The Toyota That Tried To Take On Hummer: The Mega Cruiser
This Year Marks The 25th Year Since The Mega Cruiser Was Unveiled To The World, With Intentions Of Taking On The King Of The Road, The Hummer H1.
When it comes to offroading, Hummer is arguably one of the best in the business. When your biggest client is the US Army, it pays to know what you're doing, and Hummer certainly does. But what if you didn't want a Hummer? What if you wanted the reliability of a Toyota, but the offroad power of a Hummer?
Enter the Toyota Mega Cruiser
Aside from the fact that it's name could easily be mistaken for a Imperial Star Destroyer, the Mega Cruiser looks nearly exactly like a Hummer. But under the bodywork, lies a story for the books.
The Mega Cruiser
The Mega Cruiser was unveiled to the public in 1995, with intent of it being used by the Japanese Ground Defence Force. Weighing in at nearly 3 tonnes, this titan of the road was designed as a troop or ammunition carrier, and could carry a 750kg payload. It also had torsion bar suspension - this car meant business. It also had full time 4WD (obviously). Best of all, the engine itself was bulletproof. Under the hood, lay a 4.0L 4Cyl Turbo Diesel Injection engine, which produced a rather feeble 152hp. It was also equipped with a 4 speed, automatic gearbox. An perhaps the most incredible feature of all, it had reverse-phase 4 wheel steering, where the rear wheels are steered in the reverse direction of the front wheels, making for a much smaller turning circle.
Starting at £74,000 in 1994, this car was not exactly cheap in any way, shape or form, and in some ways, the price is slightly questionable, especially when take into account the interior, which although is one of the coolest parts of the car, appears to resemble the biege household appliances of the 1960s.
But Toyota is not about "cheap". They are about "go". They build cars that go, and usually never stop.
The Millitary were able to have their Mega Cruiser configured as a hard top, troop carrier or convertible, whereas the public were limited to the hardtop.
Production lasted 6 years, and only around 3000 were made, with the last car delivered to a civilian in 2002.
I think this car was pretty cool. Although it's reign over the Japanese offroad scene was short lived, it still made a lasting impact on the industry, and sowed the seeds for the Prados, Land Cruisers, and Hiluxes of the coming years.
Although it may not win the prize for best Toyota ever, it most certainly takes the cake for the greatest Toyota name of all time, the Mega Cruiser.
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TOYOTA MEGA CRUISER
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“TOYOTA MEDIA SITE.” Toyota Mega Cruiser, the Daddy of SUVs, Celebrates 25 Years - Toyota UK Media Site, media.toyota.co.uk/2020/06/toyota-mega-cruiser-the-daddy-of-suvs-celebrates-25-years/.