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Toyota’s next off-roader could be a compact FJ revival.

New Toyota Land Cruiser FJ New Toyota Land Cruiser FJ

During the 2024 Land Cruiser debut last August, Toyota briefly showed the silhouette of another boxy off-roader. That could be the new FJ Cruiser—or at least, a smaller off-road SUV with the Cruiser name. Since then, Toyota hasn’t made a peep about such a model, but evidence continues to mount surrounding what could be a smaller LC for off-road enthusiasts—or so we hope.

An errant trademark filing and some reading between the lines allude to Toyota expanding its Land Cruiser nameplate into a more prominent brand, similar to what the company has done with Crown. But the details are scarce, and there are some conflicting reports about said vehicle.

Still, there’s a strong possibility that a new FJ Cruiser—or a similar compact off-roader—could happen soon. Here’s what we know.

What Is The Toyota FJ Cruiser?

The FJ Cruiser was an off-road SUV that Toyota built in the US between 2007 and 2014. It had retro styling and a signature white roof in most applications. Powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, the FJ had 239 horsepower between 2007 and 2009 and settled at 260 horsepower by the end of its lifecycle.

You could get the FJ with a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, and it had standard all-wheel drive with Toyota’s advanced A-Trac traction control system—which essentially mimicked a locking differential for better traction off-road. And on paper, at least, the FJ could go toe-to-toe with the Jeep Wrangler.

These days, the FJ is a cult classic—trying to find a well-kept used example for a decent price is a tough task. But rumors of its revival have been swirling for several years. The automaker might finally be ready to resurrect the rugged nameplate for a new version or use it as a starting point for a completely fresh model.

What Will It Be Called?

It’s unclear if this new off-roader will actually use the “FJ Cruiser” name. Given that the nameplate left the US in 2014, it’s certainly possible. However, Toyota could use the name “Cruiser” in a different way.

The off-roader concept we saw in 2021 had the name “Compact Cruiser EV.” The Compact Cruiser nameplate could stick around, but a trademark filing from November 2023 for the Land Cruiser FJ name suggests that Toyota at least wants to keep the FJ in its portfolio.

Toyota Chief Branding Officer Simon Humphries said last year that they would want to make the Cruiser “more affordable” and “within reach of even more people around the world,” while still keeping it relevant. A small Land Cruiser FJ could help with that.

What’s Under The Hood?

The Compact Cruiser EV concept that debuted in December 2021 had a fully electric powertrain. But that seems unlikely after reports surfaced in 2022 saying the automaker had ended the development of said concept.

But in 2023, another report suggested that the FJ revival would debut with gasoline and hybrid powertrains. A battery-electric version would come later as Toyota is pulling back on launching new EVs in the nascent market.

The new Land Cruiser and the Tacoma pickup use the same turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes up to 326 hp in the LC. Toyota has an arsenal of small engines that could make their way under the hood of a new FJ, but the turbo 2.4 seems like a likely candidate.

What Will It Look Like?

The lone teaser image purported to preview the new SUV looks small and boxy. Though, it doesn’t appear to have the same ground clearance as the FJ Cruiser. Instead, it borrows more styling cues from the Compact Cruiser EV.

The Compact Cruiser EV would be a good jumping-off point for a new FJ’s design; it has aggressive squared-off proportions and retro elements, including a full Toyota wordmark in the grille and back bumper. Our rendering (pictured above) predicts a new FJ based on the Compact Cruiser.

What Platform Will It Ride On?

While a small, boxy, affordable off-roader certainly sounds exciting, it’s still unclear how Toyota plans to build such a model. Its portfolio does not have a compact off-road platform to underpin the offering. Yet.

Previous reports suggested the new FJ could ride on the TNGA-F architecture that the new LC, Tacoma, and Tundra all use. But a recent rumor said Toyota could instead adopt the same platform that underpins the $13,000 pickup truck it launched last year in Thailand.

The bare-bones body might make for a fun SUV, but US consumers are unlikely to flock to something that small and cheap. It would have to made be more friendly for American roads.

How Much Will It Cost?

If Toyota is serious about making the Land Cruiser nameplate more accessible, a smaller version would certainly cost less. The 2024 Land Cruiser now starts at $57,000, leaving plenty of room for something more affordable underneath it in the lineup.

When Will We See It?

The same report that said the new model would share a platform with the Hilux Champ pickup also said the SUV would go into production in November. That’s just six months away and quite doable. But Toyota hasn’t said anything official, so we’ll have to wait for more concrete details to emerge to know if the shadowy teaser last August will ever become a reality.

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