They moved to Europe and quickly presented the updates for the 2024 Yaris Cross, and the slew of novelties included the new Premiere Edition and the addition of the Lexus LBX-like Hybrid 130 powertrain option. Next came the Asia region, and in Thailand, customers can now order a dirt-cheap (the equivalent of $13k) Hilux Champ – a modular pickup truck that is the production version of the beloved IMV 0 from the inaugural edition of the Japan Mobility Show, better known as the Tokyo Motor Show for almost seventy years.
Speaking of the company's home market, just a few days before starting the winter season, we found out that Toyota has kept its promise to reintroduce the retro-flavored-yet-modern-infused Land Cruiser Series 70! Now, finally, we get to December. Toyota returned to the Old Continent for this major annual event – the Kenshiki Forum 2023. And it didn't come alone because Lexus was present there, too. For example, the luxury Japanese automaker not only launched the first-ever LBX, now available to order and with deliveries scheduled from March 2024, but it also presented the details about the new technologies it plans to use to "accelerate its transition to a 100% battery electric vehicle brand."
The Kenshiki Forum in Brussels, Belgium, was thus host to Lexus' laying out a new strategy for the next generation of all-electric vehicles, "including a forerunner of a new production model due for launch in 2026." Switching back to Toyota, the mainstream brand of the world's largest carmaker, has its work cut out for it as there were only a few subjects it didn't touch during the event. For example, the company's fresh battery-powered and fuel-cell electric vehicles are set to "reinforce a multi-pathway approach to carbon neutrality." Thus, the brand presented for their European premiere the FT-Se sports car and FT-3e crossover SUV – but they also announced their Hydrogen Factory Europe is scaling up its local activities – all in a bid to "further grow Toyota's hydrogen business and stimulate a wider roll-out of the hydrogen eco-system."
But wait, that was not all. Instead, the company also revealed the European premiere of the Toyota Sport Crossover Concept, which previews a new series-production battery-powered model – a coupe-SUV electric crossover that will be introduced in the region sometime in 2025. It did not arrive alone at the Kenshiki Forum 2023, though – and instead, Toyota also unveiled the Urban SUV Concept, another preview for one of the six dedicated BEVs that will be offered on the Old Continent and various international markets. This one arrives even faster – the first half of next year, and if you think it looks exactly like an all-electric version of the second-generation C-HR, you're not entirely wrong.
The latter will remain a hybrid-only affair – now also with the option for a plug-in hybrid version rocking the 220-hp setup from the Prius Prime. In contrast, the Urban SUV Concept series-production version will feature FWD and AWD versions complete with two Battery options "to suit different customer priorities of driving range and accessibility." That's all fine and dandy – even interesting, right? However, if you don't mind me saying so, the real star of the comprehensive series of announcements performed during the Kenshiki Forum 2023 was the news that Toyota has started the pre-order procedures (beginning on December 5) for the arrival of the 2024 Land Cruiser in Western Europe!
With all the talk about hybrids, fuel cells, and BEVs, this might have slipped by unnoticed if not for the humongous fan base of the iconic nameplate – obviously, we couldn't just ignore it. As such, I really think the star of the show for Toyota's December attack was actually a model that's not precisely sustainable – the all-new J250-based Land Cruiser (known as Prado or 250 in specific markets), a sibling of the 2024 Lexus GX 550, and a model that will become available on the Old Continent starting with the third quarter of next year with just one engine. That will be an excellent (yet old) 201-hp 2.8-liter turbo diesel, by the way!