Big in Japan: Highlights from the Tokyo Motor Show

Toyota Tj Cruiser Concept
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Image via Toyota1/10

Toyota Tj Cruiser Concept

Toyota continues to tease a successor to the departed FJ Cruiser, which was super-rugged and off-road-worthy, but unfortunately never gained a firm market share and ended sale in the U.S. in 2014.

So, they showed the FT-4X Concept at the New York Auto Show this past spring, but it was a full foot shorter than the RAV4. Height being the same issue that plagued the FJ Cruiser; it’s assumed it’d simply be too small to appeal to most Americans. We think this Tj Cruiser concept makes more sense.

It’s a hybrid, but has AWD. It’s only slightly smaller than the RAV4, but seemingly more functional for hauling gear. Yes, it looks butch, but rather than a true 4X4, the goal of the Tj is like that of a small minivan; carrying your gear—though not necessarily up a mountainside.

Toyota achieves this space efficiency by making the entire second row seats fold totally flat, and also letting you do the same with the front passenger seat, so you could easily haul 10-foot two-by-fours back from the lumber yard. The hatch is also huge, so loading and unloading is easier, and the cavernous bay is slotted with multiple tie-down points throughout. Plus the cargo area is made of a rugged textile, sort of like a pickup-truck bed liner. Speaking of trucks, the Tj’s second-row seats let you flip the seat cushions upward, offering a ready tool box (or grocery bag) cubby.

Toyota’s release language strongly indicates that this is a vehicle they’d like to build; info says both that it could be made on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, that underpins a wide variety of models already, and that the concept could come in both 2WD and AWD editions, and as a hybrid. Best guess for timing would be in 2019 as a 2020 model.