One of the world's last remaining true SUVs is about to get a touch of environmental friendliness.
Despite a recent recovery of pickup and SUV sales in the US, the overall global market for these 4x4s is on the downslide. Governments throughout the world are increasingly raising emissions standards and the basics of SUVs, i.e. big V8s and four-wheel-drive, simply don’t fit very well into this 21st century green matrix. So what can automakers do aside from discontinuing SUVs outright? Turn them into hybrids. That’s exactly what Toyota plans to do with its iconic Land Cruiser.
Beginning in 2016, the Japanese automaker will be a adding hybrid powertrain version to its big SUV. The 5.7-liter V8 will remain standard (for the US market at least) but adding a hybrid variant will help breathe some new life into the Land Cruiser and allow it to remain on sale in other countries. No word yet on what kind of engine the hybrid battery will be linked up to, but we highly doubt Toyota will allow the Land Cruiser’s off-road capabilities to be negatively affected in any way.