Okay, maybe not the specific vehicle itself, but the key feature that sets it apart from every other crossover/SUV on the road or in conceptual blueprints.
Seen here is the just-revealed Toyota Tj Cruiser, a commodious concept car heading to the upcoming Tokyo Auto Show. “Tj,” Toyota tells us, is a combination of “toolbox,” which this versatile box-on-wheels can certainly be, and “joy,” which you’ll certainly be feeling when behind the wheel. Take the company’s word for it — there’s joy here.
Whether you find it ungainly or endearing, the Tj Cruiser seems to be an answer to a question few are asking. However, TTAC was one of those askers.
Just a few weeks ago, we brought you the Chevrolet Tahoe Grande — a full-size SUV with sliding rear doors for better ingress/egress, side loading, and to generally help the kids scamper all about. This concept, of course, emerged from the TTAC Design Studios, helping illustrate our Question of the Day (which was, does rear sliding doors turn a utility vehicle into a van?).
The jury that day couldn’t reach a verdict, but the Tahoe Grande concept lives on in the Tj Cruiser, which Toyota claims represents the “harmonious balance between the roominess of a cargo van and the powerful design of an SUV.”
A versatile, easily reconfigurable interior. A long, flat cargo floor capable of swallowing objects 10 feet in length. Available four-wheel drive. Sturdy suspension. A bulky, slab-sided body with crossover-like ground clearance. An off-the shelf four-cylinder engine with attached hybrid system. While all of these attributes scream “utility!” (as well as “doable”), those sliding rear doors pull the vehicle right back into vandom.
It’s interesting Toyota is thinking about what it calls a “new crossover genre concept vehicle.”
However, Toyota is not thinking about building this TNGA-platform vehicle. According to Automotive News, the automaker has no plans to build either the Tj Cruiser or the Toyota 86-based GR HV Sports concept joining it at the auto show.
Given the automaker’s concerns about its bland, conservative image, and the fact that the funky Tj Cruiser looks like something Scion might have created (had it not died at the hands of its parent company), perhaps Toyota execs might want to give serious thought about adding such a vehicle to their already crowded utility vehicle lineup. Or would that be a waste of time?
[Images: Toyota; Chevrolet, FCA, The Truth About Cars]