New Toyota models to look forward to
Not a lot of vehicle manufacturers do this, but once a year Toyota South Africa gathers up all the local motoring journalists in one room and shares their future plans with everyone. This includes projected sales as well as new model releases. Regrettably, our invitation got lost in the mail for this year's SOMI (State of the Motor Industry) event but we still managed to get you the lowdown on what's happening in the world of Toyota here in South Africa.
Here's what you can look forward to from ToyotaCabin neutrality
The brand has been steadfast in achieving carbon neutrality, a headline topic for the 2022 SOMI instalment. This is still the goal for Toyota and it goes beyond the end product (cars). Toyota is looking into revising the entire production chain to reduce its carbon footprint. It's confirmed that by 2025 20% of Toyota vehicles sold in SA will be New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) also known as alternative energy vehicles.
A futuristic-looking sedan, the Toyota Murai is set to be the firm's flagship hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle. It hasn't gone on sale yet locally and no release date has been announced, but Toyota promises to share more on this Lexus LS lookalike at future events.
A local favourite, the Toyota Fortuner has solidified itself in Mzansi and there's now an updated version available. It's said to have a more aggressive appearance, with revised LED lamps and bumpers.
The '90s sedan will be revived but won't go on sale on a full scale, instead, it will be sold as a sample introduction to test the waters. The Toyota Crown will make use of a 2.5l hybrid powertrain with a total output of 176kW and a claimed fuel consumption of 4.4l/100km.
Toyota Vitz & Urban Cruiser
You've likely seen the pocket-sized Toyota Agya. Well forget that and meet its replacement, the equally compact but alarmingly familiar Toyota Vitz. It looks so familiar because there's an identical model from Suzuki - the Celerio. The two Japanese brands have a partnership where Suzuki gives Toyota access to a range of affordable vehicles in exchange for access to Toyota's alternative energy vehicle technology.
Set to join the Vitz will be the latest version of the Toyota Urban Cruiser, another offspring of the Toyota/Suzuki alliance. The new Urban Cruiser will be offered with more features and additional safety. It's set to be launched here during the second quarter of 2023.
Lexus UX BEV
Although not very common on our roads, the Lexus UX has been on sale locally for a few years, and now the brand is preparing to launch a BEV variant of the model. The UX BEV will produce 150kW and do the 0-100 sprint in 6.2 seconds. It's said to have a potential range of 450km.
Lexus NX PHEV & RX Plug-in Hybrid
Another Lexus model in the pipeline is the NX PHEV. Not much has been revealed regarding the SUV, but we know that it will be capable of covering 60km purely in full electric mode and do zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds.
A Plug-in Hybrid version of its stablemate, the RX, has also been tabled for the future and will make its way to SA at a later stage.
Words: Gugu Masuku