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2025 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ Compact Off-Roader May Use Hilux Champ’s Ladder Frame

2024-03-25 10:16:16
The 'baby' Land Cruiser FJ is rumored to debut as early as December 2024, with deliveries in Japan set to commence in the spring of 2025, followed by a global rollout that will include North America

The Land Cruiser nameplate has always been associated with exceptional off-road capabilities, so it’s no surprise that Toyota intends to uphold these traits for future members of the family. This includes the highly-anticipated compact SUV that is rumored to inherit the FJ moniker. According to the latest reports, the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ will be presented in late 2024 and sit on a ladder frame chassis, unlocking its full potential for adventure-seekers.

The “baby” Land Cruiser made its first appearance in an official teaser in August 2023, as the smallest member of the range next to the existing classic 70, and the modern 250 (the one we get in North America), and 300 series (unavailable in the States). A recent trademark filing sparked rumors about the possible use of the Land Cruiser FJ nameplate for the compact off-roader which is set to fight the Ford Bronco Sport.

However, in contrast to its Ford counterpart, the Land Cruiser won’t transition to a unibody architecture. Reports indicate that it will retain the robust ladder frame underpinnings shared with the Toyota Hilux Champ pickup, preserving its heritage and allowing the company to offer it at an affordable price. Naturally, the SUV will boast enhanced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) characteristics and driving dynamics compared to the LCV, which prioritizes affordability in emerging markets.

Non-Electrified Naturally Aspirated Powertrains?

As with any rumors, there’s a lot of speculation surrounding the powertrain options for the upcoming Land Cruiser FJ (or whatever Toyota decides to name it). Initially, sources suggested that it could feature both internal combustion and hybrid powertrains, with potential for a fully electric version down the line.

However, Japan’s Best Car now reports that Toyota has abandoned plans for hybrid powertrains, favoring a traditional gasoline engine instead. It’s worth taking this information with a grain of salt, as powertrain offerings may vary by region. Toyota might still offer a hybrid option outside of Japan, which would make a lot of sense given the current state of the market.

In any case, the report suggests that one of the most likely options to power the Land Cruiser FJ is the naturally aspirated 2.7-liter four-cylinder 2TR-FE gasoline engine. This unit is already utilized in the mechanically-related Thai-spec Hilux Champ , as well as the EU-spec and JDM-spec versions of the Land Cruiser Prado (250 Series). However, this might only be applicable to markets like Japan and other Asian regions where the Hilux Champ is sold.

In the latter, this engine produces 161 hp (120 kW / 163 PS) and 246 Nm (181 lb-ft) of torque, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a proper 4WD system. While these figures might suffice for a compact off-roader in many markets, they may not meet the more power-hungry demands of the North American market. For comparison, the Ford Bronco Sport offers a base 181hp 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder and a 245-hp turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

That said, Toyota has a variety of engines at its disposal, including options found in the Corolla Cross, RAV4, and even the Prius for enhanced hybrid power, if it opts to go that route. For instance, in North America, the Corolla Cross offers a 169 hp 2.0-liter inline four, the RAV4 can be had with a 203 hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and the new Prius is equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid gasoline engine producing 194 hp, along with a plug-in hybrid variant delivering 220 hp.

Compact Footprint, Rugged Styling

The teaser, serving as the inspiration for our speculative rendering, hints at the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ adopting design elements from the Compact Cruiser EV concept unveiled in 2021. While maintaining its boxy stance and nifty LEDs, the production model seems larger, boasting ample ground clearance, robust tires, and a flat tailgate adorned with a mounted spare wheel.

The Land Cruiser FJ is expected to have a footprint slightly larger than the Corolla Cross but possibly smaller than the RAV4. Initial estimates indicate dimensions of around 4,500 mm (177.2 inches) in length, 1,830 mm (72 inches) in width, and 1,850 mm (72.8 inches) in height, with a wheelbase of 2,750 mm (108.3 inches). This makes it notably smaller than North America’s new Land Cruiser, which measures 4,925 mm (193.9 inches) in length.

When Will It Arrive?

While there’s no official confirmation regarding the debut of the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ, according to Best Car’s report, it could potentially make its debut as early as December 2024 with deliveries in Japan to commence in spring 2025, followed by a global rollout.

As for pricing, the latest intel indicates that the Land Cruiser FJ could be priced between ¥3.5-4.5 million in Japan, which is equivalent to $23,000-$30,000 based on current exchange rates. Prices will naturally vary by market, but we anticipate the North American model starting from around $30,000 to $35,000, potentially exceeding the $40,000 mark for higher-end models. This would position it notably below the $55,000 starting price of the Land Cruiser Prado.