Toyota’s Land Hopper: The automotive world is buzzing with excitement as Toyota appears to be reviving the spirit of its iconic FJ Cruiser. The journey begins in 2021 when Toyota unveils the Compact Cruiser concept, a surprising preview of its upcoming battery-electric lineup. Fast forward to December 2022, and the beloved gas-powered FJ Cruiser, which exited the U.S. market in 2014, concludes its 17-year production run in Japan.
In August, Toyota Japan submitted a trademark application for the name “Land Hopper,” setting the stage for what’s to come. Just days later, during Toyota’s grand reintroduction of the legendary Land Cruiser, eagle-eyed enthusiasts spot a silhouette reminiscent of the Compact Cruiser. Now, in September, reports from Japan suggest that the downsized Land Cruiser, tentatively dubbed the Land Hopper, could become a reality as soon as next year.
The Land Hopper: More Than Just Electric
Contrary to expectations of an all-electric Land Cruiser successor, the Japanese reports indicate that the Land Hopper will offer a variety of powertrain options. While an all-electric version may join the lineup later, the initial release will likely feature a combination of gas and diesel engines, and possibly even a hybrid powertrain.
This strategic decision is primarily attributed to the platform choice, with Toyota opting for a shortened version of the GA-F body-on-frame chassis, the backbone of several Toyota and Lexus models. The rugged nature of the ladder frame chassis, currently, presents challenges for an all-electric powertrain.
Powering the Land Hopper: An Array of Engines
Expect to find an array of internal combustion engines under the Land Hopper’s hood. These powerplants include a turbocharged 1.5-liter hybrid, the proven 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines from the global Corolla Cross lineup, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid from the RAV4, the potent turbocharged 2.8-liter diesel from the HiLux pickup, and a new naturally aspirated 2.7-liter four-cylinder gas engine currently in development. As for the much-anticipated electric variant, it’s suggested that Toyota is prioritizing its adaptation for the North American Tacoma pickup before adapting it for the Land Hopper.
Dimensions and Design: Compact and Off-Road-Ready
The Land Hopper is expected to measure approximately 171.3 inches in length, 73 inches in width, and 74 inches in height. This compact footprint positions it as a formidable contender in the off-road SUV segment. Notably, the Land Hopper will be five inches shorter than the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross but two inches wider and 10 inches taller. In comparison to the larger 4Runner, it will be approximately 20 inches shorter in length and two inches narrower but three inches taller. The design includes a distinctive spare tire carrier attached to the rear hatch, reminiscent of the silhouette showcased during the Land Cruiser presentation.
The Future of Off-Road Adventure: Toyota’s “Jimny Killer”
The Land Hopper represents Toyota’s bold step into the realm of compact off-road SUVs. Internally referred to as a “[Suzuki] Jimny killer,” this versatile vehicle is poised to capture the hearts of adventure seekers and off-road enthusiasts. As anticipation builds, there’s a possibility that Toyota will unveil an evolution of the Land Hopper at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, offering a closer look at what could redefine the world of compact off-road vehicles.