The Japanese car manufacturer is soon going to start selling its redesigned Toyota Estima Hybrid minivan that features an MPV-optimized version of its well-known among enthusiasts THS II hybrid drive and an E-Four (electric four-wheel-drive) transmission.
The new Toyota Estima Hybrid, which is based on the well-known both in Europe and the United States Toyota Previa people hauler, will be powered not by one or two, but by whole three engines – two electric motors (coupled to the front and rear axles) and a petrol one.
The electric motor in the front has a maximum output of 140 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque and the rear motor is capable to produce 66 hp and 95 lb-ft of torque.
The system works at a rather predictable algorithm: when the car is moving with zero acceleration (say, on a highway at a constant speed of 60 miles per hour,) it is powered only by the gasoline engine.
Step on the acceleration pedal, however, and the pair of electric motors will kick in.
A ‘traditional’ 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine features 145 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque.
Considering all these power sources, it’s no wonder that the new Toyota Estima accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds, which is a way better than its conventional 4WD competitors can achieve.
In urban areas, main job is done by the electric motors with the 2.4-liter VVT-I awaking from slumber only after the batteries start to run dry.
For some reasons, the Japanese carmaker decided not to export this green beauty to the North American market where its cousin, the well-known Toyota Prius, enjoys considerable success among the tree-hugging community.
This generation of hybrid-driven Estima is supposed to be sold on Japanese domestic market (JDM) only, but I guess there is still chance that the hybrid MPV will eventually be exported overseas.
See also: 2007 Nissan Altima Hybrid