The tiny off-roader will be based on the Compact Cruiser EV concept and may debut later this year.
New reports out of Japan claim that Toyota is gearing up to release a new compact off-roader based on the Compact Cruiser EV concept revealed in 2021. It will essentially be a compact version of the new all-new Land Cruiser, unveiled earlier this year.
Citing Best Car Web and Mag-X, Drive Australia reports that the Land Cruiser Mini will reportedly arrive with traditional gas- or diesel-powered engines. Interestingly, the Compact Cruiser concept was previewed as an electric vehicle. However, Toyota will reportedly use combustion engines to cater to markets where EVs aren't practical or popular.
We expect Toyota to offer the Land Cruiser Mini in hybrid or electric forms, especially in the European and North American markets. Mag-X claims the baby SUV will arrive with regular combustion engines "with no electric technology to facilitate maintenance in emerging markets."
However, Best Car believes the newcomer will receive the electrified 2.5-liter found in the RAV4 or the 2.0-liter engine from the Corolla Cross.
In its latest report, Mag X says the Land Cruiser Mini will receive the same turbocharged 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel used in the Prado and Hilux. This robust motor produces 201 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, which should be more than enough for a rugged compact 4x4.
However, the 2.8-liter could be offered as a hybrid in certain markets, with an electric motor positioned between the engine and transmission. A battery would be located under the boot floor, which leads us to believe it could arrive as a plug-in hybrid capable of operating on electric power alone.
Furthermore, the publication reports that a naturally aspirated 2.7-liter engine is also in the cards. Mag-X also notes that Toyota is reportedly working on an all-electric version. The automaker will first implement the electric drivetrain in the new Tacoma, then make adjustments and use it in the new off-roader. Interestingly, the new Land Cruiser Mini will share its platform with the Tacoma pickup.
While the exterior styling will draw from the Compact Cruiser EV concept, the production-ready variant will be considerably smaller. Both publications claim the Land Cruiser Mini will be close to the Corolla Cross in terms of size but will stand 74 inches tall and 73.2 inches wide. Circle-shaped headlights will lend the front end plenty of character, while a spare wheel cover on the tailgate will lend the SUV some retro flair.
Mag-X reports that the Land Cruiser Mini will be manufactured in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. Fully electric variants are tipped to be produced in Japan, though. The Land Cruiser Mini has reportedly been referred to as the "Jimny Killer" by Toyota insiders, giving us an idea of the segment the automaker is aiming for.
There's a strong chance the newcomer could debut at the Japan Mobility Show 2023 in October, but this is yet to be confirmed. We would be surprised if the Land Cruiser Mini arrives stateside, but it would be great to see it here.