News just in from Japan and from our mates at the influential digital magazine Best Car Web, is that the soon-to-be-released LandCruiser 300 Series will in fact run with a smaller displacement motor and so too the next 79 series, as the engines are to be shared across both platforms.
We commented on this back in December last year and in response to unconfirmed reports that a variant of the troublesome 1GD-FTV 2.8 litre was to be used in the new generations of Toyota’s famed off-roaders. Of course that was a bit of a leap, because Australian buyers in particular would have had great difficulty in accepting only half-a-LandCruiser. Other reports suggested a new six-cylinder diesel would be the motor to grace future Toyotas.
After being invited to Melbourne earlier this week to speak with Toyota Australia CEO Matthew Callachor, we got the scoop everyone has been waiting for.
Mr Callachor explained, “Toyota Australia is committed to bringing to its Australian clients a range of 4WD vehicles that carry the LandCruiser brand proudly and a 2.8 litre clearly wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy their curiosity. We needed to be bringing a vehicle to market with more grunt than the outgoing model and that we’ve got”.
He went on to say, “we told our head office that they were to give us something bigger than the 2.8 litre if we were expected to keep our dominant market share, but there was some pushback. Toyota is committed to an electric future and ICE’s (that’s Internal Combustion Engines) in our European and North American sales regions are facing a very uncertain future. To meld both technologies we’ve taken a radical approach and adopted a mild-hybrid design similar to the experience we’ve learnt from the Prius”.
It seems the six-cylinder diesel (inline) was going to be the chosen design, but in light of future emissions targets and the European legislation, three cylinders were lopped off, but the displacement remains the same at 3.3 litres. The reciprocating mass contained in an engine with a 1.1 litre displacement per cylinder is enormous and gives this new motor plenty of flywheel-mass and a stump-pulling amount of torque on its own which will appeal to Aussie farmers and the caravan set. The other benefit of three-cylinder technology is that they spin up to speed far-quicker than the previous model’s vee-eight and will hold much higher revs.
Mr Callachor quoted the standard engine outputs of 185kW/625Nm will be boosted with the 48V battery array from Denso that sits between the engine and the automatic transmission in the torque convertor housing and at full power the new 300 Series will boast 915Nm, making it the most powerful Toyota ever built. For 79 series owners there’ll be a detuned version that will peak at 750Nm for engine longevity.
To ensure a flat and linear torque curve Toyota have commissioned Aisin in Japan to manufacture a new nine-speed automatic transmission, nine gears chosen for the right engine/gearbox balance, three gears per cylinder and a seamless delivery of torque across all speeds. In another first, the 79 series will be available as an automatic-only and the era of auto/free-wheeling hubs is set to finish.
Jessica Maner, Toyota Australia’s Marketing Manager confirmed the hubs disappearance saying that for years she’s wondered why they were employed. She said “look, we wanted to phase them out ages ago and we would have, were it not for a job lot we bought from Aisin that never made it onto the old GU Patrol. But with the new model they’ll be gone, so there’ll be no more confusion, as our dealers report constant requests for clarification on their operation make them the single-most troublesome part on that car”.
She went on to say that it was high-time that 79 Series LandCruiser buyers were brought into the modern world and with some modern amenities, so they can expect all of the safety tech seen in the new 300 Series. “Safety is a priority at Toyota and we recognise that vehicle stability control and ABS brakes on their own aren’t enough, nor a five-speed transmission, so we’re going all out on this next one”.
When I asked her whether safety systems seen on recent new models like Isuzu’s IDAS electronics were to be employed she would only say “watch this space”.
When pressed about the likely popularity of the three-cylinder motor Ms Maner commented that “our partners in the project at Yamaha are confident that the technology we will share with them will achieve our global goals of reduced emissions, greater fuel efficiency and a cleaner planet”.
We’ll make sure that when the first press vehicles become available we’ll get you some proper reviews, because the world of the traditional LandCruiser is about to be tipped upside-down!