First and foremost, is the Land Hopper actually a thing? As a trademark, yes. But as a series-production vehicle, not quite yet. Previewed on August 2 alongside a seven-seat electric crossover, the Land Cruiser's compact sibling is the size of the Corolla Cross yet not a unibody. Best Car understands that Toyota shrunk the GA-F platform of the 250 and 300 series for this application.
Better described as the indirect successor to the FJ Cruiser, the Land Hopper is lovingly referred to as the Land Cruiser Mini by Land Cruiser enthusiasts. Pictured on the left side of the main photo, the body-on-frame 4x4 will hit Japanese dealer lots in the second half of 2024. If there's a case to be made for it stateside, that would make it a 2025 model.
Touted as the most affordable Land Cruiser of the bunch even though it's purportedly called something else, the Land Hopper is believed to be priced at less than 4 million yen. The cited publication claims around 3 to 3.8 million yen, which means roughly 20k to 25k dollars at current exchange rates.
Unashamedly rugged, the Land Hopper isn't going to impress under the hood. Best Car speculates 1.5 three-cylinder turbo to 2.5 four-cylinder hybrid powertrains for the body-on-frame SUV, with 1.8- and 2.0-liter engines also listed as candidates.
Given the sheer weight of a body-on-frame utility vehicle over a unibody equivalent, chances are Toyota will prioritize low-down torque over anything else. There's also hearsay about a battery-electric version, although Toyota has yet to deliver an electric truck or SUV on the GA-F platform.
Even so, there is a possibility for hybrid oomph. The all-new Tacoma? 2.4-liter turbo hybrid as the top powertrain option. As for the Tundra, make that 3.4 liters, two turbochargers, and six cylinders. Even if the Land Hopper gets the RAV4 Hybrid's 2.5-liter hybrid, 219 horsepower and 252 pound-feet (342 Nm) should be good enough for a compact SUV.
As a brief refresher, the mid-size FJ Cruiser sported a 4.0-liter V6 with either a six-speed manual or a five-speed auto. Codenamed 1GR-FE, said engine makes 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet (367 Nm).