the Land Cruiser will join it around a year after the Sequoia. The Land Cruiser doesn’t sell well enough to justify its own body, and the Jeep Wagoneer showed the solution for that back in 1963, and again this year. The original Wagoneer was launched at nearly the same time as a new Jeep Gladiator full-size pickup—no relation to the current Wrangler-based Gladiator. Confused? Buy the book.
Toyota, like most other automakers, is trying to move cars onto common platforms dimensions and architectures; the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Avalon, and future Yaris moved onto a single new platform/architecture. These newer versions have more invested in the suspension and chassis; years of cost-cutting are being reversed. The new C-HR subcompact coupe crossover is on the same chassis and to be updated soon.
A huge seller, the Toyota Sienna minivan — America’s most reliable minivan for many years, easily beating the Honda Odyssey — has been moved onto TNGA as a 2021 model, and was made hybrid-only. It’s the #4 selling minivan in America, down from #1, so it needs the attention!
The Lexus UX is a subcompact TNGA crossover. The Yaris sedan, a Mazda2 with Toyota labels (formerly called “Scion iA”), is being dropped.
Toyota worked with Subaru, which is partly owns, on a sports car, the Toyota 86 (formerly called Scion FR-S, and also sold as Subaru BRZ) — perhaps an unfortunate name, shared with slang for rejecting or getting rid of something, and with Maxwell Smart’s code number. There’s another joint venture based sports car coming — the next-gen Toyota Supra, which is mainly a BMW. A four cylinder and six cylinder are anticipated; the race version, likely not sharing parts with the production version, has already been shown.
In 2009, nearly ten years ago, Akio Toyoda took control of Toyota as President and almost immediately dropped his predecessor’s plan to boost global market share, instead changing Toyota’s priorities to focus on high-quality, affordable cars. Akio Toyoda said that rapid growth had strained Toyota’s resources. Today, Toyota is, like other automakers, pushing resources into the increasingly-popular crossovers; but it has not stopped supporting cars, either.
What about Lexus? The IS and GS may be dropped, and the ES may be extended with all wheel drive and a power boost to take up where the GS left off. There will be no sub-$30,000 Lexus cars or crossovers (big surprise). A new three-row Lexus crossover is likely, and the company is looking into other crossover niches. The new ES gained a power boost and an additional two forward gears in the transmission, and moved to the capable new TNGA platform/architecture. A new F Sport package is expected to account for nearly a quarter of new Lexus ES sales.
Stay tuned for updates to this page.