Please Toyota, build this!
After the Toyota FJ Cruiser left the US market in 2014, it carried on in Japan for a few more years. Due to their unique styling, off-road capability, and proven reliability, used FJ Cruisers command pretty high sums on the used market. With the cult following that the FJ has garnered over the years, it would make sense for Toyota to bring it back in some capacity.
The previous FJ Cruiser was based on the existing Toyota 4Runner; a successor could theoretically use the upcoming TNGA-F platform that will underpin the next-generation 4Runner, Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia. While most FJ fans would like to see the model return with a gasoline engine, a design student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, had a more out-of-the-box idea.
For his graduation thesis, Sean Hadley designed what he calls the Toyota FJ-E, an all-electric off-roader that would appear as a 2030 model. "Electrification capable of going further than before," Hadley describes on his website. "The 2030 Toyota FJ-E is a silent off-road powerhouse. A fully electric experience allows you to connect with nature and overcome any obstacle before you."
The design borrows inspiration from the FJ Cruiser and the original FJ-40 on which that model was styled to imitate. Underneath the retro-themed body is a skateboard chassis with four electric motors. The main battery is protected by a steel skid plate and rock sliders and the platform features fully independent front and rear suspension for improved comfort on and off the road. Hadley also envisions smaller removable batteries built into the hood, which can be removed for camping activities or shared with other FJ-E drivers.
Much like the FJ Cruiser, the FJ-E features a two-door layout with two rear-opening clamshell doors to get into the small back seats. The side-opening rear hatch bundles a folding portion that can be used as a table, and since there is no engine up front, the FJ-E has a secondary "frunk." Much like a Jeep Wrangler, the FJ-E has removable doors and a removable rear roof section for open-top off-roading.
Hadley's design has no affiliation with Toyota, but we'd love to see the Japanese automaker hire him to work on an FJ successor.