What started off as a wild rumor is gaining more substance as a new report from a trustworthy source claims Toyota is indeed planning a Century SUV. According to Nikkei Asia, the luxobarge will be launched as early as August this year and will be made at the Tahara Plant in Aichi where various Toyota and Lexus models are assembled. While the vehicle is expected to largely target Japan, it'll be exported to other countries as well.
As originally written by Japan's Best Car magazine, Nikkei Asia also believes the Century SUV will be positioned above the Land Cruiser in Toyota's vast range. Another important detail shared by the two publications refers to the underpinnings. It does seem increasingly more likely the posh SUV will be based on the Highlander, which gained this week a bigger Grand Highlander derivative in the United States.
2018 Toyota Century
Both publications claim the Toyota Century SUV will be offered with a hybrid powertrain. It could be the Hybrid Max from the new Crown where a turbocharged 2.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine works with a pair of electric motors. Combined, these put out a total of 340 horsepower and 400 pound-feet (542 Newton-meters) of torque. The 2024 Grand Highlander has a more potent hybrid setup with 362 hp, but full details have yet to be disclosed.
While the stately sedan pictured here retails from 20,080,000 yen (about $153,000 or €142,500), the namesake SUV is believed to be much cheaper. Nikkei Asia says Toyota will charge somewhere in the region of 15,000,000 yen ($114,500 or €106,500) for the base version. Mind you, that’s still roughly three times more than the entry-level Land Cruiser.
Also coming to the Land of the Rising Sun in the latter half of the year will reportedly be the Lexus LM. Essentially a luxed-up Alphard, the fancy minivan originally went on sale in China about three years ago. Nikkei Asia has it on good authority Toyota intends to move production from the Inabe Plant to the Tahara Plant to improve build quality as workers from the latter factory have more experience with Lexus models.