In December 2021, Toyota Motor Company surprised the world by revealing 16 upcoming battery electric vehicles from the Toyota and Lexus brands.
One of them, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, is already on sale, while another, the 2023 Lexus RZ 450e, will follow later this year. One of the most interesting of the slew of EV concepts projected to gradually enter production by the end of the decade was undoubtedly the boxy Compact Cruiser EV.
We didn't get too much information about it at the time, but now we can show you additional photos of the small battery-electric off-roader which recently won the prestigious 2022 Car Design Award in the Concept Cars category organised by Italy's Auto&Design Magazine.
Created by Toyota Europe Design development centre (ED2) in Nice, France, the Compact Cruiser EV is proof that Toyota is very much aware of the emerging trend for lifestyle oriented electric vehicles.
Gallery: Toyota Compact Cruiser EV Concept
"Our research into electric vehicles has been ongoing for more than 30 years, and we've come a long way. After an initial phase of contact with electric vehicles, people will want zero-emission cars that speak about them and express their lifestyle. And the Compact Cruiser EV is a perfect example of that trend."
Toyota Design Senior General Manager Simon Humphries
The Compact Cruiser EV targets young, professional urban dwellers who enjoy active outdoor leisure interests and is designed to enhance the lifestyles of its target customers with "a uniquely engaging, go-anywhere, all-wheel drive EV experience," Toyota says.
The vehicle builds on the brand's strong off-road heritage, boasting a rugged and tough exterior that borrows several styling cues from the legendary first-generation Toyota Land Cruiser. Those include the off-road silhouette and simple, strong body sections, squared wheel arches, retro-styled white wheels on the left-hand side, and more.
The Compact Cruiser EV is clearly modern, though, featuring LED lighting elements, an aggressive front fascia complete with a chunky skid plate, a ladder mounted on the C-pillar, different wheels on the right-hand side, and more. In the renderings provided by Toyota we also get to see the Compact Cruiser EV in different colour combinations and with accessories like a roof rack, auxiliary lights, and branch deflector wires.
Unfortunately, Toyota did not offer any technical specifications of its small off-roader, but we do know it's all-electric and all-wheel drive. The launch date is uncertain too, but we certainly hope Toyota decides to put it into production rather sooner than later.