Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Announces Two All-New Three-Row SUVs

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Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana (front drone shot)
Photo: Toyota

Only nine days ago, we said the Toyota electric vehicle avalanche was coming (the EV-lanche?) and it seems to have already started. The automaker just announced it was investing $803 million and creating 1,400 new jobs at its plant in Princeton, Indiana, to support the manufacture of two all-new, three-row SUVs — both of them electrified.

Toyota did not say whether these vehicles would introduce new nameplates (or bring back old ones) or whether they would be the next-generation models for existing SUVs. It did, however, reveal that one of the SUVs would get the Toyota badge while the other would be a Lexus, and that both would be “designed with the active Gen Y American Family in mind.” In other words, millennials who have kids and like to camp.

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Toyota also omitted to give specifics about the nature of these SUVs’ powertrains. Yes, they are electrified — but this encapsulates everything from pure battery-electrics and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to hybrids and plug-in hybrids. We do know that Toyota plans to launch 15 new all-electric models by 2025, so while it’s not unlikely that these two upcoming SUVs will be among the 15, the fact that Toyota did not specify beyond “electrified” leads us to think the new products will likely be hybrids of some sort — particularly if they’re meant to go off-road.

As for features, the new Toyota three-row SUVs will launch with a semi-automated driving system enabling “hands-free driving in certain conditions” as well as with a remote parking system you can control via your smartphone.

Three-Row SUV: Check out the 2021 Toyota Sequoia

When thinking of possible Toyota three-row SUVs that could get updated, the first nameplate that comes to mind is clearly the Sequoia. With its current platform dating back to 2008, the rugged three-row SUV is well past due a generational update —and it’s even made in Princeton.

That being said, Toyota’s all-new SUV probably won’t be the Sequoia. In 2020, MotorTrend’s truck division reported that Sequoia production will be moving to Texas in 2022. It would make more sense for the launch of a new vehicle to coincide with the production move and Toyota doesn’t strike us as the kind of company to waste millions of dollars creating the necessary tooling for a vehicle only to stop using just a year later.