Toyota New Zealand has today confirmed that a mild-hybrid Hilux will go on sale locally in early 2024, potentially giving Kiwis a new way to beat the ute tax.
Rising fuel prices and the Clean Car Standard have no doubt been two things on ute customers’ minds of late, with both set to increase from the start of July.
However, a more fuel efficient and potentially ute tax-beating Hilux could be a way to curve these costs.
The hybrid Hilux will feature a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox that is combined with a 48V battery and an electric motor-generator among other components.
A stop/start system will also feature along with improved off-road driveability and reduced noise, vibration, and harshness, according to Toyota.
It’ll also be just as capable as the current crop of Hiluxes with the four-wheel drive hybrid models maintaining a braked towing capacity of 3500kg.
We can expect to hear more information about the ute’s specifications and performance closer to launch.
Considering utes are one of the country’s largest vehicle segments, the new model will play a crucial role in Toyota New Zealand’s goal to reduce its overall tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions by 46 per cent by 2030.
“The hybrid Hilux will be an important addition to our range and will enable many tradies, farmers, and businesses to reduce their carbon footprints,” Toyota New Zealand CEO, Neeraj Lala, says.
“We have maintained for a long time, that hybrid technology is the best solution to decarbonisation until fully battery electric technology is both available and affordable.
“Our ambition is to offer a fully electric Hilux, however, until that is available, hybrid remains the best technology and will only drive our overall emissions down further.”
Fees for “high-emitting” vehicles like petrol and diesel utes are set to rise on 1 July 2023, with models like the Hilux SR5 Cruiser being hit with an increase from $2,357.50 to $5,002.50. So the hybrid Hilux couldn’t arrive at a better time considering it’ll likely slot into the neutral zone, meaning it won’t receive a fee or rebate.
Toyota New Zealand expects that the mild-hybrid Hilux will be in the hands of customers by as early as the first quarter of 2024.