Toyota's TJ Cruiser Could Be Headed for Production
Toyota’s FJ Cruiser was big and brash — a gas-sucking, body-on frame bruiser that combined rugged off-road capability and distinctive looks with a clamshell door configuration that gives this writer goosebumps. While owners continue to enjoy high resale values, the FJ Cruiser is long dead, and pedestrian offerings like the RAV4 Adventure are not a valid alternative for true off-road minded individualists.
On paper, neither is the TJ Cruiser, a versatile 2017 concept vehicle that blends a unibody CUV with minivan trappings. It is, however, very distinctive, and it could be headed for a production line.
According to Japan’s Best Car, a production-ready version of the boxy people mover could appear at this October’s Tokyo Auto Show, with pre-orders for Japanese customers kicking off in December. The unverified report comes via dealer insider Toru Endo.
It seems the supposedly production-bound TJ won’t stray for from its concept car roots, with a hybrid drivetrain sending power to all corners. Underpinning the five- or seven-passenger vehicle is Toyota’s trusty TNGA architecture. The concept vehicle showed a highly configurable interior, with a flat cargo floor stretching to the dashboard in seats-down guise, and sliding rear doors for improved ingress/egress.
Do sliding rear doors automatically make a vehicle a van? The answer to that depends on who you ask.
While the TJ Cruiser looks large enough to host a swat team and their gear, its footprint actually falls below that of the RAV4. At 177 inches in length (according to the report) and with a wheelbase of 108 inches, the TJ is 3 inches shorter than the RAV4 but boasts an extra 2 inches between its axles.
If you like the TJ’s chunky, avant-garde looks, best cross your fingers. Best Car states that Toyota envisions it as a limited-production model, relegated to about 1,500 units a month — severely lessening our chances of seeing it on this side of the Pacific. That said, the model uses common architecture found beneath a slew of U.S.-market models. Two years ago, the TJ’s designer said his creation was under evaluation for a global launch.
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