Toyota Hilux rumoured to be India-bound, gaining Hybrid

Until now, reports were suggesting that the Toyota Hilux may come with a hybrid powertrain in the next generation. However, according to a new report from driven.co.nz, Toyota isn’t going to wait years to adopt electrification in its 1-tonne pickup truck.

Neeraj Lala, the Chief Executive Officer of Toyota’s New Zealand subsidiary, said that the company hopes to launch a Hilux Hybrid before the end of 2021. Toyota unveiled the current, eighth-gen Hilux in 2015 and has given it two facelifts so far. The second mid-cycle refresh took place in June 2020, signaling that the eighth-gen model will continue in the market for a few years. This means that the Hybrid variant would be part of the Mk8 Hilux range.

To sum up, the Toyota Hilux is adopting hybrid technology earlier than previously reported, in the current, eighth generation. However, there’s a catch. According to the report, the Hybrid variant arriving next year will use mild-hybrid technology, not a full-hybrid or strong hybrid system unlike the other Toyotas in the market. So, a proper Toyota Hilux Hybrid HEV may become a reality in only the ninth generation.

The latest development has a lot of relevance to India. A recent report from autocarindia.com said that the current-gen Toyota Hilux is under consideration for the Indian market. Moreover, a livemint.com report last year said that the next-gen Toyota Innova will arrive with a hybrid powertrain. While we doubt the pickup truck will land in Indian showrooms with a hybrid system, the latest report leads to the possibility of mild-hybrid technology on Toyota’s utility vehicles, as until now we were expecting only a full-hybrid powertrain in the first-ever Innova Hybrid. Note that the Toyota Hilux, Toyota Innova and Toyota Fortuner sit on the same platform. They are a family of “Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicles” or IMVs.

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The Toyota Hilux that could arrive in Indian showrooms in the near future would probably share the 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre diesel engine with the Mk2 Toyota Fortuner. The pickup truck may see local assembly here for an attractive price of INR 15-20 lakh (ex-showroom). It would rival the Isuzu D-Max and could attract a new set of buyers to the brand.

The first Toyota hybrid model in India was the Mk3 Prius that saw its launch in 2012. The Mk7 Camry’s Hybrid variant followed in 2013. Their replacements, the Mk4 Prius and the Mk8 Camry’s Hybrid variant respectively, arrived in 2016 and 2019 respectively. Unlike these full-hybrid or strong hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the Toyota Glanza (rebadged Maruti Baleno) that arrived in showrooms last year was a mild-hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV). The Toyota Urban Cruiser scheduled for launch this month will come with a mild-hybrid system option.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the Indian subsidiary of Toyota, has confirmed that a locally manufactured Toyota full-hybrid car is in the pipeline. Seems like the future Toyota line-up in India will comprise more hybrid models, some mild-hybrids and select full-hybrids. The latest report indicates that we can’t say for sure that bigger Toyotas Innova will adopt a strong hybrid powertrain (like THS). Like the Glanza, Urban Cruiser and from 2021 even the Hilux, they could have a mild-hybrid system.