By on October 24, 2017

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

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.

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

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.

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

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. 

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

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.

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

Toyota TJ Cruiser Concept

[Images: Toyota]

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23 Comments on “Toyota TJ Cruiser May Reach Production If the World Proves Itself Worthy...”

  • avatar

    “an amalgamation of a traditional sport utility vehicle and ultra-practical cargo van”

    This is more or less exactly what my family’s old Mazda MPVs were, and I’d love to be able to buy something like that as a family vehicle. Sienna AWDs lack ground clearance, Mercedes Sprinter 4wd is just too tall and big (and expensive).

  • avatar

    I misread the headline as “FJ Cruiser,” then my heart sank. I’d rather use a wheelbarrow than this thing.

  • avatar

    I like it, but I liked the FT-4X more. Why not both?

  • avatar

    Cyclists loved the Element because you could fit many bikes upright in the back. This looks like a similar deal. I was tempted by the Transit Connect until they dropped the High Roof option, and AWD is not an option.

    If these come to the states with AWD and a high enough roof to fit my bikes, I’ll find room for it in my garage.

  • avatar

    I think this would do quite well if it costs less than a Highlander. It would be of interest to SUV, crossover, hatchback, wagon AND some minivan shoppers. My significant other prefers our high riding crossover daily driver and disdains minivans. But I think she would be interested in this since it looks more exciting than a minivan and appears to be more versatile than our crossover. BTW, she agrees that sliding doors are super practical and doesn’t dislike minivans because of that feature.

  • avatar

    Toyota – bring this to North America!

    Last year I leased a 2017 Toyota Sienna AWD XLE. I had high hopes, even sold my 2009 GX470 and my 2009 Montero Limited. The Sienna has been frustrating in terms of niggles with the sliding doors and rear hatch. Plus the mouse that made its way through the engine compartment, only to die right next to where my 12-month old baby sits. But I digress…

    Bring this to North America. Make it hybrid. Give it AWD. Do not give it 20 inch rims. Not too soap bar styled, like a minivan. Not too boxy like a Lego toy. Make all the seats fold flat. And speaking of seats, I like how the front pair of seats have the cut-out for the tailbone. I strongly prefer that.

    Extra-extra-credit: include low-range 4WD, like the Mitsubishi Delica!!

    I will be waiting. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar

      “2009 Montero Limited.”

      You’re in Mexico I assume? A GX and a Montero Limited, you sir have fine taste in automobiles.

      Yes Low range would be neat, but sadly unlikely to happen, as is anything resembling a capable AWD system (especially if its hybrid). Our MPV got by without it just fine, but there were a few times it would have been a nice to have. The MPV’s stand out features vs run of the mill CUVs or AWD minivans was a) decent ground clearance of 8+ inches with some skid plates b) solid rear axle that gave reasonable articulation c)mechanical 4wd system with a locking center differential. I’d feel comfortable taking the MPV out onto beaches in the Outer Banks or driving on fire roads in the woods, something I wouldn’t attempt in a Sienna AWD, or something like a Traverse.

      • 0 avatar

        Oops, I meant 2006 Montero Limited. I am in SoCal. I might as well have been in Mexico though; it seemed the only Montero fans here were me and my service technician. Facebook has a cool Montero fanclub though.

    • 0 avatar
      Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

      Agreed – those huge rims are silly and impractical. When they are finally not being shoved down our throats it will be a very good day, indeed. Have the stylists never had to drive over speed bumps or potholes?
      A cross between an Element and a Ford Transit with minivan doors makes for a very useful vehicle. Decent towing capacity should be engineered in, otherwise it’s just a CR-V with a square chin. Add genuine Toyota dependability to the mix, and you’ve got a classic.

  • avatar

    Funny – with most of their stuff toyota a pretty bland – with their utility concepts they bring in top sneaker designers. Is this the wrong way around? How about a tall box with locking diffs and small overhangs? Throw some lights on it it and call it a day.

  • avatar

    With that fold flat seating capability I could see this appealing to tradesmen who can’t dedicate a truck to their job, or who have local restrictions on being able to park a work vehicle in the driveway.

  • avatar

    Tow capacity could materially affect what this thing would be good for. Anything less than the 3000ish lbs typical of a minivan might be a mistake.

  • avatar

    As an ex-Element and an ex-Scion B owner, er yes, I would drive this.

  • avatar

    The right AWD system would make me care.

    Otherwise… eh.

  • avatar

    The forward opening hood maximizes inconvenience performing any task under the hood.

    I understand they put a priority on the perfectly flat load floor, but those seats look at least as uncomfortable as the ones in the last commercial flight I took. At least there’s more legroom.

  • avatar

    Flat seats, sliding doors, AWD, ground clearance, ENOUGH HP.

  • avatar

    Hmm… All seats fold down. Plastic body panels. Two sliding side doors. With the exception of the hybrid drivetrain and the awd, this could be the… 1990 Chevy Lumina minivan.

    At least they had the good sense to make it look like a Hummer…

    It’ll be a hit in the Chinese market.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    This or the new Ford Bronco? Hmmm

  • avatar

    I like the hinge point of the rear hatch. Could prevent some goose eggs.

  • avatar

    I like that it is only as long and tall as a Honda H-RV, but a lot more useful.
    It is also 10″ shorter than a RAV-4.

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