WHAT IT IS: After initially doubling down on hydrogen and hybrids, Toyota appears to be pivoting slowly toward battery electric vehicles. One of the models that’ll anchor this directional change is the new 2024 Toyota Compact Cruiser. A follow-up of sorts to the beloved FJ Cruiser (which left our market in 2014 but still soldiers on in the Middle East), the Compact Cruiser is a pint-sized electric off-roader built in the same vein as early ’90s classics such as the Suzuki Samurai. This small electric off-roader sports four doors, plenty of ground clearance, tucked-away bumpers, all-terrain tires, and beefy-looking skidplates, all of which ought to make it a hoot off-road.
WHY IT MATTERS: Toyota is finally coming on strong in the EV space, promising 10 new “lines” of EVs by 2025, and the Compact Cruiser will be part of that salvo. While models like the 2023 Toyota bZ4X cover Toyota’s more conservative audience, the Compact Cruiser, previewed here with images of the Toyota Compact Cruiser Concept from earlier this year, aims to satisfy legions of Toyota’s hardcore off-road enthusiasts by offering more traditional Land Cruiser styling cues in an efficient, modern package.
PLATFORM AND POWERTRAIN: We don’t know a ton about what’s underneath the Compact Cruiser’s sheetmetal, but we think it’s a safe assumption we’ll find Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform, also found underpinning the bZ4x and Subaru Solterra. We expect the Compact Cruiser to offer dual-motor all-wheel drive and somewhere in the realm of 250 hp or so. If that’s the case, don’t expect it to be a range or charging champ—the more aerodynamic all-wheel-drive bZ4X nets 222 miles of range in its least efficient form and is among the slowest-charging EVs on the market.
ESTIMATED PRICE: $45,000
EXPECTED ON-SALE DATE: Fall 2023