Home » The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Is $30,000 Cheaper Than The Old One And Looks Awesome

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Is $30,000 Cheaper Than The Old One And Looks Awesome

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The Toyota Land Cruiser brand is massively valuable, so when the vehicle left the U.S. market after 2021, you knew it would return. But you didn’t know it would come back like this: smaller, hybrid-powered, significantly cheaper, and with a totally different look. Here’s a first look at the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Maybe we should put “Land Cruiser” in quotes, because though this new machine bears that legendary name, this new hybrid-powered body-on-frame SUV is only tangentially related to the vehicle line that we’ve come to know here in the United States. Some may be worried that this is a “lite” version of the 300 Series Land Cruiser offered elsewhere; I’ll get into that later, but let’s first show off this new machine:

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The Boxiness We All Crave

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Appearance is where it all starts, and on the surface the new machine — which is 1.2 inches shorter than its predecessor — appears to be a Land Cruiser enthusiast’s dream. The styling of the new Land Cruiser is blocky and rugged, and seems to draw much of its inspiration from both the 60 and 80 Series. The windshield is rectangular, the A-pillars hit the roofline at a hard 45-degree angle, and the roof is virtually flat.

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Two different headlight designs are available, one with a circular LED array, and the other a rectangular. This seems to call back to the early 60 Series model, which had circular lights, and the facelifted version (which became the 62 Series) that ditched the circles for rectangles.

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Around back, the blockiness continues, though in this case, the gently rounded rear haunches and vertically-oriented taillights seem to take inspiration from the 80 Series.

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Inside, the rugged-retro cues continue, with charming circular HVAC vents juxtaposed against modern switchgear and Toyota’s new infotainment system, which debuted on the third-generation Tundra.

A Regular Rear Liftgate

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My favorite feature of my Land Cruisers is the split rear tailgate. I’ve used it as everything — a bench for hanging out with friends after a hike, a workstation to open up a map on or for patching punctured sleeping pads, a kitchen counter while camping, even as a platform for standing on to access stuff on the roof. Just this past weekend I spent an hour sitting on it with my dog while we camped at 10,500 ft.

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Photo: Chris O’Neill

Timber and I won’t be able to do this in the new Land Cruiser though because it only comes with a standard single-piece top-hinged rear hatch. This is also a departure from the previous-generation Prado and GX, which had a side-hinged rear hatch. While the side-hinged hatch allowed for the installation of a fold out table for use in the field, it was heavy and usually inconvenient to use, so it’s unlikely it’ll be missed by many. Worth noting: The glass on this new Land Cruiser can still be opened independently from the rest of the gate, just like in previous generations of the Prado and GX.

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However, the tailgate is a major loss that I don’t think I’ll ever get over. If only Toyota understood its glory, maybe it would’ve worked this into the new design. Alas, we’ll never know, as the new Land Cruiser gets notably more boring in this area. [Editor’s Note: This was probably a cost-save, if I had to guess. Worth it for the lower price, in my opinion. -DT].

Trim Level Simplicity

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The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser will be offered in two core trim levels: Land Cruiser 1958 and Land Cruiser. The easiest way to tell the main two trims apart will be by the headlights — the entry-level 1958 gets the aforementioned round headlights, while the standard Land Cruiser gets the rectangular units.

There will also be a 5,000-unit run of a special First Edition that’ll combine elements of both trims, plus some bolt-on off-road accessories to make a fully-loaded trail-ready rig. Details on the First Edition are a little scarce at launch. (It oddly flips things back to round headlights).

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Outside of off-road bits, which we’ll get to momentarily, additions to non-1958 models include a larger 12.3-inch infotainment screen to the 1958’s eight-inch unit, a sound system with 10 speakers (four more than the 1958), and heated and ventilated power seats wrapped in simulated leather. A Premium package, available on either model, adds some nice-to-haves like a sunroof, heated and ventilated seats with real leather, additional speakers, a digital rearview mirror, and more.

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Perhaps a consolation for those disappointed by the perceived “watering down” of this icon (again, it’s the same as the Prado sold elsewhere, and the Prado is traditionally considered a light-duty Land Cruiser), this will be the first Land Cruiser-branded vehicle to be sold new in the U.S. that can be had with neither leather seats nor a sunroof since a handful of “poverty pack” 100 Series models that slipped in for the 1999 model year. Here’s at least one area where the new Land Cruiser plays to its most ardent fans.

A Rear Locker For Everyone

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For when the pavement ends, the new Land Cruiser comes standard with a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and driver-selectable low range — a familiar layout from past iterations of both the full-size and Prado models. Up front is new double-wishbone suspension with twin-tube shocks, while at the rear is a coil-sprung multi-link solid axle design.

In a boon for off-roaders, the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser comes standard with a driver-selectable locking rear differential. Outside of the $141,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, I can’t think of any other new vehicle on sale today that doesn’t make you pay extra (or choose a higher-than-base trim) for the rear locker. Beyond that, Toyota’s Crawl Control — a low-speed off-road cruise control — comes standard as well.

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Stepping up to the Land Cruiser (non-1958) trim adds a disconnecting front stabilizer bar first introduced on the new Tacoma, Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select terrain management system (this is the first time MTS has been offered separately from Crawl Control), a surround-view camera system, larger tires, and (perhaps gimmicky) Rigid-branded color-selectable LED fog lights.

Overall length comes in at 193.7 inches. The wheelbase measures 112.2 inches, which is the same as the 300 Series, which Toyota was quick to point out also happens to be the same as the 80 Series. Approach, departure, and breakover angles come in at 31.0, 25.0, and 22.0 degrees, respectively, numbers that are identical to the outgoing, never-sold-in-North-America Land Cruiser Prado. For the sake of comparison, the 200 Series came in at 34.0, 24.0, and 21.0 degrees.

Hybrid Turbocharged Power

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Under the hood of every new Land Cruiser is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is the same hybrid powertrain that will be optional in the new Tacoma. Output is a healthy 326 combined horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy will be announced at a later date

[UPDATE: Toyota’s website estimates 27 MPG combined!: 

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That seems… high. We’ve reached out to Toyota for confirmation. -DT].

While this mill should be more efficient than truck engines of yesteryear, don’t expect Prius or RAV4 Hybrid degrees of efficiency. If economy for the new Sequoia and Tundra i-Force Max hybrid models is any indicator, this hybrid system is likely better at offering supplemental power than it is at minimizing fuel consumption.

Some may question the new Land Cruiser’s relatively complicated powertrain (the verdict is still out on this powertrain’s durability), but at least Toyota is offering it with a 2.4-kW inverter that will allow owners to tap into the on-board 1.87-kWh nickel-metal hydride battery for use as an auxiliary power source in the field.

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser offers 6,000lbs of towing capacity and comes standard with a trailer hitch. Worth noting here: Unlike on the Defender, Wrangler, and Bronco with their rear rear-mounted spare tires, you shouldn’t need any kind of extender to use hitch-mounted accessories like a bike rack with the new Land Cruiser.

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People May Actually Be Able To Afford This One

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Unlike the old 200 Series, which at the time of its discontinuation had an MSRP just shy of $90,000, the new Land Cruiser will start at around $55,000, according to Toyota. Given the simplicity of the trim level hierarchy, expect a fully-loaded example to fall in the mid-high $60,000 range, though this is just speculation at this point. Again, as this new model isn’t a direct descendant of the old 200 Series — you aren’t likely to see these outfitted to handle IEDs — but the lower price point seems appropriate. Great, even.

What the New Land Cruiser Actually Is

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Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page on what this vehicle is. There are three different product lines within the global Toyota Land Cruiser family. The one we’re most familiar with here in the U.S. is the full-size “wagon” model, the current generation of which is known as the 300 Series:

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(The previous generation of the full-size model, the 200 Series, was the last Land Cruiser to be sold in the United States. My 2008 model is shown below, but they continued on until 2021):

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Here’s my 2008 200 Series after my partner and I drove it 1,600 miles one-way to southern Baja. (Photo: Chris O’Neill)

Also still for sale the 70 Series, a primitive but durable-as-all-hell workhorse that’s been sold largely unchanged for decades and in a number of different fun bodystyle configurations:

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Then finally, there’s the Land Cruiser Prado. Call it the Land Cruiser Lite if you will, but suffice to say it’s a smaller, lower-priced, consumer-grade model similar in function to the 4Runner. You aren’t likely to see Prado models used by intergovernmental organizations like you do the full-size Land Cruiser and 70 Series:

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While the two previous generations of the Prado have been sold North America as the Lexus GX, the vehicle has never actually been sold here as a Toyota. That is, until now.

With a new TNGA-F-based Land Cruiser Prado on the way for the global market, the Toyota mothership has chosen to sell the vehicle here both as the new third-generation Lexus GX and, for the first time, as a Toyota. And without a 300 Series here to confuse people (the 300 Series will only be sold in other markets), Toyota has chosen to drop the “Prado” suffix and market what is known internationally as the Land Cruiser Prado simply as the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser (no Prado). Add some heritage-inspired styling and shoot a bunch of reveal photos in the rod rock deserts of Southern Utah and boom — Toyota has what looks to be a money-printing hit on its hands.

As someone who both owns a 200 Series and has spent time working in the product planning department as an OEM, I’m a little unsettled by this choice to sell the “lightweight” Land Cruiser here as if it’s the real thing. Because by definition, the Land Cruiser Prado isn’t built for the same use case as the full-size Land Cruiser. It may be reliable, but it probably isn’t as reliable as the big boy, given that the big boy is designed to handle insane abuse, because that’s what it’s used for. [Editor’s Note: The “real thing” 300 Series is built on the same TNGA-F platform as the GX and this new Land Cruiser (known as the Prado elsewhere), so maybe this thing will be as tough as the “real deal”? We just don’t know. -DT]. 

Marketing frustrations aside, whatever you want to call this new body-on-frame Toyota SUV, it looks like the perfect 4×4 SUV for a whole lot of people and at a price point they can afford.

What Happens To The 4Runner?

I ask this question because it’s kind of a mystery that every Toyota SUV fan is wondering about. In fact, Land Cruiser diehard and off-road expert Patrick Rich wants me to add this note:

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Toyota sold nearly 10 4Runners for every Land Cruiser sold over the last generation, so I sure hope they know what they are doing stepping so heavily on the 4Runners toes.  This is basically the 4Runner, but…not.

Despite it coming in at a higher price point than a traditional 4Runner, there’s still a lot of functional overlap between this new “Land Cruiser” and the 4Runner model. Rumor has it that the next 4Runner has been delayed until 2026 or so. Regardless, the sixth-gen 4Runner has to somehow differentiate itself from the new Land Cruiser here. My money is on the next 4Runner gaining some degree of configurability, perhaps a removable roof, which would harken back to the original 4Runner. It could be a Jeep Wrangler competitor, with the new Land Cruiser here acting as a more refined, grand tourer of sorts, a la Grand Cherokee.

The Verdict
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Is it a Land Cruiser in name only? If you ask me, yeah. Though I am skeptical in some ways about whether I should look at this new Land Cruiser as a “Land Cruiser Lite,” as most people look at the Prado, which this vehicle will be named in other markets. We don’t know exactly where Toyota pulled cost to get this new Land Cruiser’s MSRP so low; as long as it’s not in areas that affect durability/longevity, I’m happy.

The new Land Cruiser looks like a well-equipped, do-everything, smaller adventure rig that should still perform well in rough terrain, all while offering above-average reliability and holding its value pretty well, even if it isn’t as rare or unique or special as the full-size model we’re used to. Will I sell my 200 Series to buy one? No. But am I currently doing the math in my head to figure out how I can afford to park one next to my 200 Series? Yeah, I am.

 

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Anthony Magagnoli
Anthony Magagnoli
8 months ago

Outside of the $141,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, I can’t think of any other new vehicle on sale today that doesn’t make you pay extra (or choose a higher-than-base trim) for the rear locker.”
If you don’t consider the F-150 Lightning “higher-than-base trim”, then that might be one. They all come with a rear locker as standard.
It’s not standard on the most base ICE trucks, but available at all trim levels, standard on FX4, Tremor, and Raptor.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
8 months ago

Well I like it, and if it actually get 27 mpg, that be amazing.

Too bad I’d probably want a First Edition and I’m sure dealers will ruin the excitement of that. I’m not spending $80k on a $60k truck.

Cyko9
Cyko9
8 months ago

I’m seeing a lot of people bemoan the turbo 4, but I’ve met Wrangler owners who really like the pep of theirs. And while the hybrid might not help mileage much, it’s the cautious way of large vehicles into the future. Unlike a lot of overstyled Toyotas, this has a simple but modern look. I’m glad they didn’t make the new Land Cruiser to compete with luxury overlanders (Wagoneer, Land Rover), but I don’t know if that means the 4Runner gets even bigger or what they’ll do with it.

Preston Tiegs
Preston Tiegs
8 months ago
Reply to  Cyko9

It was in a much smaller car, but I loved the 2.0 turbo in my 2 door Wrangler. No idea how long-term reliability is, but I enjoyed driving it.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
8 months ago

Side view looks properly butch. No feminized curviness to be found. The rear looks like a lot of thought went into it instead of the usual approach in the Japanese car industry of just throw things at the back and see what sticks. (literally)

Harrnack
Harrnack
8 months ago

Has any other vehicle in recent memory been available with both a square and round headlights simultaneously? Seems like it has happened before, but I can’t think of any atm.

Maymar
Maymar
8 months ago
Reply to  Harrnack

Doesn’t quite count, but the Jag XJ40 could either be had with rectangular headlights or twin round sealed beams (likewise, the XJS could either be had with the lozenge headlights or twin rounds).

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
8 months ago

I’m here for the white roof/red body and round headlights. I wonder if they will have red?

DadBod
DadBod
8 months ago
Reply to  Nick Fortes

Red and White two tone would crush it

Dan Parker
Dan Parker
8 months ago

I’ve been daydreaming about replacing my ’03 4runner for a while now so I’m definitely interested in this. The performance and feature set is spot on, it isn’t completely hideous, and I can almost stomach the price…

James Wallace
James Wallace
8 months ago

I can only hope they finally made a transmission that does not grenade 3rd gear when you have low engaged. It would also be all so nice if the brake calipers didn’t fall off anymore.

Snowsenses
Snowsenses
8 months ago

It just looks so good, makes me wish I could move back to Durango and get one of these and spend half my time exploring old mining roads in the San Juans

DadBod
DadBod
8 months ago
Reply to  Snowsenses

you’ll have to put a tennis ball on the antenna to find it at a trailhead full of identical LCs

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
8 months ago

Jeep is screwed.

Isis
Isis
8 months ago

Pretty sure the Raptor comes with a rear locker as standard.

Drew
Drew
8 months ago
Reply to  Isis

I believe that is covered by “(or choose a higher-than-base trim)” in the article.

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