Toyota TJ Cruiser May Reach Production If the World Proves Itself Worthy
Toyota is parading the TJ Cruiser concept around the Tokyo Motor Show, taking the public’s temperature on how it might be received as a production model. The vehicle itself is an amalgamation of a traditional sport utility vehicle and ultra-practical cargo van. With an emphasis of being simple, rugged, and sensible, it’s everything a specific subset of enthusiasts have been clamoring for.
We already hinted at our approval of the general idea with our own Tahoe Grande concept — a hypothetical model merging the dynamic features of Chevrolet’s Tahoe SUV and the unparalleled practicality of the family-friendly Dodge Caravan. It was pure sex and so is the Toyota TJ Cruiser, sagaciously speaking.
However, the TJ is more of a utilitarian box with retro-futuristic styling than anything we envisioned. Whether or not you find its hard edges appetizing, its flexible interior is not something to be ignored.
Every seat not essential for driving can be folded flat, allowing it to house cargo measuring nearly 10 feet in length. Anchor points make securing your haul easier and sliding doors facilitates simple access and egress for human occupants or whatever junk you procured from the local swap meet.
The manufacturer previously stated that the TJ would ride on the common Toyota New Global Architecture and possess a roof, hood, and fenders coated in scratch-and-dirt-resistant materials. Clearly a workhorse vehicle, Toyota even claims the TJ name is a collaboration between the words “toolbox” and “joy.”
According to Autocar, the company is serious about bringing the joyful toolbox to market and is gauging the public’s perception of it at the Tokyo show. Design chief Hirokazu Ikuma confirmed that the car is currently under evaluation for a global launch in 2022 — including Japanese and European markets.
Potential North American deliveries remain a big question mark, however. While we’d like to see the TJ arriving here instead of the infuriatingly marketed FT-4X Concept, there may not be enough room for it in the West. Still, if it did arrive, we could see its 108.3-inch wheelbase and exceptionally short overhangs competing with the Ford Transit Connect rather nicely. After all, Honda’s Element sold reasonably well for a time and the TJ would fit perfectly into the quirky void left in its absence.
Toyota claims that, were the TJ Cruiser to enter into production, it would probably arrive with both front and all-wheel drive. It’s also expected to use a 2.0-liter engine, but may come to market as a hybrid if Toyota doesn’t want to provide an option between powertrains.
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