Ask Nathan: Toyota MUST Build the Compact Cruiser EV, Honda Passport TrailSport And Hyundai Santa Cruz Bias?

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I think Toyota should build the Compact Cruiser EV right away!
  • Did you finally take the Honda Passport TrailSport off-road?
  • You guys hate the Hyundai Santa Cruz!

The first question was more of a statement that came shortly after we published a video with Toyota EV concepts, including the Compact Cruiser EV.

Q: (via Twitter @NathanAdlen) Please please please tell me that this Toyota Compact Cruiser EV is real!

I need something just like this Compact Cruiser EV for real! Please make it cost less than $40,000 and have a range over 300 miles! I love you Toyota, don’t disappoint me!


A: The future of the Compact Cruiser EV is unknown; however…

Judging by the online fervor generated by the hype over the Compact Cruiser EV, among others, Toyota is definitely taking notice. I’m not exactly positive that Toyota can build one that will agree with your expectations. We have very little information about the little Cruiser. In fact, we have very little information about all of the 17 electric vehicles Toyota showed off recently. You can read about that debut (here).

Now, Toyota does have a new EV drivetrain that is setup for AWD/4WD. Their new bZ4X all-electric crossover has an AWD variant. This setup has a 72.8-kWh battery pack with an output of 215 horsepower. There are two electric motors, one up front, and one in the back. You can read more about the bZ4X (here). We expect this heavier AWD setup will net just under 250 miles range, but official EPA numbers have not been released.

For those of you who didn’t see the reveal: Toyota revealed 17 all electric models that might, or will be entering the global EV market. Some of these vehicles look like concepts, while others look nearly production ready.

(Note*) I wanted to mention something about the below video: it was noted that I was being a jerk about how I pronounced Toyota President Akio Toyoda’s name. Honestly, I was just trying to get the pronunciation correct, as it is different from the company name. No offence was intended.

The Toyota Compact Cruiser EV is the right electric rig for Toyota’s image:

Back to the Toyota Compact Cruiser EV: it looks about the same size as the Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Renegade. If that’s the case, it will compete in one of the most hotly contested segments out there. Toyota just introduced the Corolla Cross in this very same segment. As such, this EV 4×4 could be more off-road-orientated than many in this class.

It certainly looks like a modern version of the Toyota FJ Cruiser. If that’s the case, we suspect it will be no slouch off pavement.

There are no technical or production details available. Fortunately, there were some signs that this could be more than a rolling hunk of fiberglass and dreams. It appears to have a real interior, mirrors and wipers. I know that seems trivial, but these little details are good things. It (often) means that practical components have been fitted for testing.

Believe me, we will keep an eye on this story!

— N

The next question comes from a fan who wants more info on the Honda Passport TrailSport I just tested.

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport Rugged Roads Project – the Regular TrailSport is not as high up, and has different accessories.

Q: Did Nathan post some stuff with the Honda Passport TrailSport off in the dirt?

Bro! I was getting discouraged by all the videos just show stuff on the TrailSport and nothin else. It’s like Honda didn’t think it was up for dirt. So you taking it off road my man? I know that Nate likes the gas pedal a lot! Need you to go full send with it! I buy lots of Hondas and I want one that I can go more places in. Right now I tow my Polaris Sportsman with my lady’s Pilot and its OKAY. Can’t go anywhere in the dirt with that Pilot. Its not up to the job and I got it stuck a lot.

Want to replace my Accord in a year and I think the TrailSport Passport looks kind of cool . But I don’t want some poser that has to be dragged out by a Highlander!

So you did go off road in one right? Tell me how it did please brother!

A: Thanks for the message!

Yes, I recently took the 2022 Honda Passport TrailSport off-road and we are in process of cutting the video and write-up right now. As of this Monday (December 20), we will be able to post driving impressions on the TrailSport. With that in mind, I will not be able to post driving impressions right now.

I can say that Honda took us to the Anza Borrego desert for a full day of off-roading. We mixed the event with driving with their experts, and venturing off by ourselves. On top of that, we drove hundreds of miles on pavement. The video you’ll soon see will showcase the TrailSports’ off-road abilities.

I wish I could tell you more, but the video and detailed write-up will post very soon!

— N

The last question/statement comes from a viewer who was displeased with our coverage of the Hyundai Santa Cruz on a recent video.

(Paraphrased – via: YouTube) Very biased video. Not sure if this is sponsored by Ford or not, seems like it is.

In both paths you took the Santa Cruz on the harder side first and showed it “fail”. Then you took the Maverick on the same path as the take two (easier) path and it worked, just like the Santa Cruz. You never took the Maverick on the same initial path as the Santa Cruz, you always took it on the easier path first. vs Truth the Maverick slipped and stalled a couple of times where the Santa Cruz didn’t.

You blamed momentum but you never lost it, the Maverick got stuck. It sure looked like the Santa Cruz did better even with two spots where you nearly stopped the Santa Cruz.


Both trucks are good, the Maverick probably does better off-road.

The Santa Cruz is not nearly as bad as you are making it out to be. Sure seems like this video is an advertisement for Ford.

— Tony

A: Yet, in other videos, it (the Santa Cruz) does well.

Behind the wheel, we have to make adjustments on the fly, just to make these pickups go up the hill. After several drives off-road in the Santa Cruz, we already knew a few things: the chin is very delicate, and it can easily overheat its dual clutch. If we bang up a hill at the same exact speed and angle as the Maverick, we could destroy the chin. We know this from a previous off pavement test that Tommy did.

(Pssst... In the video below, the Hyundai Santa Cruz did extremely well – but don’t tell anybody!)

We didn’t want to actually overheat the dual clutch transmission, like we did last time. So, when we detected roasting fluid, we had to back off. On top of that, the Santa Cruz was miserable when we tried to various paths. What you saw on camera were the best results of its off-road foray.

I know, it’s easy to pick apart what you’ve seen on video when you’re a fan. Rather than dispute the details, I will make you this promise: we will try again with another Hyundai Santa Cruz. We have a lower trim, non-turbo Santa Cruz coming with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All of us feel that this setup will do much better off-road.

Stay tuned.

— N

Here’s the video in question.