Home » Toyota’s Luxe New SUV Is Designed for Chauffeured Driving—Just Don’t Call It an SUV

Toyota’s Luxe New SUV Is Designed for Chauffeured Driving—Just Don’t Call It an SUV

by multimill
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Toyota’s new Century variant is more than just an SUV.

In fact, the Japanese auto giant claims its latest luxury model isn’t an SUV at all. Instead, Toyota Times (via Motor1.com), the marque’s own corporate magazine, refers to the $167,000 vehicle as being representative of the next phase of “chauffeur-driven mobility.”

You’d be forgiven for looking at the new Century and seeing an SUV. The variant is lifted, making it noticeably taller than the saloon, has a roof that extends to the rear of the vehicle, large wheel arches, and contrasting body cladding. You could understand Toyota calling the Century an estate car or a wagon, were it less imposing, but it looks like a luxury SUV to us, similar to the Rolls-Royce Cullinan or the Bentley Bentayga. That’s not how Toyota’s chief engineer, Yoshikazu Tanaka, sees it, though.

The Toyota Century plug-in hybrid from the side

Toyota Century Plug-In Hybrid


“We arrived at this profile by focusing on the backseat passenger, pursuing a car that inherits the unique Century character while catering to the diversifying values of the times,” Tanaka told the in-house magazine. “From that perspective too, we never set out to build an SUV. I would describe this car as a ‘new concept for chauffeur-driven mobility.’”

Whatever it is, there’s no denying that the latest version of the vehicle favored by Japanese royalty and CEOs looks impressive. It will feature a newly developed 3.5-liter V6 plug-in hybrid system that produces around 400 hp and all-wheel drive thanks to a rear-mounted electric motor. The commanding vehicle’s biggest selling point is the customizable interior that has yet to be unveiled but which has been designed to be as luxurious and comfortable as possible with fully reclining seats in the rear. It will also be available with sliding rear doors. It’s little wonder why the vehicle will cost more than three times as much as the new Land Cruiser.

A rear 3/4 view of the Toyota Century plug-in hybrid


Of course, the most exciting aspect of the new Century is that it will be available outside of Japan. Except for about 100 left-hand examples of the second-generation model, the G50, the vehicle has never been exported outside of its home country. In September, Hiroki Nakajima, the company’s executive vice president, told The Wall Street Journal the vehicle would be “offered to customers in all regions of the world,” though. The non-SUV has yet to be officially announced for the U.S., but it certainly sounds like it’s coming.

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