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Is Toyota building a mini Land Cruiser?


We’ve seen a concept style mini Land Cruiser before, but recent reports suggest a very similar vehicle may actually be going into production

There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Land Cruiser nameplate lately, especially with the announcement of the new-generation Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, but now there are rumours that an even smaller version of the famous Land Cruiser could be coming. 

Toyota could soon be targeting the lower cost four-wheel drive market, creating a competitor to rival the popular and quite unique Suzuki Jimny off-roader. 

This would mean that the Land Cruiser lineup could one day comprise the rumoured new model, Prado and 300 Series, along with the 70 Series Land Cruisers – that’s before you count the more luxurious Lexus versions such as the GX and LX

This is the Toyota Compact Cruiser that was revealed in 2021

Toyota could have complete dominance in the 4WD wagon sector with such a lineup. 

According to Best Car Web, the mini Land Cruiser could be called the Land Hopper, a name which has been recently trademarked in Japan. 

The vehicle’s size is estimated to be very similar to the current Toyota Corolla Cross small SUV, so around the ballpark of 4460mm long vehicle with a circa 2640mm wheelbase.

Toyota Land Cruiser GR Sport 2023-4 Front 3/4 Dirt
The Toyota Land Cruiser name is very strong in Australia and across the globe

More electric Toyotas are set to arrive in the next couple of years, so we could see an EV or turbo-diesel mini Cruiser by the end of the decade. 

A new platform from Toyota is expected around 2026 which will replace the current E-TNGA architecture that underpins the current BZ4X midsize SUV, as well as the upcoming Subaru Solterra

The mini Land Cruiser could come sooner rather than later 

Toyota Corolla Cross Atmos Hybrid 2022 drift close front
The mini Land Cruiser could be a similar size to the Corolla Cross

Although it could launch on a new platform, the mini Land Cruiser could be coming as soon as 2024, according to a separate report by Mag X

Being so soon, it’s possible that the small-sized Land Cruiser could be built instead on the TNGA-K platform (Kluger, RAV4, Camry) to accommodate both hybrid-combustion and regular combustion powertrains.  

We’ve seen what could be the mini Land Cruiser already 

A cool integrated side ladder for roof storage is a handy tool

Late in 2021, Toyota announced an extensive array of electric vehicle concepts, one of which was a visual mix between the FJ Cruiser and the Land Cruiser vehicle but much more the size of a Suzuki Jimny. 

This concept used a very similar front end design to the freshly-announced Land Cruiser Prado, with rugged looks and, importantly, an off-road focus. 

A cool feature of the concept was the use of a side-integrated ladder system to assist with lifting things on and off the roof racks.

You can see design inspiration here from Land Cruisers of the past

Unfortunately, more information about battery size and electric motor outputs were not revealed at the time. 

What could power the Mini Land Cruiser?

Although the Concept Cruiser was an EV-only proposition, the future mini Land Cruiser could potentially also be powered by a small displacement petrol engine, or a small turbo-diesel engine for greater torque when off-roading. 

Toyota Land Cruiser GR Sport 2023 Front 3/4
The current Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series GR Sport

Best Car Web reports that the micro four-wheel drive could use the Corolla’s 1.8-litre engine, or potentially the 2.0- or 2.5-litre Toyota engines used in the RAV4. 

If launched in Australia, however, it’s likely that Australian buyers would prefer a turbo-diesel engine, so perhaps the Hilux’s lesser known 2.4-litre turbo-diesel engine would be a good fit for our market. 

The Hilux’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine could be on the cards also, but may be restricted by space limitations in the engine bay. 

The Hilux could lend its engine to the mini Land Cruiser

Knowing Toyota’s passion for its series-parallel hybrid system, a variant with petrol or diesel power mated to an electric motor and battery could be a possibility, however it’s far too early to accurately say which way Toyota could go with the vehicle.

Best Car Web is predicting that the small-sized Land Cruiser could cost as little as four million yen (ADU$41,000) when it goes on sale, putting the vehicle very much in Suzuki Jimny territory.