A turbocharged, hybrid Toyota MR2 could be right around the corner.
A week ago that would have been really hard to believe. But a report from Autoweek yesterday says Toyota has big plans for its model lineup, as the automaker intends to introduce 11 new or redesigned vehicles by 2012. The plan would introduce all-new hybrid vehicles and more-efficient gasoline engines that use turbochargers and direct fuel injection.
I guess that means my theory that some older Toyota models are better than current ones will go down the toilet…
Of the 11 new hybrids, only four will be updates to current models. The other seven are either all-new models or hybrid versions of vehicles that previously didn’t have the option. Pure speculation here, but that could mean a hybrid RAV4, a hybrid Venza, a hybrid Land Cruiser… (Okay, probably not that one.)
Frankly, new hybrids for Toyota isn’t a topic that’s even remotely exciting. It’s the turbo/direct injection news that has my interest piqued. There’s no word yet on which models will benefit from either technology first, but the initial round of products should also come equipped with start-stop technology in addition to the DI and turbo. Sweet.
In my mind, a Camry four-cylinder turbo is exactly what Toyota needs, especially if it wants to keep up with new industry leader Hyundai and its very cool Sonata, which now offers an optional turbo engine upgrade. Even more exciting, though, is the distinct possibility that a rear-wheel-drive turbocharged FT-86 sports car could appear (possibly as the Scion FR-S). Or, better still, that reborn MR2. Heck, that would even be cool as a hybrid, as long as all appropriate turbos were bolted in place, too.
I would prefer a direct injection turbocharged gas engine to a hybrid. Would you?