by Karl Furlong
One of the most exciting electric concepts to come from Toyota in recent memory has been the Compact Cruiser, an SUV that brings the retro, blocky design of the FJ Cruiser into the electric era. But while there were rumors at one stage about the automaker abandoning plans for an electric version of the uniquely styled vehicle, a Toyota rival to take on products from the Volkswagen-owned Scout Motors would be ideal. Whether the Compact Cruiser Concept realizes as the reborn FJ Cruiser EV or not still remains to be seen, however, the inevitability of Toyota releasing a butch electric SUV at some stage, along with the Compact Cruiser concept having gotten as far as it has, leads us to believe that the FJ Cruiser EV could still reach showrooms.
Alongside having no formal confirmation that the Compact Cruiser Concept will actually be known as the new Toyota FJ Cruiser EV SUV, there is no telling whether the Toyota FJ Cruiser EV will have a 2024 release date in the USA. Still, when the Compact Cruiser was first seen as part of 16 new Toyota and Lexus EVs in late 2021, it was part of the brand's plan to release 30 new EVs by 2030. Hopefully, that means we'll see a production version sometime from 2024.
There is no way to know for sure what the price of the 2024 Toyota FJ Cruiser EV will be, but since it can be considered an electric alternative to the Ford Bronco Sport and a much more rugged EV than the Toyota bZ4X, we expect it a production version to be more expensive than both. An estimated cost of around $45,000 seems possible to us. That's a couple of grand more than the MSRP for the base bZ4X.
Nothing has been confirmed, but we would love to see a Toyota FJ Cruiser EV being built, if only because of its cute yet adventurous styling. The exterior of a production-ready Toyota FJ Cruiser EV will likely undergo a few changes from the Compact Cruiser EV pictured here, but we think it looks pretty perfect as is.
It's got a similar blocky overall look to the gas-powered FJ Cruiser, but the EV has square daytime running lights instead of the FJ Cruiser's rounded headlights, and conventional doors are used in place of the FJ Cruiser's small rear-opening doors. In fact, Toyota says that this concept vehicle's design was also inspired by the first-generation Land Cruiser.
The car pictured here shines in a vibey blue, especially with those orange accents. Any cool new product in this segment would do well with a special palette of its own, so we hope Toyota makes fresh exterior colors available if an FJ Cruiser EV comes to market. Front and rear skid plates, tow hooks, flared fenders, roof storage, and all-terrain rubber all speak to a vehicle that looks every bit like the rugged off-roader we hope it will be.
There are no official dimensions for a Toyota FJ Cruiser EV, but the concept appears to straddle the subcompact and compact segments based on earlier images we've seen of it alongside other Toyota EV concepts. With that in mind, the production FJ Cruiser EV may actually be shorter and narrower than the bZ4X (184.6 inches in length and 72.2 inches in width). However, the FJ Cruiser EV should easily be taller than the bZ4X, with a height that is likely around 68 inches.
And, because it would be a fully electric SUV, the FJ Cruiser EV might have a curb weight of well over 4,000 pounds and have the ground clearance and approach and departure angles conducive to making it a capable mild off-roader.
As with many of the other technical specs, we don't know what will power a production FJ Cruiser EV. The only aspect that's virtually a guarantee is that this rugged SUV will come with all-wheel drive. That could indicate the presence of dual electric motors, but hopefully, these will be more powerful than the bZ4X AWD's combined 214 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. Even these outputs should enable a 0-60 time of under seven seconds, though.
If Toyota wanted to go all-out to make the 2024 FJ Cruiser EV as capable off-road as possible, it may go for body-on-frame underpinnings. An easier solution might be a revised version of the eTNGA platform but with a few added goodies to make it more capable in the dirt.
The range capabilities of the FJ Cruiser EV are shrouded in secrecy, but like any modern EV, Toyota will want to achieve at least 300 miles to make it competitive. That would also be an improvement on the range in the bZ4X, which can only manage up to 252 miles.
It's the same case with charging speeds, with the bZ4X AWD only capable of charging at up to 100 kW, a lot slower than many rivals. But, hopefully, if and when the FJ Cruiser EV turns up, we hope that Toyota's battery expertise will have caught up with the outputs and charging speeds of rivals.
Toyota hasn't shared pictures of what the FJ Cruiser EV's interior would look like, so we can only speculate about it. Being a modern EV, we don't expect any similarity to the older FJ Cruiser's cliff-like dashboard at all. Instead, the production-ready FJ Cruiser EV will probably come with dual displays, while retaining a smattering of physical controls.
SofTex upholstery, or perhaps a sporty cloth, could cover the seats in the 2024 Toyota FJ Cruiser EV, but the materials will probably be on the side of durable rather than luxurious.
All the expected connectivity features will likely be in place, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but this isn't a vehicle that is likely to be stocked full of comfort features, since it is a smaller SUV.
We'll share more information about the cargo space inside the Toyota FJ Cruiser EV, as well as aspects like second-row space and safety gear, as soon as we have it.
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