2021 Toyota/Lexus New Product Showcase
Toyota recently invited us to their New Product Showcase at their headquarters in Plano, Texas where we got an in-person look at cars we had seen only through a computer screen, like the Toyota BZ4X all-electric Concept Vehicle. Toyota says the production version will be revealed this fall.
Sheets were then pulled off two new Tacoma pickups. This Tacoma TRD Pro sports a new Electric Lime Metallic paint job and a 1.5” front lift while the rear is jacked up a half-inch over a standard Tacoma. The new Trail Edition also gets lifted, but not quite as much. Think of it as a bridge over the gap between a regular Tacoma and the TRD Pro.
The all-new 2022 Toyota GR 86 made its official debut, now donning the GR or Gazoo Racing badge, which Toyota plans to extend to more models in the future. Under the hood sits a bigger 2.4L boxer engine that takes horsepower from 202 to 228. Its 184 lb.-ft of torque now peaks at 3,700 RPM. That’s much earlier than the previous 2-liter and it was apparent during my ride-along with Formula Drift Driver, Ken Gushi. Yes, that’s a 6-speed manual he’s rowing. A 6-speed auto is also available.
While not quite as exciting, Toyota’s big news of the day came wearing a Corolla badge. The 2022 Corolla Cross is the brand’s all-new compact crossover, slotting just beneath the RAV4. In fact at first glance, it looks like a mini-RAV4.
The Corolla Cross uses a 169 horsepower 2.0L Dynamic-Force engine, which runs through a CVT. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, while other increasingly popular features such as wireless charging and a power rear liftgate can be had on higher trim levels. We’ll have to wait to drive it but Toyota estimates the Corolla Cross will have a 32 mpg combined rating for FWD models and 30 mpg for AWD.
The compact crossover news...crossed-over... to Lexus with the reveal of the all-new 2022 NX.
Lexus says it’s completely new from the ground up. Stylistically, the front end is evolutionary, but the rear has changed quite a bit with a new tail light design and the deletion of the traditional Lexus badge. In its place is the brand name written out in a new font.
Inside, the updates are even more noteworthy...especially if you’ve experienced Lexus infotainment lately. The NX debuts the brand’s all-new multimedia interface that finally abandons the touchpads and joysticks we’ve detested for years. Instead, it’s all about the touchscreen and voice commands. A 9.8-inch touchscreen is standard while a big 14-incher is available. The gauge cluster goes fully digital as well.
It doesn’t stop there as under the NX 350’s hood sits a new 2.4L Turbo 4 with 275 hp. A hybrid is again available as well as an all-new plug-in hybrid, which will be the quickest NX to 60 MPH.
Lexus says the NX450h plus can drive up to 37 miles on battery-power alone. The all-wheel drive system is full-time and electronically controlled.
And speaking of electronic control, just before we left, Lexus had us try out their brand-new SAE Level 2 semi-autonomous driving system known as Teammate.
On the busy highways of Plano, Texas, I was able to completely let go of the steering wheel, have the car change lanes and even navigate a complicated exit ramp in heavy traffic.
The technology is undoubtedly impressive, but not foolproof as its eye-tracking system could not navigate my $10 sunglasses.
Teammate will officially debut on the LS500h later this year.
With so much news, there’s a lot more to cover and we’ll do just that, soon on MotorWeek!