The now-departed Toyota FJ Cruiser was the perfect combination of rugged purposefulness and nostalgic appeal, and it now looks like that modern-day tribute to the original FJ-series LandCruiser could be in line for a reboot of its own.
Two weeks out from its global debut at the New York Auto Show, Toyota has released the first teaser image of what it calls the FT-4X concept. It doesn’t show terribly much – just a chunky alloy wheel wrapped in Goodyear rubber sporting an equally-blocky tread pattern – but the styling language screams “off-roader”.
And so does the name. The ‘FT’ prefix is a well-established part of Toyota’s concept nomenclature, and simply stands for “Future Toyota”. What comes after it is usually a clue about the concept’s intent (the FT-86 foretold the arrival of the Toyota 86 coupe, for example), and ‘4x’ is a strong hint that this concept will be a four-by-four.
There’s also a glimpse of prominent black plastic arches, another offroader hallmark. That said, there’s the suggestion of curvier body styling and low-hanging bumpers here as well, and that doesn’t quite mesh with the theory that this is a successor to the FJ Cruiser, a car that was famous for its upright form and offroad-optimised design as much as its retro styling.
Pitched as Toyota’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler, the FJ Cruiser was built atop Prado-based underpinnings with a beefy dual-range driveline hooked up to a 200kW 4.0L petrol V6 and five-speed automatic. It didn’t push technological boundaries, but with an electronic rear differential lock and off-road tuned traction control it had genuine go-anywhere capabilities.
Production of the FJ Cruiser ended in August 2016.
Will the FT-4X concept follow in the FJ Cruiser’s tyre tracks, or is it a precursor of something entirely different? Whatever the case, Toyota reckons it’ll be “scene stealing”. We’ll find out at New York.