Toyota's TJ Cruiser Could Be Headed for Production

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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.

[Images: Toyota]

Steph Willems
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2 of 23 comments
  • Doug Dolde Doug Dolde on Sep 04, 2019

    Its a Honda Element

  • Pgeezer Pgeezer on Jan 22, 2020

    I would love to see this with dynamic torque vectoring AWD, 8.5" of ground clearance, the new 170 hp 2.0L Dynamic Force engine and the same transmission options as in the Corolla SE. If I had the option of the rev matching 6 speed manual, I would buy one in a heartbeat. A Subaru Crosstrek killer fit for all tasks. It would be the perfect all singing, all dancing camping car. The sliding doors are fantastic if you're going to sleep in it, and don't open into other cars if you have kids. Please Toyota, bring this to North America.

  • TheMrFreeze This new 500e is selling really well in Europe, but here in the US the demographic that would be interested in a car like this is definitely in the minority. At $33K for this upscale model is a tough sell but hopefully incentives will come into play to make this a much more appealing option for those looking for a funky daily driver or a practical second car for the family
  • ToolGuy "EVs tend to be less efficient at higher speeds on highways than commuting around town. It’s also important to note that where you live and how you drive can have an outsized impact on range, as people with lead feet or those living in colder climates may find a significant drop in range."• Let's not forget elevation changes!Signed, Captain Obvious 🙂
  • Probert The EPA estimate is just that. Of course weather and driving habits affect the range. This is not news. The EPA tests on a combined cycle, so just running at 70 is not what the EPA numbers reflect. That said, my EV - a humble KIA Niro, freequently exceeds estimates, even on long highway runs. If most of your driving is local and stop and go, you can expect a range around 20% above estimates. The important thing is that the range estimation that the car gives you, is accurate, as it reflects your actual driver habits. Also, even with winter drops, or high speed runs, an EV is about 400% more efficient than an ICE.
  • ToolGuy Telluride killer
  • Ollicat And I don't think this test included changes in the weather which can affect range another 15 - 20%. Plus, I understand that it is very bad for the battery to run it down to zero. From my research on battery longevity, one is supposed to keep their battery from 20% to 80 or 90%. So in effect, one only really has at most, 70% of the posted range on an EV, if they want to preserve the life of their battery. And the ultra quick chargers are also supposed to be used sparingly. Hmmm.