New model preview: Toyota Kluger

Hybrid power for next-gen Kluger.

Budget-conscious families with an eye on their bottom line will be delighted to learn that one of Australia’s most popular seven-seat SUVs will feature a fuel-saving hybrid engine option when the new model arrives next year.

The next-generation of the popular Kluger SUV will be Toyota’s first seven-seat model to offer both hybrid and petrol engine options when it launches here in the first half of 2021. 

The new seven-seat Kluger embraces a similar dual-powertrain strategy to that already featured on established models like the Prius, Corolla and RAV4 hybrids. 

The new powertrain option is likely to mean a fuel saving of 30% or more over the current V6-only line-up, which has a claimed combined-cycle average of between 9.1 and 9.5L/100km.  

Manufactured in the United States, the new Kluger will provide Aussie buyers the choice of a 2.5-litre new-generation hybrid system, or a 3.5-litre petrol V6. 

Toyota Kluger

The hybrid powertrain, which uses electric motors and a battery located under the second-row seats to supplement the performance of the 2.5-litre engine, is expected to deliver a robust 179kW.

The 3.5-litre petrol V6, meanwhile, looks to be the same unit currently on offer in the Kluger, boasting an identical 218kW and driving through an eight-speed automatic transmission. 

As with the current model, the new Kluger will offer front and all-wheel drive versions for the V6, while the new hybrid version will be all-wheel drive only, utilising front and rear electric motors.

Elsewhere, the new Kluger has undergone extensive changes, including all-new styling and a radically overhauled interior, with upgraded infotainment systems.

Australian specification has not been announced, but the new model is expected to feature advanced driver assistance features like autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist. 

Toyota Kluger

Built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture and featuring what the company says is a “lightweight and highly rigid body shell,” the fourth generation Kluger is claimed to offer enhanced dynamics thanks to a lower centre of gravity, and superior ride comfort. 

Importantly for families, the new platform has allowed designers to extend the body for a more flexible interior and expanded cargo space. 

Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the hybrid Kluger is a logical step for a company that has sold more than 15 million hybrid vehicles globally, including in excess of 135,000 in Australia.

"The all-new hybrid Kluger is the result of combining Toyota's hybrid leadership with extensive experience in SUVs, along with an unrivalled reputation for quality, durability and reliability," Mr Hanley said.

So far this year the petrol V6-powered Kluger range has accounted for a total of 3010 sales, making it the second best-selling large SUV wagon, behind stable mate the Toyota Prado.