Toyota reveals affordable urban crossover as smallest, cheapest EV

toyota urban suv concept 2023 01

The concept is positioned as a rival to the likes of the Jeep Avenger and Mini Aceman

Chunky concept previews a Jeep Avenger rival that will be on sale by 2025, with two batteries and optional 4WD

The compact new Urban Crossover concept previews one of five new electric cars that Toyota will launch in Europe within the next two years.

Positioned as a rival to the likes of the Jeep Avenger and Mini Aceman, it arrives as the Japanese firm accelerates the expansion of its electric car line-up in the run-up to 2026. 

That’s when Toyota will begin launching an all-new family of cars atop the modular architecture that it revealed in October, with next-generation batteries that dramatically boost range and efficiency. 

Toyota product development boss Andrea Carlucci said this boldly styled B-segment SUV concept “gives a strong indication of what will be a strong contributor” to Toyota’s European EV sales over the coming years.

The firm will reveal full specifications in the first half of 2024, when it takes the wraps off the production-ready version, which remains unnamed.

For now, Toyota has confirmed only its dimensions: 4300mm long by 1820mm wide and 1620mm tall. 

It bears a striking resemblance to the recently revealed eVX concept from Suzuki, with which Toyota has a strategic partnership and collaborates on certain models, but Toyota bosses wouldn’t be drawn on the extent of the relationship between the two cars.

Notably, Suzuki sells its own versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Corolla already, as part of a partnership through which the compatriot firms collaborate on electrified vehicle development. 

The Urban Crossover is understood to be based on a dedicated platform related to the e-TNGA platform that underpins the bZ4X SUV. 

It will serve as an electric alternative to the current Yaris Cross hybrid – and in this role will be the smallest electric car in the Toyota line-up, “at least for a while”. 

It won’t, however, be priced to match that car, with Carlucci suggesting that “there is a premium” attached to electric cars, which makes a circa-£25,000 price unfeasible in the medium term, because there needs to be a “substantial shift” in the cost of battery materials to bring down the cost to the customer.

He did however acknowledge that the Volvo EX30, for example, would be a natural rival, and that “Toyota isn’t detached from the market reality”, suggesting that a price of around £32,000 wouldn’t be unrealistic. 

In pursuit of a balance between affordability and usability, it will be offered with a choice of two battery options, the largest of which is expected to offer a range of around 250 miles, in line with the car’s city-slicking billing.  

It will also be offered with the choice of front- and four-wheel-drive powertrains, the latter of which Carlucci said will be a rare proposition “at the lower end of the market”, although no more precise details of its specification have been given. 

Carlucci highlighted that the urban SUV segment is now the most popular in Europe. “We’ve been super-successful with [the] Yaris Cross,” he added, “and we don’t intend to leave any space to the competition.”

The Urban Crossover, Compact Crossover and Sport Crossover concept trio, together with the bZ4X, account for four of the six EVs that Toyota will launch by 2026.

Details of the remaining two are unconfirmed, but the suggestion is that they will be SUVs in the vein of the RAV4 and seven-seat Highlander respectively.

Source: Autocar

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