The beloved Toyota FJ Cruiser may have left the United States nearly a decade ago, but it remained in production globally for a healthy 17 years before finally hitting the cutting room floor earlier in 2023. Perhaps just in time, rumors are swirling of a small offering in the Land Cruiser family that could potentially signal the reboot of the FJ Cruiser—or at least embody its spirit in form and function.
Earlier this year, Toyota held a very special presentation to showcase the 2024 Land Cruiser. And at the end of the presentation, the automaker showed off two silhouettes, teasing new vehicles that might debut within the Land Cruiser family. One of those designs was a small, boxy SUV that appears to incorporate similar cues as the late FJ Cruiser and the new Prado-based Land Cruiser 250.
Toyota patented the name "Land Hopper" in Japan following the presentation. While that might sound like a silly name to some, it's arguably an apt way to describe a more compact version of Toyota's venerable off-roading icon. Rumors are now circulating the the Land Hopper designation could be Toyota's official moniker for its unidentified smaller SUV. And just this week, more details have followed from Japanese media outlet Best Car. They're all rumors of course, but they have our imagination running wild.
According to the publication, the tiny Land Hopper will be sized similarly to the Toyota Corolla Cross, which would seemingly class this small SUV alongside the Ford Bronco Sport. Best Car also revealed that the rumored vehicle will be built on a shortened version of the GA-F architecture, which already serves as the underpinnings for the full-size Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado, and Lexus GX, as well as the Toyota Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra. If true, that means this tiny truck—just like the original FJ Cruiser—would be body-on-frame.
The powertrain selection still appears to be up in the air. Best Car says that Toyota will offer two engine options for the model in its home market. Buyers will reportedly be able to choose between a traditional, naturally aspirated four-cylinder or a hybrid powertrain.
For Japanese buyers, that could mean the option of the 1.8-liter four-cylinder and hybrid from the Corolla Cross, or the 2.0-liter gasoline and 2.5-liter hybrids from the RAV4. Best Car suggests that Toyota may also choose to throw in a smaller, 1.5-liter turbocharged hybrid powertrain. The potential for pure battery-electric propulsion is reportedly still under consideration, though all signs suggest it wouldn't immediately be available at launch.
And that launch may not be all that far away. Toyota is expected to reveal the Land Hopper at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, which begins on October 25th. The vehicle itself is anticipated to be released in the second half of 2024. No official price has been announced; however, Best Car speculates that the truck will be priced as the lowest-cost entry into the Land Cruiser brand, starting between $20,100 and $25,500 in its home market.
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