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

Despite global emission norms tightening with every passing year and the heightening emphasis of governments on manufacturers to launch EVs, some gas-guzzling off-roaders are hanging on. Such is the case of at least Toyota’s go-anywhere SUVs Toyota Prado and Toyota Land Cruiser. According to a report from the Japanese auto magazine bestcarweb.jp, the company plans to renew the smaller of the iconic 4×4 SUVs for another generation.

Release Date

The fourth-gen Toyota Land Cruiser Prado came out in September 2009, and it has received two facelifts during this time. The all-new, fifth-gen Toyota Prado will debut in summer 2022 (June-August 2022), as per a report from bestcarweb. A dealer source of creative311.com also suggests a 2022 launch. As planned with the new Land Cruiser, the Prado hybrid variant may arrive well after the launch of the regular gasoline models.

Toyota Land Cruiser sketch
Expect the 2023 Toyota Prado to retain a frame SUV’s appearance and visual qualities, keeping its distance from crossovers. Image: Rendition the Land Cruiser by Instagram page landcruiserupdates

Australian launch speculated in 2023

A report 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 strong fan 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 recently. Toyota has to maintain 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.

Platform & Dimensions

The Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Prado would retain their heritage of die-hard body-on-frame SUVs. However, they would move to Toyota’s TNGA modular platform, which underpins most of the new Toyota models in the marketplace. Toyota has engineered a new version of the TNGA called TNGA-F for its upcoming large SUVs and pickups.

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, too. To this effect, the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado could have aluminum body panels that help keep the weight low. The hood, doors, mudguards, roof, and tailgate could be aluminum-made like the flagship SUV.

These revisions may offer weight savings, improve weight distribution, and increase high-speed stability. Expecting fuel efficiency improvements and planning electrification, the company could consider reducing the fuel tank size.

The next-gen 2023 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

The big news, although still only a rumor, is that the all-new Toyota Prado would be available with a new parallel-hybrid powertrain comprising a 2.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor(s). Seating options would be the same as today’s model – 5- and 7-seat. Customers would also get to opt for an improved version of the 1GD-FTV 2.8-liter diesel engine, which produces 150 kW (204 PS/201 hp) and 500 Nm in the current model.

CarSales Australia speculates that the Prado Hybrid would employ a smaller 2.5L petrol engine. When the time comes for a zero-emissions Prado, sometime next decade, Toyota could consider using a hydrogen-powered combustion engine instead of heavy batteries to power the e-motors. The company has started developing this new technology using a GR Yaris prototype, but it is quite a while from mass production. Expect clarity to emerge on the powertrain later this year.

Features

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado interior dashboard
Expect the new Toyota Prado to be unveiled in 2022 with a larger infotainment screen running Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, and new driver assistance features. Pictured is the current Prado, courtesy Toyota.

Toyota may offer many new features of the upcoming Land Cruiser 300 in the smaller off-road SUV. For example, sequential turn indicators (front and/or rear), gesture tailgate, 9-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-generation Land Cruiser Prado. In addition, the all-new Prado may offer more convenience with a wireless charger and USB-C port(s) for smartphones.

Current Toyota Prado soldiers on with minor updates

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado J150 received an update in the Japanese market on June 1, 2021, in what could be the final (or pre-final) intervention. The changes brought with this update should help the model stay somewhat fresh until the touchdown of the new generation.

Toyota has retained the grilles, bumpers, lights, and tailgate design but has changed the design of the 19-inch alloy wheels. According to a report from creative311.com, Toyota has reduced the body color options from nine to five: White Pearl Crystal Shine, Black, Attitude Black Mica, Red Mica Metallic, and Avant-Garde Bronze Metallic. Super White II, Silver Metallic, Gray Metallic, and Blackish Ageha Glass Flake are the discontinued color options.

The interior design remains unchanged. As per the report, the third-row seat upholstery has seen a downgrade from genuine leather to faux leather. The front seat backrests were said to receive a new design, but there’s no confirmation about that yet. Customers selecting the Black or Attitude Black Mica paint option can no longer specify the interior in beige. Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) is now standard equipment.

The new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado’s prices range from JPY 3,666,000 (USD 33,264) to JPY 5,543,000 (USD 50,295).

Toyota Prado 70th Anniversary Edition model

Toyota has introduced a Land Cruiser Prado 70th Anniversary Limited special edition model with the update in Japan. The special edition LC Prado costs JPY 4,290,000-5,118,000 (JPY 38,926-46,439).

Based on the TX L package trim, the 70th Anniversary Limited model offers unique styling with a black radiator grille, jet black radiator grille bars, jet black headlamp garnish, piano black fog lamp bezels, 18-inch black alloy wheels, piano black exclusive roof rails, black ORVMs, and jet black tailgate garnish. A 70th Anniversary emblem can be specified as a dealer-level option for a price of JPY 23,100 (USD 210).

The special treatment continues with a richer material and trim appointments with brown genuine leather upholstery and silver dashboard ornament. Black floor mats with the 70th Anniversary logo can be added as a dealer-level option for an extra JPY 35,200 (USD 319).

For the United States

Toyota doesn’t sell the Prado in the U.S., and it is doubtful to change its mind in the next generation. What the renewal of the Prado means for Americans is the Lexus GX staying in showrooms for another generation.

Featured image: Toyota