Toyota’s iconic FJ nameplate could return once more, with overseas reports claiming the Japanese car giant is eyeing a new small SUV to join its growing model range.

    Autocar India reports the model is likely to be called either the Toyota FJ Cruiser or LandCruiser FJ, though it will be slightly smaller in size than the existing Fortuner SUV.

    According to the publication, the new model will likely be based on the recently revealed Toyota HiLux Champ ute, a South-East Asian market model which uses a number of parts from the larger HiLux but in a smaller package.

    Produced in Thailand, the Toyota HiLux Champ is powered by the same range of turbo-diesel and naturally aspirated petrol four-cylinder engines as the full-size HiLux, but with a minimalist interior and customisable exterior.

    The publication has previously reported an SUV based on the HiLux Champ’s prototype, the IMV 0, had been hinted at by Toyota.

    “That is a different project and we are cooking something right now,” Toyota Motor Asia Pacific (TMAP) president told Autocar India in October 2023.

    Toyota also previewed a small SUV (below) which could join the LandCruiser family at last year’s reveal of the new Prado, first thought to be a production version of the Compact Cruiser concept.

    While the Compact Cruiser was an electric concept car, its front end design is quite similar to the HiLux Champ, which has also been reported to gain a battery-powered variant in the future.

    Though the Toyota HiLux Champ is not likely to be sold in Australia, a recent trademark filing hints a revived FJ-branded SUV could be on the cards.

    Toyota Australia filed to trademark the ‘Land Cruiser FJ’ name last month.

    The FJ name first appeared in 1951 on the Toyota Jeep FJ, the brand’s own take on the Willys Jeep for military use – later being used across the heavy duty LandCruiser range until 1984.

    We’ve also seen the FJ Cruiser name on a standalone model, produced between 2006 and 2023 as a retro-styled off-roader based on LandCruiser Prado underpinnings.

    While the Toyota FJ Cruiser wasn’t a smash hit when it was sold in Australia between 2011 and 2017 – selling just 12,170 examples – it has since become a cult classic, with used examples retaining their value due its strong off-road credentials.

    Its retro styling was also arguably ahead of its time, with the upcoming 250 Series LandCruiser Prado adopting a boxy design akin to models of old.

    Last year, Toyota sold 20,701 LandCruiser Prados in Australia but only 3619 examples of the HiLux-based Fortuner – the latter of which was outsold by all of the brand’s other SUVs.

    MORE: Everything Toyota

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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