Toyota has tried to reignite the fading appeal of traditional minivans with its newest Tj Cruiser concept, blending the practicality of an MPV with the rugged looks of an SUV.
On display at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, the Tj Cruiser takes its inspiration from a toolbox, according to Toyota, with a flexible interior configured to appeal to adventure-loving young urbanites.
Although Toyota hasn’t locked the Tj Cruiser in for production, beneath the boxy exterior the concept utilises a version of the same Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA) platform that underpins the latest-generation Prius and the new C-HR city SUV and has been earmarked to feature a choice of either petrol or hybrid powertrains.
Exploring the Tj Cruiser’s design details reveals a bonnet and tailgate painted in a non-slip and scratch proof material, a chequerplate grille, and sliding rear doors that provide easy access to the highly-configurable cabin.
Measuring 4300mm in length, 1775mm in width and sitting 1620mm high, the Tj Cruiser is roughly the same size as the C-HR but on the inside offers more space thanks to passenger seats that can be folded flat for carrying long items, like surfboards.
The seat backs even have a multitude of elastic tie-down straps to secure items, the leading edge of the boot has a recess to hold the front wheel of a mountain bike and there are hooks on the roof to hold wetsuits or other items.
Toyota Australia has indicated it would be interested in adding the Tj Cruiser to its local lineup if - but more likely when - it becomes a production reality.
"It’s a car that, because of our market and our environment, that I would be definitely interested in," said Toyota Australia's incoming Vice President of Sales and Operations, Sean Hanley.
"Potentially, if it was ever to go into production, it might be a fun car to have. I think it would have appeal to young, active Australians.
"It’s on the wish list, but it is still only a concept at the moment."
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