Trucks & SUVs

Toyota’s Coming “Trailhunter” Takes Aim At Jeep and Bronco

Toyota is known the world over for building off-road capable trucks and SUVs. But it has never competed directly with any Jeep models. But as we’ve seen with the Ford Bronco there is a lucrative market out there for Jeep rivals. Now it looks like Toyota is going for it. Its new “Trailhunter” takes aim at Jeep and Bronco. 

Last week Toyota filed for the trademark for “Trailhunter”

Toyota FJ Cruiser off-roader
The 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4×4 SUV | Getty

In recent times Toyota’s FJ  Cruiser has been the closest Toyota has come to offer a rival product to compete with the Wrangler. But last week it filed for the trademark for “Trailhunter.” Besides it being a cool name it represents a direct swing at Jeep. Carbuzz was the first to report this.

While little can be found in the filing itself to give clues it does say it is “intended to cover the category of automobiles and structural parts thereof.” Not every auto manufacturer is capable of just jumping into a segment and expecting to do well, but Toyota can and will. If the Trailhunter is a body-on-frame SUV the size of a Bronco or Wrangler, it will do well. 

With Toyota finalizing its TNGA-F architecture for Tacoma, Tundra, Sequoia, and 4Runner, it already has a new platform to pull off an all-new FJ Cruiser-like off-roader. But if this is off-road capable then it isn’t a “cruiser.” As a Trailhunter, it sounds mean and aggressive. 

The FJ Cruiser was a home run hit for Toyota

Toyota FJ Cruiser
A Toyota FJ Cruiser climbs an incline during a demonstration for the media | Getty

RELATED: Toyota Needs to Bring Back the FJ Cruiser

Not to diss the FJ Cruiser. It was a home run hit for Toyota. The FJ Cruiser still sells on the used car market for top dollar. That in itself shows it is still popular. 

It was in production from 2010 to 2017, and fans hoped there would be a successor. Maybe the Trailhunter is that successor? One reason for the FJ’s success was its concept-like styling, but also because of its body-on-frame ruggedness. This was no unibody crossover but a genuine off-road-type vehicle. 

But the styling did create large blind spots, and rear seating was difficult to access. Toyota addressed the access issue in 2011 with different hinges for the front seats which helped. Cargo capacity was also considered small for the size of the FJ Cruiser. 

Toyota’s FJ Cruiser was a sales hit of over 56,000 units in 2006

1967 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45 Longbed Pickup b & W image
Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45 Longbed Pickup | Getty

From a sales hit of over 56,000 units in 2006, the FJ fell over fairly rapidly to 12,000 units by 2009. Though it saw better sales in subsequent years it never matched the high it achieved in 2006. The FJ ended selling almost 15,000 units in its last year of 2014. 

With Toyota’s off-road history like the FJ and also the Land Cruiser it has enthusiast cred. As a company, it can’t help but notice the hype surrounding vehicles like the Ford Bronco and recent Jeep Gladiator. That in itself helps buoy the entire company let alone the brand. Maybe an all-electric Trailhunter is the next big off-road hit from Toyota?