RECAP: TOYOTA NEWS DIGEST FROM THE PAST FORTNIGHT

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We’re just days away from the Geneva motor show and the unveiling of a Toyota line-up that offers both cars primed and ready for the showrooms, plus concept vehicles exploring new horizons in alternative power and personalisation.

Topping the list are first appearances for Yaris Hybrid and GT 86, both on sale this summer, along with a world debut for the FT-Bh, a low emissions city car concept that’s designed to be cost-effective by using existing rather than futuristic technologies.

Also breaking cover at Geneva are the NS4 and FCV-R – concepts showcasing Toyota’s next-generation plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicle designs. And if you want something more off-the-wall, the Toyota diji’s entire body, inside and out, serves as a display, with the driver being able to change colour and content at will.

Toyota has put a price tag on the GT 86, announcing the much-anticipated sports coupe will cost from £24,995 when it goes on sale in the UK this summer.

On the subject of Yaris Hybrid, Toyota has revealed class-best figures for emissions and fuel consumption – 79g/km and 80.7mpg – for the new model, together with details of how it has successfully downsized its Hybrid Synergy Drive so that it can be used in Yaris without sacrificing space in the cabin or the boot..

Likewise, headline data for Prius Plug-in – yet another 2012 Toyota newcomer – have been released. Toyota’s first plug-in rechargeable hybrid has an official rating of 134.5mpg and 49g/km; even without factoring in an element of all-electric driving, the figures are better than for the standard Prius.

Hybrid isn’t the only Toyota technology that can deliver on fuel economy, as Joe Clifford and Andrew Biddle of Banzai magazine discovered. They managed to drive from Lands End to John o’Groats on a single tank of diesel in an Avensis T Spirit Tourer 2.0 D-4D – that’s 905 miles at an average 71.5mpg.

On the sports scene, Toyota Racing has confirmed it will run a second TS030 hybrid race car at this year’s Le Mans, with British driver Anthony Davidson included in the three-man team that will pilot it.

And there will be another Toyota Avensis lining up for the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship: Adam Morgan has used his winnings as 2011 Ginetta Supercup champion to help make his move up to the BTCC, driving a car built by Speedworks Motorsport.

Further afield the British-built Avensis returns to Japanese showrooms, in the shape of the new-look Tourer. Toyota is continuing to expand its manufacturing capacity outside its homeland, too, announcing its Highlander Hybrid SUV will be built in Indiana and the Camry Hybrid in Taiwan. Production capacity at a new factory under construction in Indonesia has been almost doubled before it even opens its doors and Toyota’s engine factory in Thailand is set to increase annual output by about 1,000 units.
ENDS