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Welcome to the latest edition of our 2021 car preview series in the lead up to next year’s most highly anticipated releases. For newcomers, Motor Matcher has been casting a weekly spotlight on cars set to hit Australian roads in the New Year. We’ve already given you the lowdown on the Hyundai Tucson and the Nissan Navara PRO-4X. This week, it’s all about the 2021 Toyota Kluger hybrid SUV.
Look familiar? The Kluger has actually been around for 20 years, but sold under the name ‘Highlander’ in other countries. This latest hybrid model has already been introduced in the US this year. However, due to staggered engineering work for right-hand-drive models, its Aussie release has been delayed until the first half of 2021. The fourth generation Toyota Kluger is based on Toyota’s next generation global architecture, which boasts improved driving dynamics, beefed-up safety and technological advancements, optimised cabin space and ergonomics and many more tweaks and upgrades.
Let’s break down what’s in store.
The new Kluger has gotten a visible makeover, with a sleeker and more refined overall appearance. Its new design is a fusion between a sleek urban SUV and a rugged off-roading machine – the best of both worlds. The slender LED headlights and taillights bring a sophisticated edge, perfectly complemented by its chiselled contours and more aggressive pinches. The striking 51cm alloy wheels inject an extra dose of attitude into the 2021 Kluger, whose proud and athletic stance commands attention on the road.
The spacious Kluger’s enhanced body size extends 4.9 metres long, 1.9 metres wide and 1.7 metres tall. It’s incredibly roomy inside, making it a comfortable and practical choice for big families. An authentic seven-seater, this hybrid SUV boasts third-row accommodation and easy access for two adults. The passengers in the third row can enjoy more leg room with an increased seat slide. These backseats are also easily foldable, which is perfect for bulky cargo or even for overnight camping. The new-and-improved Kluger’s premium cabin boasts first-class trims and plush finishes for a truly luxurious driving experience. The leather seats can be heated and ventilated for a relaxing ride whatever the weather. Sit tall in the elevated driver’s seat, whose position offers a superior vantage point for exceptional visibility on the road.
There is storage space within reach of every seat, with open trays, storage pockets in the doors and a large console box to keep your valuables concealed. There’s also plenty of cargo space for road trips or for transporting heavy goods. Enjoy hands-free access to the impressive 658-litre boot, which is extendable to 1,909 litres. As you would expect, the upcoming Kluger comes fully equipped with a suite of tech solutions, including an impressive 31cm infotainment touch screen which comes with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technology. Stay connected with a host of handy 12V charging points and USB inputs which are thoughtfully situated around the cabin.
Toyota has 23 years’ experience in developing hybrid technology, combined with extensive experience in the SUV industry. This petrol-electric SUV has a 179kW hybrid powertrain, and is the first hybrid-powered seven-seat SUV for Toyota Australia. The 2021 Kluger will have a choice of a 2.5-litre four-cylinder hybrid power or a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine. It is purely self-charging, making it an eco-friendly way to travel thanks to lower CO2 and NOX emissions. This certainly doesn’t come at the expense of power and performance; the Kluger is bolstered by an intelligent All-Wheel-Drive system, space on demand and a 2-tonne towing capacity. Fuel efficiency for the Australian model is not yet known, but the American version consumes an average of 6.7L/100km according to testing, which is very competitive for an SUV of this size.
The 2021 Kluger is decked out with the latest 'Toyota Safety Sense 2.0’ system to, according to a statement from Toyota Australia, “help prevent or mitigate collisions across a wide range of traffic situations”. This includes Pre-Collision System (PCS), Full Range Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), with Road Sign Assist (RSA), Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB) that work in unison to keep you on the straight and narrow. Its safety technology also allows you to detect pedestrians day and night, and bicycles by day.
The 2021 Hybrid Kluger is set to grace our showrooms next year, and no doubt will it attract big attention. Its many highlights are a testament to Toyota’s innovative spirit and unwavering commitment to quality. We expect this release to be a popular choice among Australian families thanks to its space, comfortability and ability to take on off-road conditions with ease. We are also seeing a general trend of people moving towards more sustainable hybrid models, so watch this space closely.
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