So this happen today. I can’t say I’m overly excited about it. On one hand, I am glad Toyota is at least paying attention to its off-road heritage, but on the other hand I feel like this is a less-than-impressive attempt at doing so.
The quick run-down on these new models is that they have a few special parts that slightly improve off-road driving. Mostly they feature superficial aesthetic modification to the standard models.
Listen Toyota, if you’re going to try and sell trucks and SUVs to people that use them as true utility vehicles, drive them off-road, and so, then build a vehicle that is really designed for that purpose. Don’t just toss a few minor changes on an established vehicle and expect the fan base to come running.
To whom are you even trying to sell these models? People that use these trucks like you show in the promo photos aren’t going to buy them when they can buy an older Land Cruiser and throw-on a few upgrades for a lot less money. (Speaking of the Land Cruiser, WTF?) Soccer moms and others who don’t drive their trucks off-road don’t need these upgrades. So you see, what you’ve done is develop something that is perfectly good for no-one except those that like the idea of having off-road capable utility vehicles, but really don’t plan to use them that way. Now that I think about it, maybe that was your plan all along?
Here’s my advice: You have a great opportunity with waning interest in the FJ Cruiser and your recent announcement to discontinue it. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a true modern-day version of the original FJ40. All you have to do, is do what Jeep has done with the Wrangler; stick with the iconic design. You almost had it with the FJ Cruiser. If you want some specific suggests, here you go:
- Solid front axle
- Removable top
- Minimize the plastic, or at least use high quality plastic
- If it’s not really functional, skip it. (i.e., Stupid side-view mirror lights)
- Two door and four door versions
- Minimalist, utilitarian design
- Call it a Land Cruiser
People will love it. You can do it. I know you can. Hell you are already make a proper modern day 60 series, a.k.a., the 70 series. Seriously, have you seen what FJ40s are selling for these days!? You have to spend as much as you would on a brand new car for one in descent shape. If you want one in excellent shape you are looking at luxury car (2014 Land Cruiser) prices! Icon has a waiting list for their six-figure version of the FJ40. For Pete’s sake, it’s a no-brainer!