While Toyota used to compete for headlines against other brands at traditional auto shows, it now holds its own press show in Brussels, known as the Kinshiki Forum. There’s plenty to see, whether it’s quirky side projects like the UK-made hydrogen-powered Hilux pick-up prototype through to the latest concepts. We’ll be driving some of these cars next year as final production cars, and others look a little further into the future. But from pickup trucks to family SUVs and sports cars to luxury crossovers, the direction of travel is clear: the shift to electricity through battery power or Toyota’s continued commitment to hydrogen fuel cells. Here are the highlights we’ve seen, some of which may be arriving at a Toyota dealer near you soon, others you may have to wait a little longer…
Urban SUV concept – the urban cruiser reborn!
Remember the Urban Cruiser? Probably not, Toyota’s compact SUV is quickly disappearing without a trace despite seemingly pre-empting our current fixation with small city cars that think they’re huge SUVs. One in six – count them! – Toyota’s new electric cars, scheduled for release in the first half of 2024, the production version of this car will sit alongside the hybrid Yaris Cross and enter an increasingly competitive segment against the likes of the Volvo EX30, which it somewhat resembles in its chunky appearance. In contrast, the related Smart No. 1 and higher-priced models from Chinese brands such as BYD, MG and other Toyota companies will need to keep affordability in mind. To this end, there will be two batteries available, with the smaller battery helping to reduce the all-important cost of entry.
Sport Crossover Concept – Toyota BYD’s Purosangio
It is scheduled to go on display in 2025 but will be displayed in Kinshiki after an earlier presentation in China. First impressions of the Sport Crossover concept are of more of a Ferrari purosangio in its curved nose and high but sporty stance. This is something we did not expect to say about a new Toyota car. We did not expect that it would be built in partnership with a Chinese company. But in a sign of how quickly things are changing in the automotive world, the production version of this car – due for launch in 2025 – is being developed as part of a new collaboration between the two brands that has already seen a saloon in the Chinese market combining the underpinnings of the bZ4X with ‘blade’ battery technology “From BYD. While Toyota executives promised maximum comfort and ample space, they freely admitted to us that this new crossover puts style before function, and if the final product is anything like the concept we saw, it makes a bolder statement about appearance than we might have associated with the marque. commercial before
GR FT-Se – Lotus inspiration and electric power
If the concepts Toyota showed off at the Kinshiki Forum looked good, the names were more confusing, tending to random combinations of letters and numbers. In this case, the ‘FT-Se’ actually stands for ‘Future Toyota Sports electric’, as GR is the brand’s Gazoo Racing division responsible for road cars like the GR86 and GR Yaris as well as motorsport programs in rally, endurance racing and more. This is the context. In the metal, the FT-Se has more than a little Lotus in its proportions, which is perhaps a quiet nod to the fact that the British brand has been using Toyota engines in its cars for years. However, there is no supercharged petrol engine in the back of this car, and any production version of the FT-Se will be battery powered only. The illuminated-pattern ‘steering wheel’ resembles the one seen in the hybrid Le Mans race car parked nearby, and – as we expect – is enabled by the innovative One Motion Grip system that we’ve already tried in prototype form in the Lexus RZ450e electric SUV.
FT-3e concept – the next generation of electric technology
Another concept and randomly chosen letters and numbers to describe it, the FT-3e offers a more practical, crossover-inspired counterpart to the FT-Se sports car. While Toyota is busy bringing the six promised new electric cars to market next year, it is of course looking beyond that and to the next generation of models and engineering that will follow. And that’s what we have here: the FT-3e is longer and wider than the current bZ4X but much lower, thanks to promised improvements in next-generation batteries. Beyond that, there are few details to report regarding what this will involve, although Toyota was talking in another presentation about so-called “solid-state” batteries and the potential for increased range, reduced weight and faster charging that they represent. Put two and two together and you get…the FT-3e. maybe.
The new Land Cruiser – the legendary SUV becomes a hybrid
In parts of the world where reliability and dependability are a matter of life and death rather than a mere inconvenience, the Toyota Land Cruiser in its many and varied guises has been the vehicle of choice. Unraveling this vast legacy in the context of different generations of Land Cruisers designed for different markets around the world (some of which are still sold side by side) is no easy feat, but this new vehicle certainly looks more commercial and perhaps more elegant than any of its predecessors in all their solidity. Fully utilitarian. It even smells like a Land Cruiser inside, that traditional whiff of plastic and vinyl familiar to anyone who’s driven it over the decades it’s been on sale. Toyota has interestingly listed ‘Western Europe’ as one of the markets for a planned diesel-electric hybrid version, although reading between the lines it will be the mildest possible form of electric and may still be a committed option even if it reaches the UK. .