At press time, Toyota still makes the old 70 series. It received extensive upgrades in August 2023 for the 2024 model year. Available in pickup truck flavor as well, the 70 series received the 1GD-FTV turbo diesel four-cylinder lump of the Hilux in combination with a six-speed automatic tranny.
As you're well aware, the 250 for the US market flaunts a four-cylinder turbo gasser hybrid powertrain exclusively. The all-new Tacoma mid-size pickup is available with or without hybrid assistance. According to Best Car, the Land Cruiser Mini – or whatever it will be called – will boast powertrain options as small as a 1.5L naturally-aspirated hybrid.
That's clearly too small of a displacement for a body-on-frame sport utility vehicle. To whom it may concern, the Yaris Hybrid packs the aforementioned 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain. Also sold as the Mazda2 Hybrid in Europe, said fuel-sipping hatchback belts out 114 horsepower and 125 pound-feet (169 Nm) at full chatter. Driving the front wheels, the electric motor is rated at 79 horsepower. As for the engine, which is dubbed M15A-FXE, that'd be 91 ponies.
If Toyota intends to steal the Escape-based Ford Bronco Sport's thunder, it needs a bigger punch for the yet-unconfirmed Land Cruiser Mini. One potential candidate would be the 2.0-liter hybrid setup of the all-new Prius, which is good for 196 horsepower (FWD) or 194 horsepower (AWD).
The free-breathing I4 and the Hybrid Synergy Drive system of the Prius would be a great combo against the Bronco Sport's three-cylinder turbo mill. Ford's crossover offers 181 hp and 190 lb-ft (258 Nm). We also have to remember the Jeep Compass Trailhawk, which comes exclusively with a 2.0-liter turbo.
The Land Cruiser Mini would be a unique proposition in the compact segment due to its body-on-frame construction. Slotting above the likes of the Suzuki Jimny Sierra (a.k.a. global version) and below the 250 series (a.k.a. Land Cruiser Prado), the new 'Yota is reportedly similar in footprint to the Corolla Cross. It's also believed to sport a full-size spare wheel out back, although it remains to be seen if Toyota has gifted it with a liftgate or a tailgate.
On that note, pixel artist Halo oto has already produced a rendering of the Land Cruiser Mini. Obviously inspired by the Compact Cruiser EV concept from June 2022 and the FT-4X from earlier, the design study isn't just wishful thinking. During the world premiere of the 250 series, Toyota further previewed a more compact sibling for the Prado.
You can admire the shadowy silhouette of the yet-unreleased utility vehicle at the 18:38 timestamp of the second video below. The guy on the stage is Toyota head of design Simon Humphries, who says at one point: "This future [of the Land Cruiser] could mean anything from carbon-neutral approaches to ensuring the Land Cruiser brand is more affordable and within reach of even more people around the world."
Wink wink, nudge nudge?