Next-gen Toyota Prado to come with a hybrid electric powertrain [Update]

  • Land Cruiser's younger sibling to get a complete redesign after 14 years
  • Will reportedly come with 2 hybrid powertrains, with speculation rife about a diesel-hybrid as well
  • Japanese media expect the debut in summer 2023; International launch could be in a phased manner
  • New Prado could pave way for an all-new Lexus GX in the U.S.

Update: ‘Powertrains to include hybrid’ section updated and ‘TopElectricSUV says’ section added.

Despite global emission norms tightening with every passing year and the heightening emphasis of governments on manufacturers to launch EVs, some off-roaders have managed to hang on. Such is the case of at least Toyota’s go-anywhere SUVs Toyota Prado and Toyota Land Cruiser which now has a four-year waiting period. According to a report from the Japanese auto magazine Best Car, the company plans to renew the smaller of the iconic 4×4 SUVs for another generation.

Platform & Dimensions

The fourth-gen Toyota Land Cruiser Prado came out in September 2009, and it has received two major facelifts during this time. As planned with the new Land Cruiser, the Prado hybrid variant may arrive well after the launch of the regular gasoline models.

The Toyota Prado would retain its heritage of a die-hard body-on-frame SUV. However, it would move to the TNGA modular platform, which underpins most of the new Toyota models in the marketplace. Toyota has engineered a new version called TNGA-F for large SUVs and pickups. The company used the F version first to build the Land Cruiser 300, followed by the U.S. market 2022 Toyota Tundra and the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, both of which have hybrid powertrains.

Next-gen Toyota Prado render
TopElectricSUV.com’s illustration of the next-gen Toyota Prado with inspiration from the Land Cruiser 300.

Toyota has reduced the weight of the Land Cruiser 300 by 200 kg (441 lbs.), and it will likely take all possible steps to make the Prado lighter. To this effect, the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado could have aluminum body panels. The hood, doors, mudguards, roof, and tailgate could be aluminum-made like the flagship SUV. These revisions can also improve weight distribution and increase high-speed stability. Considering the fuel efficiency improvements and the range benefit offered by electrification, the company could consider reducing the fuel tank size.

The next-gen Toyota Prado would have “a clean exterior design,” says Best Car magazine. Chances for a 3-door version look slim, while the 5-door version is expected to measure 4,825 mm in length, 1,885 mm in width, and 1,830 mm in height and have a 2,790 mm wheelbase. For reference, the current model (5-door version) has the same dimensions except for the height (1,835 mm/1,850 mm).

Powertrains to include hybrid

Gasoline Hybrid

The big news, although still unconfirmed, is that the all-new Toyota Prado would be available with not one but two hybrid powertrains, as per a report Best Car released on November 5, 2022. One of these powertrains could consist of a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated gas engine or a 2.4-liter turbocharged gas engine and two electric motors.

In November 2021, Japan’s Response.jp‘s had reported that Toyota could use a 400 PS (394 hp) hybrid powertrain comprising a newly-developed 250 PS (246 hp) 2.4-liter gasoline engine and a 150 PS (148 hp) electric motor in the Prado Hybrid. Perhaps, it was referring to the same engine that debuted in the 2023 Crown Hybrid Max in July 2022.

In the 2023 Crown, the new Hybrid Max powertrain combines a 2.4-liter turbocharged gas engine, a front motor, and a rear motor to deliver 340 hp of combined power and 400.4 lb.-ft. of combined torque.

Diesel Hybrid

Best Car claims that a diesel hybrid powertrain would also be available in the next-gen Prado. According to its July 30, 2021, report, the diesel-hybrid could be based on a 2.5-liter or a 3.5-liter engine. On November 5, 2022, the publication added that the diesel hybrid powertrain would also have two motors assisting the engine.

The Prado Hybrid could go on sale in Japan before overseas markets. If Toyota plans to launch the next-gen Prado in Europe, it could ship the first Prado Hybrid export units here before other markets.

Features

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado interior dashboard
Expect the new Toyota Prado to be unveiled with a larger infotainment screen running Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, and new driver assistance features. Seating options would be the same as today’s model – 5- and 7-seat. Pictured is the current Prado, courtesy Toyota.

Toyota may offer many new features of the new Land Cruiser in the smaller off-road SUV. For example, sequential turn indicators (front and/or rear), gesture tailgate, 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, 3D Multi-Terrain Monitor + Panoramic View Monitor, electric parking brake, and Toyota Safety Sense (v2.0 or higher) could be available in the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado. In addition, the all-new Prado may offer more convenience with a wireless charger and USB-C port(s) for smartphones.

Toyota Prado GR Sport trim

According to a report Best Car released in June 2021, the next-gen Toyota Prado will come in a GR Sport variant like the latest Land Cruiser. The GR Sport trim may feature a modified, more rugged exterior. Expect exclusive wheels, unique radiator grille, bumpers, wheel arch molding, and rocker moldings, black mirrors and handles, and GR Sport emblems. Inside, the GR Sport grade may feature a different color scheme and unique decor elements, an infotainment system with a special start-up screen, and GR branding on various elements. Cosmetic changes aside, thicker tires and a special suspension system that unleash more off-road capability should be the highlights of the Land Cruiser Prado GR Sport.

Release Date

In the piece published on November 5, 2021, Best Car said that Toyota will unveil the next-gen Prado in summer 2023. If launched anytime sooner, the Prado could face the same situation as the standard Land Cruiser, which has an official waiting line of about four years in Japan. Customer reactions range from disbelief to frustration when dealers turn them away due to closed order books or request them to wait until mid-decade to get the keys to the car.

Australian launch speculated in 2023

Before most of the aforementioned reports, an article from carsales.com.au in March 2021 had suggested that there would be a delay in the market launch of the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado in Australia, where the car has a large following. A source privy to developments has said that the redesigned model is “at least more than two years away” from the region. With the launch timing in Australia affected, Toyota Motor may also push back the market release in New Zealand.

The source revealing the deferred launch talked about the design of the model. The exterior would not be similar to that of the RAV4, as some auto magazines have represented it last year. Toyota has to preserve the design identity of the globally acclaimed off-roader, and giving it the garb of a crossover is illogical for this reason. Toyota’s crossover range has grown considerably since the Prado came out in 2009, and if anything, the virility would be heightened in the new generation.

Current Toyota Prado soldiers on with a special edition

Europe received a Toyota Land Cruiser Matt Black Edition (Toyota sells the J150 without the ‘Prado’ suffix in Europe) in July 7, 2022, with matt black details. The surround and vertical bars of the radiator grille, the headlights’ upper garnishes, and the fog light bezels are in this color. On the sides, the matt black is visible on the side steps, ORVM housing, roof rails, and 18-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, the tailgate garnish above the license plate is in the special color.

JP-spec Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Matt Black Edition front three quarter
On August 1, 2022, Toyota introduced the Matt Black Edition in Japan, with prices starting at JPY 4,300,000 (USD 30,387) and going up to JPY 5,118,000 (USD 36,168).

The Matt Black Edition also has a fresh look on the inside. Customers can choose from two new leather upholsteries and combine black seatbacks and cushions with side bolsters in contrasting gray or saddle tan. Under the hood, the special edition model has the same 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 204 PS (201 hp) and 500 Nm (369 lb.-ft.) of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission and a full-time 4WD system work together to send drive to the wheels. Sales of the Matt Black Edition were going to start in Q4 2022.

For the United States

It is doubtful that Toyota will sell the Prado in the U.S., but demand for Toyota SUVs is only increasing with the company launching the Corolla Cross and announcing a 3-row SUV (Grand Highlander) to cover the two ends of the range. This does not mean that the next generation of the Prado is coming to America, rather that the Lexus GX can be sold here for the next generation.

TopElectricSUV says

The next-generation Toyota Land Cruiser Prado is expected to be a massive upgrade from the current model. Powertrains — both conventional and hybrid setups — should receive a boost in efficiency without sacrificing performance, while modern design, new connectivity, and equipment will bring the SUV well into the 21st century.

The emergence of crossovers and strict emission norms are claiming traditional heavyweight off-road SUVs on by one — Toyota’s own FJ Cruiser has had to deal with this — but there are and will continue to be exceptions, and the Land Cruiser Prado is certainly one of them!

Featured Image: Toyota