Would you buy a hybrid HiLux? Toyota’s new ute set to beat Ford Ranger to electrification, but will it be petrol or diesel? -Car News

The new Toyota HiLux is reportedly set for an early mark, and for electrification, with fresh reports out of the USA suggesting the all-important ute – and its Tacoma cousin – will welcome electrification for the first time.

The reports have surfaced in America’s Automotive Newswhich point to the new Tacoma joining Toyota’s new global body-on-frame platform – the TNGA-F – which already underpins models like the LandCruiser 300 Series and the Tundra pick-up truck, and which is also widely tipped to shape the new HiLux.

According to the site, the new Tacoma will arrive in 2023, which points to the new HiLux arriving around the same time. And in other interesting news, the outlet reports a hybrid powertrain will be offered for the first time.

Read more about the Toyota Hilux

Other updates are more expected, like new active safety systems and better infotainment, but the focus here has to be on the electrification of one of the world’s most popular utes from one of the world’s biggest auto makers.

The news ties in nicely with recent reports out of Thailand’s Headlight Magazine suggesting the new Fortuner (and thus likely the new HiLux) would debut in 2023 packing an electrified-diesel engine under its bonnet, and the brand’s TNGA-F platform under its skin.

Those reports suggested the model will continue to be fitted with the familiar 2.8-liter diesel engine (currently good for 150kW and 500Nm). But the big change will be the addition of a 48-volt mild hybrid system that will not only reduce fuel use and emissions, but should also deliver a power boost on take-off for quicker acceleration.

Reports further back, though, this time from Japan’s Best Car Websuggested a 2.5-litre diesel-hybrid would appear in the new LandCruiser Prado, and likely the new HiLux.

We do know that Toyota in Australia has been “actively considering” diesel-electric technology for its traditionally diesel-powered range, telling CarsGuide last year that the tech would be a solution for those “particularly wedded to diesel”.

“We know that some people are particularly wedded to diesel. Some farmers, for example, store diesel on their property, or it’s more accessible, or you’re in a region where you can’t have petrol,” said the brand’s local General Manager of Product Planning and Development, Rod Ferguson.

“There are definite reasons to consider both of those of those options, and we’re actively considering both of those options.

“It’s technically feasible, and there are open discussions, definitely. It all comes back to our desire to driver down our C02 emissions.”

Official news of Toyota’s diesel-hybrid plans has been hard to come by, though, so it’s also very possible that the brand will move to a petrol-electric model for vehicles like the HiLux, with the solution dramatically improving fuel economy for long-distance touring

Reports out of the USA point to the new Tacoma potentially being fitted with the a detuned version of the new Tundra’s 3.4-liter V6 hybrid. It’s worth pointing out that Toyota in Australia has already trademarked that engine’s marketing name, the iFORCE Max, for our market.

Whichever way it goes, Toyota in Australia has promised that, whether diesel or petrol, any hybrid powertrain would be suitable for Australia.

“Absolutely they would,” Toyota Australia’s VP of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, told us last year. “If it’s practical, affordable, and it does the things they need to do.

“We’ve never ruled out the expansion of hybrid into the broader Toyota range. If and when we do that, it will be suitable for the Australian environment. We have the knowledge and the testing, so if we deliver it, you can have the confidence it will do what needs to do.”