By on October 18, 2016


The departed Toyota FJ Cruiser was a vehicle of contrasts, depending on who you talked to. Too big, or not big enough. Too refined, or too often used as a grocery getter. Too retro, or not retro enough.

An homage to its long-dead predecessor, the retro SUV defined “niche vehicle,” and it sold like one too. Not in huge numbers, but in consistent ones. When Toyota phased it out of the North American market after 2014, it left a vacuum that went unnoticed by most.

Is Toyota now planning to fill that void?

According to AutoGuide, the automaker has filed a trademark application for the “FT-4X” name, signifying a “future Toyota.”

Dated October 10, the filing stirs hope in FJ Cruiser fans that Toyota plans to return with a new model that’s a little edgier than its current crossover and SUV lineup. Unless something’s changed in the automotive lexicon, “4X” implies a four-wheel-drive model with a penchant for offroading.

Toyota keeps its naming of future vehicles fairly simple. The Toyota FT-86 concept eventually became the Toyota 86, so there’s reason to take those last two digits seriously … and literally.

If Toyota is indeed planning a brawny utility vehicle to replace the FJ Cruiser, there hasn’t been any talk of it. This trademark application could be the first whisper. Let’s hope if or when it does appear, Toyota tames its ingrained desire to play it safe in the styling department. And bring back the clamshell doors, please.

[Image: Toyota]

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21 Comments on “Is Toyota’s FT-4X an FJ Cruiser for a New Generation?...”

  • avatar

    If it ever exists Akio will have given it 12″ of ground clearance and a 54″ height. A flattened trilobite suspended between 24″ rimz.

  • avatar

    Too refined… TOO REFINED!?!?!

    A colleague had an FJ-Cruiser. Hardest riding, loudest, most unrefined buckboard to every masquerade as a Toyota. I couldn’t understand how she could stand to ride more than 5 miles in the damn thing.

    • 0 avatar

      Heck I’ve ridden in my friend’s lifted FJ on ’35 Mud terrains and was rather impressed by how compliant the ride was compared to my stock ’96 4Runner. It’s all a matter of perspective I guess!

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe you’ve driven too many Cadillacs. My FJ is quiet and has that floaty American feel about it, not offensive, just a reminder that it was designed for the American market. I love it, but it’s not without its faults the greatest of which is it’s outdated trannie and consequent thirst for fuel.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned an FJ-Cruiser and I have to agree with P-Dan. The ride was unbearable. Not to mention, mileage worse than a Hummer. On top of all that, it was just OK off road. I had it for 12 months. During that time, it needed serious repair four times. Twice under warranty and twice I had to pay for it. Couldn’t sell that POS fast enough.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m curious, what were those serious repairs?

        • 0 avatar

          Transmission rebuild, followed by a transmission replacement (those were under warranty). Control arm snapped and fuel pump died. OK, the last wasn’t so serious, but it pushed me over the edge. I wanted that thing out of my driveway.

          I never got around to serious off roading. Hadn’t built up the courage.

  • avatar

    The FJ Cruiser was always a vehicle I wanted to like. It’s basically a Jeep with Toyota build quality and Camaro sightlines. Even if I could get over the claustrophobia of driving one, it just didn’t have the purist feel to it that a Wrangler does.

  • avatar

    We have 125000 miles on our FJ. Its worth more now than when we bought it. Tight as a drum, unbelievable build quality.

    • 0 avatar

      Figure of speech, or has it actually appreciated?

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        First-year models were priced very aggressively, under $30K in Canada. Toyota fixed that mistake in subsequent years.

        There’s a strong overseas demand for used FJ Cruisers, which keeps used prices up.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve read before that the FJ has the highest resale value of any used vehicle. Given the extremely poor sales when they were new (not to mention all the poor qualities of ownership), if true, it’s quite fascinating.

      All I can figure is that it’s simply thought to be the high-quality, Japanese version of the Wrangler, another true off-road ‘lifestyle’ vehicle that holds its resale value quite well, despite being abysmal in every other category.

  • avatar

    Given the trajectory of Toyota design I would submit it would set a new world standard of Fugly.

  • avatar

    I would welcome a Wrangler competitor. A nice little off-roader with Toyota quality would be an awesome truck. The current 4Runner is just too big for me.

  • avatar

    For me it’s unforgivable how cramped it seems inside considering how big it looks.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Just build me something akin to an FJ60 that doesn’t rust and I’ll buy. The real Land Cruiser has left its roots behind. I’ll take mine in freeborn red please.

  • avatar

    I have a neighbor who has owned one for at least six years and uses it as a daily driver. For all those who say these things are bad, it must have something going for it and I don’t believe they’re keeping it for its off-road prowess since I never see any mud on it.

  • avatar

    Easy. Take the current Hilux truck, (on offer everywhere except NA) shorten it, put a 2-door SUV body on it, keep the solid rear axle, offer it with a 6 speed MT and the Atkinson cycle 6-cyl, don’t price-gouge, and don’t whack it with an ugly stick. For an encore stretch it a bit and offer a 4-door. If they keep the price half-way reasonable they will sell boat-loads. The 4-door should be no bigger than a gen 3 4-Runner, preferably a bit smaller.

    • 0 avatar

      Did a quick search, they already build this truck for non-NA markets, they call it a “Fortuner”. They couldn’t resist whacking it with an ugly-stick, but otherwise they just need to make a LHD version and pass NA crash safety.

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