Pictures of a shrunken Toyota Land Cruiser 300-series have surfaced in China. The actual Land Cruiser 300, which Toyota deprives us of in the US to feed us the Lexus LX 600 instead, is a worldwide hit. Waiting lists can extend up to four years in some areas. If you can’t wait to get your hands on one, maybe the little one can get you going.
Viewed by Pocket Cruiser Carscoops on the social media site Weibo, where it was posted without any additional information. However, the triple chrome bar, U-shaped grille and headlights are decidedly 300-series Land Cruiser. The similarities extend to the rear where the diagonal cut taillights and rear graphic mimic those on the actual cruiser. While the elements are there, the proportions are all off, giving the impression of a Land Cruiser full of raisins.
Even the name, Kuluze, is a literal English translation of the Chinese characters for “cruiser”. Mandarin translations of English names usually try to use existing Chinese characters that sound phonetically as close as possible, but sometimes those words have no meaning when strung together. In those cases, approximations that seem close enough but make better sense are used instead. In the case of cruisers it literally means “cool road”. Kuluze is like Google Translate converting something to another language, English, then copying and pasting the result back into Google Translate and converting it back to English.
Even the commenters on Weibo seem quite happy about the car. Some are calling it “Beijing Grandpa’s Car”, while others joke about it being a kindergarten drop-off vehicle. These are pointers to the fact that the Kuluz is likely a lightweight electric vehicle that bears little resemblance to a golf cart. They usually cost less than $1000, have a top speed of less than 30 mph, and have a range of about 30 miles. They do not require the same licensing regulations as cars, and are often used by the elderly to help them get around town and drop off grandchildren at school.
In that vein, it appears that the articles ridiculing the Kuluze as a shameless copycat of the Land Cruiser are a little off. No one would mistake this for a serious 4×4 that has traversed every continent. Think of it more as a tribute, like one of those golf carts that look like a Hummer or an Escalade, and which can cost up to $12,000. If the grandparents are going to blitz around town on the cheap, why not let them do it with some pizza?