More than half of Toyota car sales are now hybrid and that number is expected to accelerate as diesels drop from the sales lists. To boost the interest in hybrid electric technology, four new self-charging hybrid models will be available in 2019. Included is the new generation versions of the RAV4, Auris and the much-missed Camry, above, making an appearance after 14 years, as the long-running Avensis prepares to make an exit.
What will interest Irish buyers greatly is that the Corolla, a long-time best-seller in many world markets, is to get the hybrid treatment also. While many may regret the loss of the highly economical D-4D diesel engine, the hybrid version in an all-new upmarket body will focus on economy and a “fun-to-drive” architecture. It is expected to come with a 1.8-litre engine and there will be a non-hybrid 1.6-litre option. The arrival is expected to be about February next year, after the world launch in China this autumn.
Prices for all the new hybrid models will be announced in October, with full engine line-up and specifications to heighten expectations and create an order bank. The move from diesel is likely to put pressure on hybrid deliveries which are expected to capture more than 70pc of sales for the importers, with the new Corolla possibly exceeding that in the family saloon segment. Toyota is anxious to maintain its lead in the hybrid stakes as dirty diesel faces pressure.
The new models get what Toyota describes as TNGA architecture treatment as seen in the C-hR SUV. The emphasis will be on driving quality as much as the styling and economy. The RAV4 hybrid goes on sale in January with a 2.5-litre engine and is wider and has a longer wheelbase. The Auris also gets a longer wheelbase with more spacious Touring Sport. It also arrives in January. Expect a 2-litre 180bhp engine while the Camry Hybrid gets a 2.5-litre engine with 218bhp.