Toyota's mini Land Cruiser rumored coming in 2024 — possibly called the Land Hopper

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Let's quickly get the timeline set. In 2021, the Toyota Compact Cruiser surprises everyone as part of the automaker's preview of battery-electric future vehicle concepts. In December 2022, the 17-year-old gas-powered FJ Cruiser that exited the U.S. market in 2014 ends production in Japan. In the middle of August, Toyota Japan applies to trademark the name "Land Hopper" in Japan. Two days later, during Toyota's introduction of the reborn Land Cruiser, one of the images contains the silhouette of something that could easily be mistaken for a slightly tweaked Compact Cruiser. This brings us to September and two reports out of Japan from Best Car and Mag X, via Australia's Drive, that say the downsized Land Cruiser is coming to production as soon as next year.

Let's just call it the Land Hopper as a placeholder name for now. The Japanese reports say it's not going to be electric only, that it will offer shoppers some combination of gas and diesel engines, maybe a hybrid powertrain, and potentially, further down the line, an all-electric variant that closes the loop with the 2021 Compact Cruiser concept. The engine switch-up is said to be due to the platform, Toyota reportedly putting the Land Hopper on a shortened version of the GA-F body-on-frame chassis that supports the 300- and 250-Series Toyota Land Cruisers, the Sequoia SUV, the Tundra and Tacoma pickups, and the new Lexus GX. For now, the ladder frame chassis would impose too many compromises on an all-electric powertrain.

The internal combustion engines reportedly in play are a turbocharged 1.5-liter hybrid, the 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engines from the global Corolla Cross powertrain menu, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid from the RAV4, the turbocharged 2.8-liter diesel from the HiLux pickup, and a naturally aspirated 2.7-liter four-cylinder gas engine said to be in development. As for an electric trim, Mag X wrote, "Apparently the priority is to make the [electric drivetrain] viable in the Tacoma pick up for North America, and after completion, the unit will be modified and used" in the Land Hopper.

Dimensions are thought to be 171.3 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 74 inches tall. That footprint would make the Land Hopper five inches shorter than the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross, two inches wider, and 10 inches taller. Compared to a 4Runner, those dimensions are about 20 inches shorter and two inches narrower, but three inches taller. Some of that length includes a spare tire carrier hung from the rear hatch, like the silhouetted vehicle from the Land Cruiser presentation.

It's possible Toyota will put another evolution of the Land Hopper on display at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show that opens at the end of October. If so, then we'll find out more about the vehicle Toyota is said to internally refer to as a "[Suzuki] Jimny killer."

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