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A new report alleges that Toyota’s future FJ Cruiser revival could ride on the same architecture as its new $13,000 Hilux Champ, a compact truck. Japan’s Best Car magazine alleges that the pickup’s platform will underpin the company’s upcoming off-roader, which will enter production later this year.

Like most things on the internet, it’s best to take this news with a grain of salt. Toyota has only sorta teased such a model, with a cryptic Land Cruiser FJ trademark surfacing in November spinning up the rumor mill after a report alleged the model would also pack a hybrid powertrain.

Toyota IMV 0 Concepts

Even previous Best Car reports seem to contradict this new information. The publication previously reported that the new FJ would ride on the TNGA-F architecture, which underpins the Toyota Land Cruiser, Sequoia, Tundra, Lexus LX, and Lexus GX.

Attempting to suss out what an automaker will build next is a fool’s errand. Companies aren’t eager to spill the beans on future products, and leaked details are either right on the money or wildly off base, with much of the info based on vague leaks from anonymous sources. Contradicting reports are common, and you can’t click three links on the internet today without stumbling upon some hopium. 

Does the idea of a bare-bones tiny off-roader with retro styling and boxy proportions sound amazing? Yes, it does tickle an itch in our 11-year-old brains, but it wouldn’t print Toyota money. American consumers aren’t fond of small and cheap, so an SUV based on the Champ launched in Thailand late last year seems like a non-starter, at least for the US market.

Toyota Compact Cruiser EV full-size model exterior front three-quarter view
Toyota Compact Cruiser EV full-size model exterior rear three-quarter view

However, Toyota doesn’t really have a compact off-road platform in its portfolio if it’s looking to offer something smaller than the Land Cruiser. It could reskin the RAV4, but that could also dampen its off-road capabilities as Toyota walks a fine line between off-road fun and affordability.

But maybe that’s the hopium talking.

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