Toyota is considering a new small SUV that’s a dedicated off-roader similar to the Jeep Wrangler. At least that’s the word from Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz, who was interviewed on the sidelines of the Detroit Auto Show by Motor Trend.
“Everyone moved out of that segment because of truck CAFE ratings. But we’re getting a lot of requests from folks who want another FJ or some variant,” Lentz told Motor Trend. He stopped short of stating out-right that the company would produce a new FJ variant, but his quote says quite a lot about Toyota managements’ thinking around the possibility.
It isn’t just lip service either. Toyota displayed the FT-4X Concept at last year’s New York Auto Show and then the similar FT-AC Concept a few months ago in Los Angeles. Both concepts were SUV’s destined for adventure and off-roading, though it was the assumption of most in the industry that these concepts were mere design studies to foreshadow the next RAV4 and 4Runner.
Apparently those concepts were foreshadowing something else.
Lentz went on to say in the interview that everyone has to crunch CAFE numbers in order to determine if such a product is feasible. So for now it sounds like a new SUV has not been given the full green light at Toyota, but it may very well be close to it.
It’s anyone’s guess as to when such a product could arrive to market.