It has been three and a half years since Toyota Motor Philippines revealed the all-new Innova. Despite getting a sleeker look inside and outside, the MPV keeps its rugged and robust capability while also maintaining a comfortable ride quality for all its occupants.
Currently, it's available in only gasoline and turbodiesel variants... but that could change in the next generation model according to an Indian website.
With information based on three sources within their local Toyota subsidiary, the site's report says that the company is supposedly planning to develop a gasoline-hybrid powertrain for the Innova MPV in India. The supposed move is said to meet stricter emission and average fuel consumption policies in the country, and that could mean the diesel could be killed off.
According to one of the sources close to the matter who refused to be named: “Diesel engine option for the next replacement of Innova seems off the cards right now. Toyota will develop the next generation of the Innova with the hybrid system and given the stricter emission and fuel efficiency norms this strategy makes perfect sense."
With India planning on reducing its dependence on diesel power, it could make sense for Toyota to actually push for a hybrid future for their best-selling MPV. Besides being cleaner having less pollutants, it may deliver more pep thanks to electric assist.
While there is no clear idea yet as to what the model could possibly have under the hood, the current powertrain options available on Toyota's lineup appear to be unlikely candidates for a supposed Innova Hybrid. Many of Toyota's hybrid powertrains are intended for front-wheel drive applications; the Innova is traditionally rear-wheel drive, unless Toyota they plan on changing that. Toyota could theoretically develop a hybrid platform for the application which, interestingly enough, could be adapted and shared with similar platform models like the Fortuner and the Hilux.
The report by the Indian site should also be taken with a grain of salt: hybrid sales in developing markets are very low primarily due to the cost of the vehicles vis-a-vis their ICE (internal combustion engine) counterparts and competitors. And having a "hybrid" Innova may just end up as a pipe dream.
Only time will tell if a Toyota Innova Hybrid can become a reality.