Back in December, Toyota revealed an absolute onslaught of new electric car concepts. My eyes immediately flew to the back corner, where there was an electric pickup that looked very much like a Tacoma EV...and right next to it was a small, boxy, off-road SUV with heavy cladding, a skid plate and a roof rack. Toyota is calling the concept the Compact Cruiser EV.
Here's what we know about the Compact Cruiser EV so far.
The Compact Cruiser takes styling cues from the first-gen Land Cruiser. But it looks very much like it runs on a car platform. And Toyota's description of the target buyer — "young, professional urban dwellers who enjoy active outdoor leisure interests" — screams crossover.
It's not too surprising given the off-road aesthetic. But Toyota says the Compact Cruiser appeals to those looking for a "go anywhere, all-wheel-drive experience." So a production version should come with AWD — if it's not standard.
Toyota didn't get cute naming its EV concepts. The EV pickup was called the "Pickup EV." So Toyota including "compact" is probably a reference to body size. The Compact Cruiser EV also looks smaller than the Pickup EV, which looks like a midsize truck. Expect the Compact Cruiser to be more of a Ford Bronco Sport than a Bronco fighter.
We'd expect "Cruiser" to be in the production name somewhere. Something like "bZ Cruiser" could work pretty well. However, Toyota trademarked "Trailhunter" last year, so who knows.
The Compact Cruiser looks like a smaller version of the FJ Cruiser, a quirky, modernized take on the old FJ40 Land Cruiser. A niche enthusiast base has kept the FJ Cruiser's used prices sky-high and has longed for its return. This vehicle — in a more commercially viable and environmentally friendly form — may be the closest we get.
Toyota revealed a cool FT-4X concept back in 2017. It was a tiny, affordable, off-road crossover with nifty, sort-of-Ford Maverick-like styling targeted at young people. Toyota has not put it into production, but the Compact Cruiser EV could be very much that but electric. (Car and Driver expects the price point to be affordable for what it's worth.)
Toyota has not yet revealed a launch date for the Compact Cruiser EV, but we expect it to be relatively soon. Toyota promised to launch 15 new BEVS by 2025; Toyota revealed 15 new EV concepts back in December. So we'd bet the production Compact Cruiser will be on the road by then.
What we know so far about the most-eagerly-awaited midsize truck.