Years of planning are now bearing fruit as Toyota puts more of its vehicles on the new global modular architecture that debuted on the fourth-generation Prius for 2016.
The move to global platforms goes beyond cost savings. The Toyota New Global Architecture offers a lower center of gravity and more modern suspensions and is supposed to deliver some of the sporty verve that Toyota is eager to infuse into the brand. The new C-HR crossover is part of that bet on a more dynamic future, as is the coming Camry redesign. Meanwhile, change comes more slowly to the company's stable of stalwart truck-based SUVs.
Yaris: The modest subcompact received a refresh for the 2015 model year punctuated by the brand's move toward bigger and bolder front grilles. It's expected to continue with aging mechanicals until a full-blown redesign, probably for the 2019 model year, when it will move to the new TNGA architecture and receive a modern engine and transmission.
Yaris iA: The subcompact is new to the 2016 lineup, having migrated from the disappearing Scion brand. Based on the Mazda2 sedan built in central Mexico, the Toyota version for 2017 will be essentially unchanged except for the addition of some trim packages, which Scion shunned. Future updates depend on the Mazda2 life cycle.
Corolla: The bread-and-butter compact introduced a special edition as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. That model was available in "absolutely red" paint with blacked-out wheels as part of the slightly refreshed 2017 model, which has a more aggressive front grille, standard backup camera and the Safety Sense P technology package. A 2019 redesign moves the stalwart to the TNGA platform for 2020. It will be built at the first plant built for the new architecture in central Mexico.
Corolla iM: The hatchback version of the Corolla, with a body kit and independent rear suspension, came to the U.S. as a refreshed 2016 model to inject some vigor into the Scion brand along with the completely new iA. As a Toyota for 2017, it will get trim levels at different price points, a departure from Scion's "monospec" approach. As the Corolla sedan moves to the TNGA platform in 2019, some version of the hatchback will likely follow.
86: The former Scion FR-S, developed in partnership with Subaru, gets a new name to reflect Toyota's nomenclature for the global version of the two-door, four-cylinder fun car. The 86 gets a midlife update for the 2017 model year, with new headlights, taillights and a few more horsepower in the manual. A redesign will probably come in 2018 and maybe the long hoped-for turbocharged version now that Toyota is trying to sport-up its lineup.
Camry: The perennial best-selling car in the U.S. was re-engineered for the 2015 model year, and spy photos have already emerged of what is likely the fully redesigned 2018 Camry. Even with the heavy camouflage, the photos suggest a more rakish body and aggressive front end. The new model will move to the TNGA architecture and is expected to swap out its stepped-gear automatic for a continuously variable transmission. Following industry trends, Toyota also could offer a four-cylinder turbo in place of the V-6. The hybrid also returns for 2018.
Avalon: With a refresh completed in 2015, the sculpted full-size sedan isn't likely to have much work done until a full redesign for the 2019 model. It's also expected to keep its V-6 and hybrid four-cylinder engine choices, given the Avalon's demographic and slow sales for big sedans.
Prius: The big news for the world's most successful hybrid nameplate is the arrival this fall of the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid that replaces the poor-selling first-generation PHEV. The Prime, unveiled at the New York auto show, has an 11.6-inch touch screen and more dramatic styling than the regular Prius. Both are built on the TNGA platform. The Prime will have over 600 miles of total range thanks to its larger battery, which bumps its EV-only range to 22 miles. The regular fourth-generation Prius went on sale last year. There is no word on updates in the works.
Prius C: The small-size Prius is likely to continue on its current platform before a redesign in 2018 or so when it will switch to the TNGA. The market for fuel-efficient cars is so depressed that there likely is little rush to move before then.
Prius V: The wagon-style Prius is likely to get a move to the new mechanicals and TNGA in 2017 or 2018.
Mirai: Toyota is delivering limited numbers of the new hydrogen fuel cell Mirai in Southern California and is planning to expand sales to other states with a zero-emission sales mandate. The company has announced plans to develop refueling infrastructure throughout the Northeast. The model is new so there's no talk of its first refresh yet.
Supra successor: The collaboration between Toyota and BMW to build their upcoming roadsters on a common rear-wheel-drive platform continues to fuel speculation about a revival of the Supra nameplate, last seen in 2002. Spy photos of what is thought to be the BMW Z4 successor show a rather compact body with a longish nose and rag top. But Toyota's version is expected to look completely different and may not get the convertible treatment at all. Enthusiasts are hoping a Toyota version will look something like the FT-1 concept shown in Detroit in 2014.
C-HR: The new C-HR crossover, for "coupe high-rider," will be available in January in Europe; the production model was revealed in Geneva in March. It will be the second Toyota on a TNGA platform.
The highly sculpted Nissan Juke fighter will be assembled in Turkey initially with an available 1.8-liter hybrid engine sourced from Wales. It will come to North America in mid-2017 but probably without the hybrid engine at first in favor of a 2.0-liter gasoline motor.
RAV4: The popular crossover introduced a hybrid model after a light freshening for the 2016 model year. A redesign is likely to show up sometime in 2018 or 2019 when it will move to the modular TNGA platform and swap out its stepped-gear automatic transmission for a CVT.
Highlander: The midsize crossover gets a re-engineering for the 2017 model year with some nips and tucks on the styling front, including a Lexus-like grille and more significant mechanical changes, such as a new 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 and a new eight-speed automatic. Engine stop-start is standard on the V-6 models and a sportier SE trim joins the Highlander family. A full redesign and move to the TNGA platform is expected for 2020.
Tacoma: The popular midsize pickup received a full redesign for the 2016 model year, including a direct-injection V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission. No major updates are on the near-term horizon since the model cycle for the truck is typically longer than for Toyota cars. The previous version of the Tacoma endured for a decade.
Sienna: The minivan was freshened in 2015 and is likely to get another partial update next year, with a new automatic transmission and a more modern V-6, before a full redesign in 2019.
4Runner: Still running with body-on-frame construction, the niche player continues as a classic SUV that shuns the more carlike crossover class. Its last refresh came for the 2014 model year, and, like the Tacoma, it's likely to stick to a longer life cycle.
Sequoia: Toyota's big-boy SUV soldiers on with a truck-based platform that has undergone few changes over the past decade except for equipment updates. A redesigned model is likely in 2020, a year after the next Tundra full-size pickup.
Land Cruiser: The legendary full-size SUV received a mild update for the 2016 model year, with a new look in the front, a move to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and new electronic goodies such as a new stereo system and the Safety Sense package. As with Toyota's other big trucks, update cycles will be more drawn out.
Tundra: The full-size pickup was last refreshed for the 2015 model year and is likely to stick it out with few changes until a full redesign in 2019.