Could the Toyota Compact Cruiser EV become a modern FJ off-roader?

Show a picture of the Toyota Compact Cruiser EV to a fan of classic Toyota off-road vehicles, and they’ll say, “Oh yeah! The Compact Cruiser appears to channel all the design elements of the original 1970s FJ Cruisers that had a major off-road cult following, along with the modern lines of the popular modern FJ Cruiser. Although Toyota hasn’t said it will build a Compact Crusier EV SUV, if it does, it could be the modern FJ many want.

Compact Cruiser Wins Design Awards

Toyota compact cruiser | Toyota

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There are a few hints that the Toyota Compact Cruiser EV could soon arrive as a LiteCrusier. You can almost expect a Compact Cruiser to say, “And one day I’ll be a real SUV!” Toyota made a full-size model of the Compact Cruiser. The Compact Cruiser EV appears to be more than just a concept, however. It won the prestigious Car Design Award 2022, a jury prize that rewards the best new cars and concept cars, as well as the brand language. The award puts the Compact Cruiser in the company of Ferrari, Polestar and Land Rover.

The off-road electric vehicle market could be the next hot segment

The Jeep Cherokee 4xe is one of the many proofs that electric vehicles can also go off-road.
Jeep 4xe 2022 | Jeep

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One look at the modern SUV landscape and it’s clear buyers want more off-road options. The Ford Bronco, Toyota 4Runner and Sequoia in TRD trim, and of course the Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover all sell for off-road capability. So far, Jeep has made inroads into the off-road EV world with its 4Xe versions of the Wrangler. The GMC Hummer EV as well as the Rivian R1T all show that electric vehicles can be competent off-roaders.

Will the Toyota Compact Crusier EV (or LiteCruiser) be built?

Could the Compact Cruiser become a 2024 model?  Toyota hasn't said much yet.
The Toyota Compact Cruiser concept | Toyota

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Some, like Gear Patrol, seem to be sure that Toyota will make the CC as a 2024 model. But, Toyota stayed mum. In December, the Compact Cruiser was included in Toyota’s EV strategy press conference which included notable models like the bZ4X SUV and several other EV cars and SUVs. In the version of the bZ4X, Toyota said it plans to offer 70 electrified models by 2025, and at least some of those 70 must be SUVs.

We’re looking forward to Toyota launching a new electric version of its Toyota Tacoma, which could be the perfect platform for a CC. The Tacoma is unlikely to back it up and compete with the 4Runner. Instead, it could be built on the bZ4X platform and compete with other soft-roaders like the Ford Bronco Sport or the Nissan Pathfinder.

The bZ4X is the closest today to the Toyota range

A 2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited EV/electric SUV could be the platform for a new Compact Cruiser.
2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited in Elemental Silver Metallic | Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.

If Toyota tries to market a CC, it could be on the new bZ4X platform. The bZ4X is the company’s new battery-electric SUV that has a range of 252 miles. Above all, Toyota offers the bZ4X in all-wheel drive, which bodes well for an off-road SUV. The bZ4X already offers Toyota’s multi-terrain selection with X-MODE, which allows it to weave through snow, dirt and mud. The bZ4X focuses on sportiness, while its flexible e-TNGA platform allows for different bodies on the platform.

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