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The Toyota TJ Cruiser Comes to Life


The TJ Cruiser debuted at the 2017 Tokyo Auto Show, but no one thought the futuristic concept would come to life. But Toyota is ready to make it happen anyways.

Just Futuristic Enough to Be Interesting or Weird?

At the 2017 Tokyo Auto Show, Toyota debuted a monster of a vehicle: the TJ Cruiser concept. This concept, something like an FJ Cruiser and minivan mushed together, was what many found to be cool, yet…strange. And if you look at the concept, you may think so too.

But Toyota is answering the calls for more dynamic SUVs that fit their Japanese market. This concept is the answer to providing a smaller van that still has the capability to transform from people mover to gear mover.

2020 Toyota TJ Cruiser front end
@ToyotaMotorCorp on Twitter

Toyota is calling the TJ Cruiser a “Toolbox” that’s full of surprises and capabilities. Although less functional than its predecessor the FJ Cruiser, it may be more logical for the market. From carrying hardware to and from the fixer-upper store to camping underneath the stars, the TJ Cruiser is durable, flexible, and off-road(able?).

Here’s the Tea About the TJ Cruiser

So why is Toyota talking about debuting the TJ Cruiser now? With the increasing need to become EV-esque, the TJ Cruiser will be a hybrid much like the Prius and Corolla Hybrid. For those not quite ready to take it to the electric level, the TJ Cruiser is a good compromise.

2020 Toyota TJ Cruiser concept side view

Those with their ear to the ground, like Motor1, believe that the production model will come in two layouts with two or three rows of seats, seating 5 to 7 passengers. No matter the interior configuration, the TJ Cruiser will be all-wheel drive and be a strong competitor alongside the hardy Mitsubishi Delica that has been a fan favorite in Japan.

The 2020 Toyota Tacoma is Coming
2020 Toyota TJ Cruiser cargo space
@ToyotaMotorCorp on Twitter

Basically, the TJ Cruiser gives everyone the best of an SUV and a minivan. Sadly, they believe it will only be manufactured for the Japanese market.

Meet TJ in the Middle

There is a lot to be said about this unique SUV/van design. As the future leans towards electric and low-emissions, vehicle designs are leaping into the future, too.

2020 TJ Cruiser Concept interior

Even though the TJ Cruiser looks futuristic, and has many futuristic details, it still packs plenty of the same-old, same-old that today’s drivers can appreciate. A standard steering wheel (looking at you Volkswagen ID.Buzz!) and shifter make it easy to drive, while the updated digital dashboard and climate control give nods to the future.

Overall, the TJ Cruiser is exactly what Japanese drivers need in terms of capability and capacity with just enough futuristic design to give it a modern leg-up on the competition there.

What Do You Think?

2020 Toyota TJ Cruiser side view
@ToyotaMotorCorp on Twitter

Those close to the Toyota dealer’s network believe this model will be built on the TGNA platform that many of previous Toyota cars use already such as the fourth generation Prius and C-HR, which are already produced in North America. Some hope that if Toyota sees success in Japan that the company will take the leap to produce it in the U.S., too.

With the push toward #VanLife, offroading, and “the more utility the merrier” attitude about vehicles, do you think Toyota is making the right decision to push forward with the TJ Cruiser even though many were unsure back in 2017?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Erin Maxson

Erin loves nothing more than a good road trip. To her, getting behind the wheel is one of the biggest adventures you can take because it can lead to anywhere. Alongside her Toyota Tundra, you'll find her co-pilot pup, Rory, and a 1976 Airstream Argosy in tow. Her motto: Life is a scenic road, take your time and enjoy the ride.

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  1. Avatar
    SEAN P HENNIGAN October 14, 2019

    Bring it to the US !

    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team October 14, 2019

      That would be great! It’s such a cool vehicle!

  2. Avatar
    Anonymous December 31, 2019

    BRING IT!!!!! I’ve been waiting for a long time to see a Toyota 4WD available to the U.S. Bring it, and I’ll buy it!

    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team January 2, 2020

      Absolutely! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    2. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team January 6, 2020


  3. Avatar
    Montana Longman February 5, 2020

    I would buy one, with the Ford Flex going out this looks to be the next best option for me for hauling around my pack of Great Danes to and from shows, without going full size cargo van. Just from the concept it is something I would try to import if it is not produced to be here anyway, so I hope they save me the trouble and just send it to the US.

    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team February 5, 2020

      They are large dogs so the amount of room would be very helpful if you travel with them regularly!

  4. Avatar
    Jan Chen February 6, 2020

    I saw it at the LA Auto Show in 2018 and have been wanting one ever since. Sadly, it was not at the 2019 LA Auto Show and the reps at the show for Toyota knew nothing about it. Please Toyota bring this car to the USA!

    1. Carsforsale.com Team
      Carsforsale.com Team February 6, 2020

      We hope they do as well!

  5. Avatar
    Don April 21, 2020

    I can’t wait. My 2003 Honda Element passed on and I can’t wait. Skier, paddler, owner of 3 dogs, this is the perfect vehicle. PLEASE Toyota, bring it to the US. Please show a roof rack availability, it will be needed for outdoor enthusiasts.


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