The Toyota Compact Cruiser EV, the small off-roader that captured our hearts in December 2021, won the Car Design Award for the 2022 concept car, prompting Toyota to release more photos, rendering and sketches of the prototype.
The Compact Cruiser EV was one of 15 concept vehicles released simultaneously by Toyota and Lexus in Tokyo, with limited coverage and press material available for each. Fortunately, we now have access to more photos of the concept created by the Toyota Europe Design Development Center (ED2) in Nice, France.
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Toyota designers drew inspiration from the first generation of the Land Cruiser and the company’s off-road tradition, a concept similar to the retro-futuristic FJ Cruiser. The concept sounds like an evolution of the 2017 Toyota F4-X, reminiscent of the new LED headlights J80 and the cleaner line. Features such as large skid plates, squared-off fenders, respectable ground clearance, side-mounted ladders, and bespoke roof racks add to the rough nature of the concept despite its compact footprint.
The life-size prototype shown in the shots is a static clay model that is evidenced by the dark aura of the windows and the fact that no one has been seen driving it since its inception (all available video CGI). Still, Toyota fans can expect a Baby Land Cruiser EV in the future lineup as long as there is a demand for such a car. Potential competitors will include Jeep’s upcoming small SUV and a potential EV successor to the Suzuki Jimny.
Toyota claims that the target audience for the compact cruiser is “young, professional urban dwellers who enjoy active outdoor vacations” pointing to the all-wheel-drive nature of the concept. The company has remained technically flexible but we doubt that a production version of the EVT will be possible, based on the large bZ4x’s eTNGA architecture.
Commenting on the concept, Simon Humphries, senior general manager at Toyota Design, said: “We’ve been researching electric vehicles for over 30 years and we’ve come a long way. After an initial phase of contact with electric vehicles, people will want a zero-emission car that talks about them and reveals their lifestyle. And the compact cruiser EV is a perfect example of that. “
The model was awarded by Auto & Design Magazine as part of the annual Car Design Awards, established in 1984. The award is being presented this year in three categories: Ferrari 296 GTB (production vehicle), Toyota Compact Cruiser (Concept Vehicles) and Polyester (Brand Design Language / Overall Compatibility).
More pictures …