Tokyo, Japan - The ‘T’ in the designation of Toyota’s Tj Cruiser concept apparently stands for ‘Toolbox’, but it could more accurately be described as a Toybox.
Looking like a cross between and MPV and an SUV, the company sees this van-like vehicle with on demand all-wheel drive as the ideal way to get your playtoys - such as surfboards and skis, up to three metres long, and mountain bikes - to where the action is.
Somewhat reminiscent of a Materia on steroids, the Tj Cruiser is 4300mm long on a 2750mm wheelbase, 1775mm wide and and 1620mm wide. It’s based on the maker’s New Global Architecture platform, intended for ‘two-litre equivalent’ (i.e. about 150kW) powertrains in either petrol or petrol/electric hybrid format, and has a short front deck over a chunky grille, a squared-off body, robust long-travel suspension and 20 inch alloy rims.
The bonnet, roof and fenders are made of ‘care free’ (we assume that means composite) material, with a special coating that resists dirt and scratches.
The full-width tailgate extends into the roof and opens well above head height for easy loading and all the seats (except the driver’s) fold flat and level with the floor of the boot, to create a huge, flat cargo bay. The deck boards and seat backs are full of lashing points so you can safely anchor anything from small day-packs to tent-poles.
But perhaps the Tj Cruiser’s most practical feature is the squab of the passenger seat directly behind the driver, which flips up forward to reveal a deep well just right for holding shopping bags and keeping them upright.
That’s because, despite its macho persona, if the response at the Tokyo Motor Show where it will premiere is sufficiently positive to persuade Akio Toyoda to put it into the production, the Tj Cruiser is likely to find its biggest market among soccer moms.