Volvo recently built its last car with a diesel engine, however, this is likely to take a little longer for Toyota. Although the popularity of the oil burner has dwindled in recent years, the Japanese are certain that it still has a long future.

Sean Hanley, Head of Sales and Marketing at Toyota Australia, is of the opinion that "contrary to popular belief, the diesel engine is not dead. It still has a while to go, the diesel, it's not going to die out any time soon."

In an interview with the Australian magazine Drive, the manager said that diesel is still "a very reliable fuel source", especially for heavier vehicles such as lorries and large SUVs. However, Hanley also points out that diesel will have to adapt to increasingly stringent emissions regulations in order to survive. For this reason, Toyota recently introduced a Hilux with a mild-hybrid version of its 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel. The new Land Cruiser 250, whose test you can read here, will also receive the electrified diesel engine in 2025. 

Furthermore, Hanley does not rule out the possibility of an engine that runs on synthetic diesel. At the same time, Toyota is trying to keep the combustion engine alive with hydrogen - corresponding prototypes of the GR Yaris and GR Corolla are already doing their test laps.

Even the boss himself still believes in the classic combustion engine. A few months ago, CEO Akio Toyoda announced that he was working on a new family of combustion engines. So Toyota obviously intends to continue selling cars with conventional drive systems in the long term.

The "major engine development project" makes perfect sense from Toyota's point of view. Akio Toyoda assumes that purely electric vehicles will never achieve a market share of more than 30 per cent. The other 70 per cent of cars will therefore continue to be equipped with combustion engines that run on petrol and diesel. Toyota believes that synthetic fuels and hydrogen could one day be a real alternative.

On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Toyota to sell vehicles with diesel engines in markets where regulations are becoming stricter. This is especially true in the European Union. Many car manufacturers have already discontinued diesel engines in their smaller vehicles in the EU. This partly explains why the market share of diesel vehicles was only 13.6 per cent last year. In the previous year, it was still 16.4 per cent.

In 2023, electric cars surpassed diesel for the first time with a 14.6 per cent share of total deliveries in the EU, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. Hybrids were also far more popular than diesel vehicles, with a share of 25.8 per cent. Plug-in hybrids had a share of 7.7 per cent. However, the truth is that there are also PHEVs with diesel engines. Mercedes-Benz, for example, relies on this combination in various model series. 

It can be assumed that diesel will remain popular in emerging countries and for commercial vehicles, i.e. where legislation is more relaxed. It remains to be seen what will happen here. 

Gallery: Toyota Hilux 2024 Mild Hybrid 48 V