Compact New EV SUV for European Drivers
Long a champion of hybrid technology, increasing regulatory pressure is driving Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, to launch dozens of new electric vehicles globally in the next few years. While its North American sales will have a mix of fuel-efficient gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and EV models for a long time to come, in Europe, legislation is forcing Toyota towards full electric more quickly. Indeed, by 2035, the company says the entirety of what it sells in Europe will be emissions-free. The first vehicle to go on sale will be a compact, city-focused SUV, which Toyota previewed last week.
Toyota EV SUV On Sale in 2024
The snappily-named Urban SUV concept was presented at Toyota’s annual Kenshiki Forum in Brussels, the location of its European headquarters. It hints at a production version of a new battery-electric crossover that will be built on a dedicated platform and is set to launch in 2024. That model will be the first of six battery-electric vehicles the company will launch in Europe – and will jump directly into one of the largest and most competitive market segments.
It is a market segment Toyota knows well. The company already has the best-selling vehicle in the class with a compact urban SUV, the hybrid-powered Yaris Cross – a smaller cousin of the Corolla Cross hybrid that we get here in North America. Drawing on the experience of these vehicles, Toyota says it’s developed an “authentic” battery-electric SUV that has versatility designed in, and which will meet the numerous priorities of European drivers.
Two Different Battery Options and Two Drivetrains
Final battery capacity and range have yet to be announced, but on average, vehicles in this segment typically have between 200 and 250 miles of range EPA estimated. Toyota says that both front- and all-wheel drive powertrains will be available when the new product launches, as all-wheel drive is now a key expectation of European SUV drivers. Two battery options will be available, with different capacities available for different customer needs, range expectations, and budgets.
From a design perspective, the Urban SUV Concept has the aggressive looks modern SUV owners expect, but its compact proportions lend it a friendly, approachable quality that should help it fit nicely into the cityscape. A high-set driving position provides excellent outward visibility, and the dedicated EV architecture means that the interior has a surprising amount of space for the small exterior size – a benefit of not needing to house a large gasoline engine and its associated hardware. Toyota promises excellent flexibility for its new Urban SUV, with the ability to prioritize passenger space or cargo room as required through seats that can fold and slide as needed.
Will Urban SUV Come to North America?
While Toyota has confirmed that its compact Urban SUV will be on sale in Europe next year, it’s not yet clear whether North American drivers will get a chance to own one as well. Our different driving habits in North America and more relaxed regulations might skew demand more towards gasoline or hybrid vehicles, which can drive longer distances with faster refueling. The company calls this a “multi-path strategy,” where it achieves carbon neutrality through introducing a wide range of electrified powertrain technologies, aligned with the demands of each individual market.