Toyota touts new hybrid minivan concepts

The idea of American hybrid minivans is pretty much a dream. Chrysler a few years back built a small test fleet of Town & Country hybrid minivans, but that never evolved into a mass production offering. Though Japan has one in the form of the Toyota Estima, notes the Chicago Tribune, it doesn’t look like that’s being brought here either.

Now the company is debuting two new concepts at the Tokyo Motor Show, but again it doesn’t look like there are any plans for them to show up in domestic showrooms.

Toyota said it will showcase at the auto show later this month the Voxy and Noah design ideas, envisioned as “next-generation spacious minivans that provide the roomy interior needed by families and integrate higher levels of fun, utility and fuel economy.” In addition to a standard engine configuration, a 1.8-liter hybrid variant with a “class-first full hybrid system” has been created for both concepts. What this means to its developers, among other things, is optimal placement of the hybrid battery to keep from using up valuable space while also getting what could be “class-leading fuel efficiency and cruising ranges.”

image via Toyota

The body of both minivans, according to Toyota,

convey the roominess of the interior even from the outside. Both vehicles create distinct and alluring impressions. The front view of the Noah Concept presents sophistication as a compact minivan, while the Voxy Concept employs exclusive aerodynamic parts to emphasize the low center of gravity, impressive wide-body, and the overwhelming sense of presence.

The Voxy and Noah vehicles, both of which seat seven, are scheduled for launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. Do you think Toyota should consider versions of them for the United States as well? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling