According to reports from Japan, Toyota’s TJ Cruiser, which was shown at the Tokyo Auto Show in 2017, could be headed for production. The TJ concept, if you don’t remember, was somewhat of a cross between a rugged SUV and a van, with fold-flat seats for four and a toughened load space for durability.
An (expertly Google Translated) article from Japan’s Best Car, citing dealer insider Toru Endo, claims that the production version of the TJ could be unveiled some time around this year’s Tokyo Auto Show in October, with pre-orders in Japan beginning in December.
Best Car goes on to claim that the production TJ Cruiser, like the concept, will be an all-wheel-drive hybrid (though a conventional gasoline version could be offered as well) based on a version of the TNGA architecture which underpins much of the Toyota lineup these days. The van could seat either five or seven occupants to the concept’s four, but the production version is rumored to remain small at only 4300 mm long with a 2750 mm wheelbase.
As its name suggests, the TJ Cruiser may be marketed as a spiritual successor to the FJ Cruiser, the heavily 4Runner-based retro-styled SUV marketed to younger buyers. What the TJ would have that the FJ largely lacked is practicality. The production TJ is rumored to retain the foldable seating and sliding doors of the concept and may be able to accomodate bulky items as long as three meters with the seats folded flat. With that kind of practicality and all-wheel-drive, Best Car argues that the TJ could end up as a competitor to the legendary but slightly larger Mitsubishi Delica.
While this all sounds like an exciting proposition, Best Car does also claim that the TJ Cruiser could be only a 1500 units-per-month limited production model, kind of like the Pike Factory cars Nissan did during the Bubble Years. That would seem to preclude U.S. sales, but Motor1 does point out that the TNGA architecture the van could likely be built on is available in our market so a TJ Cruiser in your driveway may not be totally out of the question just yet.