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Cheap, tough, epic: Toyota LandCruiser FJ will change the off-road game in Australia

The future Toyota LandCruiser FJ could well look like this. (Image credit: TopGear Phillipines)

When it comes to bite-sized 4WD options, your choices are the Suzuki Jimny and... well, not much.

But that seems like it could all be about to change, with a new Toyota trademark filing suggesting the long-touted "Mini LandCruiser" – to sit below the 300 Series, 70 Series and Prado – will be badged the LandCruiser FJ, harking back to the iconic FJ Cruiser, which disappeared from our shores back in 2016.

But the badge looks set for a comeback, according to Japanese media, and first identified by the LandCruiser Forum, with Toyota lodging a trademark application for the LandCruiser FJ.

And now TopGear Phillipines has rendered Toyota's incoming off-roader, marrying design cues from the original FJ Cruiser with the elements of the Prado and 300 Series to create a 4WD that looks the absolute business.

Toyota foreshadowed the LandCruiser FJ when unveiling the updated 70 Series, suggesting the model name would be getting "more in reach".

“Our customers trust in us to keep LandCruiser relevant and thriving toward the future. This could mean anything from carbon neutral approaches to ensuring that the LandCruiser brand is more affordable, and within reach of even more people around the world," the Japanese giant’s Chief Branding Officer, Simon Humphries, told media.

“Or it may even mean exploring new approaches to mobility that enhance not only the LandCruiser experience, but also further people's freedom in motion. Suffice it to say, there are lots of exciting paths to changing the future of cars."

Toyota has also reportedly registered the name "Land Hopper", suggesting the LandCruiser Mini might be getting a Japan-specific moniker, while international markets get the more familiar FJ tag.

It’s thought the new off-roader will ride on a ladder-frame off-road platform, but that its dimensions will largely mirror the Toyota Corolla Cross, which stretches 4460mm in length and 1825mm in width. For reference, the new Prado is 4925mm long and 1980mm wide, making it very much the little sibling of the LC family.

That would also make it longer and wider than the three-door Suzuki Jimny (3480mm and 1645mm), and longer even than the 3985mm five-door Jimny, too.

According to reports, diesel is off the table, with the model to launch with the Corolla Cross’s petrol-hybrid engine family, with top-spec models to possibly borrow from the RAV4 Hybrid family to unlock more power. Eventually, though, it will be fully electrified.

The new model is expected to be on sale in 2024.