Toyota just announced that a pair of all-new hybrid models are about to drop. Toyota’s hybrids are hot. The RAV4 Hybrid is a top-seller and easily the top-selling green crossover in America. The Prius still outsells the cars at many successful brands. With the class-leading Corolla, Camry, Highlander, and RAV4 already offered in hybrid trims, Toyota has us intrigued about which new vehicle segments the two “all-new” hybrids will land.
A Tacoma Hybrid would be a logical choice. Strictly from a sales volume standpoint, the Taco would make a big impact on the corporate average fuel economy numbers Toyota is always striving to improve. Would Taco owners embrace a hybrid? It would depend on the user and on the truck’s mission. Would more torque be welcome in a TRD Pro? Sure. If it means sacrificing affordability and drivability? Heck no.
The 4Runner is also a high-volume vehicle. Would a hybrid version work in that platform? Well, if it worked in the Tacoma it would be easy to adapt to the 4Runner. Many families love the 4Runner as a “tougher than Highlander” option. Do tough and fuel-efficient overlap in the consumer market? Elon Musk thinks so.
The Tundra is not a big focus for the Toyota family overall. Although it would be a smart place to use fuel economy maximization tech, the Tundra does not seem like a place that Toyota will go with a hybrid drive? If we are wrong, it won’t be for long. The new models will be announced in six days.
One possibility is that the term “All-new” may mean a vehicle like a plug-in hybrid Camry Hybrid. Sort of a “Camry Prime.” If that is the case, the possibilities are endless. Toyota could “Prime” the Highlander, Corolla, or Camry quite easily.
We’ve received no advance hints about the upcoming “all-new” pair of hybrids. Tell us what you think they will be in the comments below.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin.
Image courtesy of Toyota media support (it's of a Corolla).