Home » The New Toyota Land Cruiser Doesn’t Feel As Special Anymore. Here’s Why I Still Want One

The New Toyota Land Cruiser Doesn’t Feel As Special Anymore. Here’s Why I Still Want One

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The Toyota Land Cruiser has for the longest time been a one-of-a kind off-roader unlike anything else in the Toyota Portfolio. For decades, it has offered a bank vault-like cabin filled with luxury, all atop a chassis designed to withstand anything short of a direct hit from a nuclear bomb. The new Toyota Land Cruiser, though, is different; its platform is no longer unique in the U.S. market, and is instead shared with the new Toyota 4runner, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Sequoia, and Lexus GX. So does the new top-dog Toyota SUV feel as special as the outgoing one? The answer is no, but it’s still thoroughly compelling as an SUV.

Whether the new Toyota Land Cruiser is a “Real Land Cruiser” is a highly contentious topic, because the Land Cruiser name means a lot of things to different people in different markets. For those used to the Land Cruiser “Prado” — the cheaper Land Cruiser offered overseas, the new vehicle feels as legit as anything. But in the U.S., where we’re used to the Land Cruiser 200 Series and 100 Series before that and 80 Series before that, it feels a bit different — unless you think of it as a replacement to the Lexus GX (which was built on the Prado platform sold overseas), in which case it feels fitting.

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[Full Disclosure: Toyota flew me from a wedding in Vancouver to LA, where I hopped into my girlfriend’s Lexus RX350 and drove to Catalina Island, where Toyota put me up for a night and fed me food that I’d never spend my own money on. Not because it was bad, but because it was delicious, and therefore expensive. I’m cheap, which is why I let Toyota pay for all the gas I used driving the new Land Cruiser. -DT]. 

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Image: Jonathan Harper

People are passionate about this discussion. Just read this comment from Autopian commenter “I drive a boring SUV”:

I don’t see what all the fuss is about with this not being a “real” Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser range has been split in three branches for over 30 years – the original 40 series got replaced by the 70 series before the 90s and Toyota decided to have a lighter duty version of it which it called the Prado in some markets. In 1990 they introduced the [80] series as a top-of-the range kind-of-japanese-range-rover vehicle. By the late 90s, the Prado had been replaced by a standalone model rather than a version of the 70 series and thus the 3-car range of Land Cruisers was born that has lasted to this day.

You’re getting (just as we are in Europe) the new middle-of-the-range Land Cruiser. The 300 series is not sold here either, only in Gibraltar, Moldova, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Toyota has decided the target market for the 300 are oligarchs, arms traffickers, drug lords and Arab sheiks, Americans and Europeans are now too poor for it.

As for the 4Runner, the fact that it is still sold in the US is an anomaly in Toyota’s product strategy. It is, like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (or Shogun or Challenger), a way for Toyota and Mitsu to put a midsize SUV on the market for as low a cost as possible, just slap an SUV body onto a crude pickup truck chasis (Hilux/L200) and sell it in developing markets. In the US and Europe it conflicts with the Prado so it was never sold here past its second generation, and you can bet it will disappear in the US soon if Toyota thinks they can sell this new Land Cruiser in its place at a higher price.

So that’s what every reviewer at last week’s Toyotathon had to face: How do you review this Land Cruiser? Do you review it in the context of the Land Cruisers that recently came before it or do you review it simply as a new mid-size off-road SUV available in the U.S. market? I did both.

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What Is The New Land Cruiser?

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A few years ago, Toyota found itself facing a dilemma. “Is there a place for body-on-frame vehicles” in the face of increasingly stringent emissions requirements? It was, as Toyota Tacoma chief engineer Sheldon Brown put it to me during an interview, “an existential crisis [for] the company” as pressure mounted to meet global Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements (CAFE, as it’s called stateside). “We had to make sure we [developed our body-on-frame vehicles] in a way that was smart,” he told me, with a focus on minimizing total investment, which the company may need for electrification during these rather uncertain times. “If we’re going to make this work, we need to make this as efficient as possible,” he told me about Toyota’s body-on-frame strategy.

The result was the TNGA-F platform, which now underpins the five Toyotas you see above — the Sequoia, Tacoma, 4Runner, Tundra, and Land Cruiser, as well as the Lexus GX — and which, among other things, leverages Tailor Welded Blanking to allow a single frame to function for a multitude of use-cases without adding too much unnecessary weight. (You can read more about that here; it involves welding in thicker/stronger pieces of steel in localized parts of the frame as needed).

“Every time we redid a platform, you really need to look at the life of that platform,” he said, noting how long the last-gen vehicles stuck around (the 4Runner, Tundra, and Sequoia were around for ~15 years, and the Taco was around since 2016 but those bones were fairly old). Those platform investments clearly paid off, but these days, it’s unclear what political or technical changes might necessitate a shift towards EVs, and so to mitigate risk, Toyota built One Platform To Rule Them All.

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It’s a steel body-on-frame platform with a coil-sprung double-wishbone independent front suspension and coil-sprung (leaf sprung, in the base Tacoma’s rear suspension) five-link solid rear axle. The two pictures directly above show the Tacoma TRD Pro’s frame, but the Land Cruiser’s is similar — same frame pitch (width), same front and rear suspension design, same powertrain, and on and on.

Here’s a look at the Land Cruiser’s front suspension:

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And here’s the rear five-link:

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As for the engine, it’s the same 2.4-liter turbocharged hybrid engine offered in the Tacoma and upcoming 4Runner; it makes 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, and sends that through an eight-speed automatic transmission. (The hybrid system’s electric motor is wedged between the engine and transmission).

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So with the same powertrain as the 4Runner, the same basic frame setup, and the same suspension, what’s the point of the new Land Cruiser compared to the 4Runner?

“There is some brand loyalty,” the Tacoma’s chief engineer Sheldon Brown told me, saying folks love the Land Cruiser brand. Plus, the mid-size segment is huge, with another Toyota rep saying there’s plenty of room for two offerings and that the company “[doesn’t] see cannibalization, per se.”

The Land Cruiser is meant to be more refined, offering unique styling to a different, perhaps older customer than the 4Runner. And for the most part, I get that. Except, then I got into the 1958 model.

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Why I Would Avoid The Cheapest Toyota Land Cruiser Even Though It Looks Better

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When the Toyota Land Cruiser’s pricing came out in February, I wrote the article “The New Toyota Land Cruiser Starts At $57,345. Here’s How I’d Option Mine,” and I found myself in a dilemma. You see, I am a cheap bastard; I absolutely thought I’d want the round-headlight base-model “1958” trim shown on the right in the photo above. So I wrote that the Land Cruiser for me was the standard 1958:

Still, I’m not spending $63,000 (this includes the $1350 fee on top of the MSRP) on what I’m not yet convinced is that much more than a Toyota 4Runner in disguise (even $57,000 is going to take a little convincing), so I’m going with the base model, which like all Land Cruisers, gets a 326 horsepower, 465 lb-ft i-FORCE MAX hybrid turbo four-cylinder powertrain mated to an eight-speed auto hooked to a full-time four-wheel drive transfer case with a locking center and rear diff. And I guess I’ll get it in gray with the only interior color available — black:

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Then, mid-article, I changed my mind:

Actually, you know what? I can’t do it. That black interior is just so damn boring. I guess I’m spending $63 grand and getting a sway bar disconnect and a fancy camera system, plus better exterior colors and this nice interior:

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Damn this Modern Toyota FJ-Cruiser just got expensive. Will it be worth it? We’ll see in April when I get to drive the thing.

And so now it’s April and I’ve “driven the thing,” and I can say that my instincts were right. The base 1958 model is absolutely not worth your time, and it has nothing to do with styling. It has to do with quality and the overall “vibe,” as I describe in this clip below:

 

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A post shared by David Tracy (@davidntracy)

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Let me begin as I do in the clip above: I have no problem with cloth seats; in fact, I dig them — they’re comfortable, durable, and they don’t burn your thighs after they’ve sat in the sun. But it’s not the seats I have a beef with.

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No, my qualms lie with the interior plastics, which are LEGO-hard, and not just in places where it doesn’t matter — on touchpoints like the door armrests. The dash, the doorscards, the center tunnel — it’s all rock-hard. And while one might normally think “Well, this is an off-roader, so if it’s more durable, who cares?” one very quickly follows that question up with: “Why buy a Land Cruiser over a 4Runner at this point?”

I get that styling is important, but the new 4Runner looks great, too. And if I’m dropping $56,000 on a Land Cruiser, I expect that Land Cruiser to not have a Playmobil-quality interior, and for it to have features like a front-facing camera and a sway bar-disconnect, and the base “1958” model does not.

Land Cruiser 17

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I love the idea of a back-to-basics Land Cruiser, but this new Land Cruiser isn’t cheap enough to be that, and isn’t the cheaper version of a mid-size TNGA-F-platform Toyota SUV supposed to be called a 4Runner?

The base Land Cruiser just doesn’t make sense to me, even if I love its round headlights. Here’s hoping Toyota eventually offers that nice face not just on the $56,000 1958 base model and the top-dog $75,000 First Edition, but also on the $62,000 standard Land Cruiser.

Otherwise, The Interior Is Borderline Flawless

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Ditch the 1958 model and its hard plastics, and you end up in an interior that is almost perfection. The materials are soft and feel top-quality, the space inside is perfect, and the switchgear is A+ elite.

The Land Cruiser above, with its incredible brown leather interior, costs about $75,000, and it is worth every penny over the base vehicle. But if you don’t want to spend that, and ~$62,000 is more your speed, you can go with fake leather (which Toyota calls “SofTex”). It’s nice, too:

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Slide into the second row, and you quickly realize that the Land Cruiser could make for a solid family SUV, with loads of rear legroom:

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On top of that, the cargo area is positively humongous:

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It’s a good thing there’s so much area back there, because the floor is rather high due to the Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery pack residing under the cargo area. This makes lifting things into the cargo area difficult; the height of the floor above the ground is no joke!

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And the fact that seats don’t fold flat, but rather tumble, isn’t ideal for a vehicle meant to be an overlander; don’t expect to sleep behind that second row, and even if you can, you unfortunately have a step right in the middle of the floor (Random note: You can see a plastic grate on the bottom right of this image — that’s for air-cooling of the battery pack):

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Still, this section’s title is about how flawless the non-1958 Land Cruiser’s interior is, and — aside from that raised cargo floor — it really is. It’s huge, it’s high quality, and the switchgear — oh my is it nice. Here’s a clip showing some of Toyota’s elite-level switchery:

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Other automakers take note: This is how you do switchgear in 2024. You put the volume button — a physical button — right next to the steering wheel. You make sure all the HVAC and seat-heater buttons are physical and well-labeled, and you integrate it all beautifully into the center stack like so:

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It’s not just radio and HVAC — the driving-related buttons are also nicely done, with the locking differential, sway bar disconnect, and stability control switches all physical and clearly labeled on the center tunnel. The front-facing camera is a nice one-touch, easily-labeled button right ahead of the shifter, allowing for quick access when the driver is cresting a hill.

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As you can see, Toyota absolutely nailed it.

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I’d have preferred a column-mounted shifter to save space, but I get that I may be in the minority. Otherwise, I was very happy with the switches. The vents are amazing, the HVAC buttons on the center stack are amazing, and that low-range button is fantastic — you push it down into the center console, then after it plunges, you move it forward for high-range or backwards for low-range. It’s a knurled little lever, and it’s a joy to use (even if I’d rather have an old-school mechanical lever for an off-road machine, though I get that doesn’t make sense for a luxury off-roader).

Anyway, the Land Cruiser has a great, high-quality, somewhat chunky interior if you don’t get the base model. It’s a fantastic place to spend time.

It’s Good Off-Road, Not Amazing

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The new Toyota Land Cruiser is good off-road, but not great — putting it in the same category as the outgoing Land Cruiser, which was limited by its geometry.

That’s the case with the new Land Cruiser as well. It’s got available Toyo Open Country all-terrain tires and a locking rear diff making sure the vehicle keeps moving; it’s got a disconnecting front sway bar to provide more articulation to keep all four tires on the ground; it’s got CRAWL Control off-road cruise control to keep the driver feeling confident; it’s got some skid-plating to protect the underbody; it’s got low-range gearing with an integrated Torsen limited slip differential (with locker); it’s got Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), and I can go on and on.

The hardware (and software) is there, but the ground clearance and departure angle just aren’t.

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To be sure, a 31-degree approach angle is straightup-decent (see the short front overhang below), as is the 25-degree breakover angle. But a 22-degree departure angle is fairly weak, and 8.3 inches of running ground clearance is Subaru Forester-like and won’t be winning anyone any awards.

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And these aren’t just figures on paper, they’re deficiencies that I noticed while off-roading the Land Cruiser during the press event in California.

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Have a look at the relatively modest bump in the dirt trail below:

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That bump was enough to knock off the rear hitch cover, which I dearly detest:

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Why does a Land Cruiser have a plastic hitch cover right in its departure angle? And why does it actually break when it gets hit rather than unclip? This part should absolutely have a quick-disconnect feature:

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I’m a little confused by why this came off, because even though the Land Cruiser has a fairly low 22-degree departure angle thanks to its large rear overhang (see photo below), I don’t recall the rear end ever hitting anything.

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What I do recall, however, is banging the front of the Land Cruiser hard against the dirt below. That’s because there’s really not a lot of ground clearance between the front wheels. And while old-school off-road legends with solid front axles often had differentials that hung down even lower, those differentials were unsprung, meaning they didn’t drop when the vehicle’s suspension went into compression. With the Land Cruiser, I found that, when I took the vehicle off a little dirt ledge at speed, it banged that front skid plate against the terra firma:

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Speaking of skidplates, the Land Cruiser is reasonably well protected, but it’s not amazing. The front of the vehicle has a thin steel plate that you can see was doing its job over the dirt:

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Update: It appears that YouTuber Throttle House also bashed that front skid plate, but badly. Look at what happened when they landed a jump:

It’s not clear to me how far that front metal plate extends (that shield under the front subframe looks plastic in the photo above), but certainly not all the way to the transmission oil pan, because that was unprotected:

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The transfer case had a small steel skid plate bolted onto it, and there was a thin metal skid plate under the fuel tank (unlike the Tacoma, which does not come with a metal fuel tank skid plate):

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Transfer SkidFuel Skid

Here’s a look at the underside of the cargo area, where you can see the fulls-size spare:

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So overall, the Land Cruiser has OK underbody protection, though there’s not as much ground clearance as I’d like, especially at the plastic bits on the front of the vehicle. I think the Land Cruiser should have gotten air suspension, at the very least as an option:

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Still, the sway bar disconnect worked flawlessly, and though the excellent low-range switch took a bit of time to actually get the transfer case into low, and though the lockers also took a moment to actuate, once they were on, the Land Cruiser was basically unstoppable — traction seemed endless.

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Image: Jonathan Harper

So off-road, the Land Cruiser isn’t perfect. It banged its rear hitch cover off, it banged its front end on the dirt, it’s got lots of low-hanging plastic under its chin, and its underbody protection could be better.

Still, flex with the sway bar disconnect actuated is decent front an independent front suspension setup; the low-range gearing and lockers — while slow — worked well; and above all, the thing was just a joy to off-road, largely due to its forward visibility. The front-facing camera helped, but that big channel in the hood made driving the Land Cruiser off-road a real joy:

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That visibility, along with what seemed like a great turning radius, contributed to the Land Cruiser feeling downright nimble. It’s really not much smaller than the outgoing 200 Series Land Cruiser, but it felt small and maneuverable, and honestly, that made the overall off-road experience downright fun.

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A post shared by David Tracy (@davidntracy)

Click the video above to see my off-road impressions.

It’s Fine On-Road

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While the Land Cruiser drive was an off-road-only component of the “Toyotathon” event that the company held for journalists last week, I asked if I could drive the vehicle on-road for a bit, and after I got permission I hit some quiet streets near the California-Mexico border.

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I can’t say I gathered any sort of earth-shattering insights on-road; the Land Cruiser drove smoothly, with a ride that seemed a bit on the softer end. There was some body roll and brake dive, and a bit of wind noise seemingly coming from the mirrors, but overall it was quiet and smooth enough.

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At 326 horsepower, the 2.4-liter adequately moved the 5,000-pound machine around, but I’d hesitate to call anything about the Land Cruiser “quick.” With 465 lb-ft, the vehicle gradually and confidently accelerated when I stomped the throttle, downshifting when necessary and revving loudly enough to be heard. Was the engine as refined as the V8 in my old 100 Series Land Cruiser? No. But no engine is that refined. Is the cabin in the new vehicle as bank vault-like as my old Land Cruiser? I’d have to test them back to back, but I’d guess probably not. But again, overall, it was reasonably quiet and smooth, and I had no complaints. Not even about its acceleration.

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That’s because, if we’re honest, Land Cruisers haven’t exactly been barn-burners historically, and if this new vehicle can — thanks partly to the hybrid system — manage the 22 MPG city, 25 MPG highway, and 23 MPG combined on the EPA label, that’d be a huge deal.

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The last Land Cruiser — equipped with a big 381 horsepower, 401 lb-ft 5.7-liter V8 — scored 13 MPG city, 18 MPG highway, 15 MPG combined. So this is an absolutely monumental fuel economy jump.

Conclusion: I’m A Fan Of The New Land Cruiser Even If It’s Not As Special As Before

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The new Land Cruiser does feel quite a lot like the new Toyota Tacoma, and by extension, it’s going to feel like the new 4Runner, too. They share an engine, transmission, general frame design, and suspension architecture.

The outgoing 200 Series Toyota Land Cruiser, though, was its own beast — a fortress on wheels unlike anything else in the Toyota line. That distinction is now gone, and what’s left is a less expensive machine that offers similar off-road capability and luxury, along with much, much better fuel economy.

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It’s not perfect, with a battery in the cargo area that makes loading tough and adds a hump to the cargo floor. The underbody protection could be stronger, the ground clearance could be better (I get that it’s a fuel economy play, but air suspension would have solved that), the departure angle (especially thanks to that silly hitch cover) isn’t amazing, the low-range and lockers could both be quicker to activate, and the base 1958 model seems like a tough sell, but still, it’s a compelling overall package.

It’s not clear how it’ll be a better deal than an upcoming 4Runner, but if I were looking for a family off-road SUV that was genuinely nice inside, that looked great, and that had a high likelihood of lasting a while, this would be at the top of my list (the GX, too, but I haven’t driven that). I enjoyed piloting this spacious, nimble vehicle through the off-road trails, letting its suspension flex and its lockers do their thing, all while looking good. It’s not fast on the road, it’s not a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon off of it, but the chunky, high-quality, voluminous cabin is a great place to spend time, and that’s a big deal.

Top image: Jonathan Harper

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Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
2 months ago

Yeah, I for one wellcome the new prado. The full fat diesel V8 J200 I saw lightly used (like 30tkm in the meter and 2 years old) was over 200k€. And the last gen more expensive 2.8 diesel Prado still has over 100k starting price in toyota finland page. If this comes below 80k, it will sell very well. And I for one am hankering one as main trip/tailer pulling car (to supply our EV commuter).

Carter Young
Carter Young
2 months ago

I think David has confused Coronado Island (where he likely was) with Catalina Island.

Enueve
Enueve
2 months ago

Americans lusted after the Prado as an antidote to inflated LC200 prices and stealth wealth positioning (another way to say “it looks kinda blah but I paid a LOT for it”).

They are now given a Prado at significantly lower prices and they call DOWNGRADE because they lost.. what? The symbolism of the top-of-the-line Land Cruiser? The ability to pay dearly for a bare bones LX without a Lexus Badge or monstrous grill?

I think Toyota’s segmentation is clear. Plenty of price overlap to cater to differing tastes and requirements.

Last edited 2 months ago by Enueve
Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
2 months ago

I also much prefer the round headlights-though honestly it seems weird to have even engineered two different front ends anyways unless for some world market thing they needed both variations anyways. I really like the looks of the cloth seats, I’m impressed they even offer them and that they actually appear to be a decent fabric. I sooo wish cloth upholstery would become a thing again. Leather seats are such a bill of goods that’s been sold to a mindless lux seeking general public. What was once luxury is now commodified crap-even in luxury cars you’re usually not actually getting full leather and the leather you are getting is poorer quality than it used to be. I’d love to be able to get the cloth seats with the otherwise nicer interior AND the round headlights, ah well. Either way put me in the camp who finds this more appealing than the outgoing version, which I never really got. It was like a more reliable but less fun Land Rover? But I’m curious to see how this works for Toyota if you’re like me and think the USDM Land Cruiser peaked with the FJ60 you’ll love this-if you preferred subsequent versions this seems to be a bit of a miss?

Pisserofexcellence
Pisserofexcellence
2 months ago

David – as I thumbed through (virtually, of course) the myriad of identical post-embargo uploads from everyone and their cousin, I kept asking myself “why have none of these hacks done a proper, David Tracy-esque crawl under one of these? Oh, thats right, none of them are David Tracy.”

I mean, seriously! Look at every youtube video, every “the drive” post, or whatever they’re posting on whats left of jalopnik… all have the same pictures, with nearly the same copy. And importantly, none of them go into this level of detail about the stuff that actually matters to those of us who put tire to dirt on the daily.

Thank you David for this. (It also proved my suspicions that they didn’t really “beef up” anything for the LC, and instead dumbed it down to the same standard of durability – not a bad one, btw – of the rest of the TNGA-F trucks).

Horizontally Opposed
Horizontally Opposed
2 months ago

Laundry is hard.

PopeHolySmoke
PopeHolySmoke
2 months ago

I don’t understand what Toyota was thinking with the way the 2nd row tumbles forward instead of lying flat. That is a deal breaker for me. When I had my 06 4runner, the 2nd row seats were always folded down. I have to fit a large dog crate, a set of drawers, and other gear back there, and that’s not possible without a flat floor all the way up. I also don’t understand why people want a third row in a vehicle this size. Who sits back there aside from children? And if it’s for children, what do you do when they grow up and no longer fit?

Luxrage
Luxrage
2 months ago

I think those rounded headlights look WAY better than the thinner rectangular ones, I hope they are a dealer swappable item at some point.,

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
2 months ago

OFC it’s not a “real” Land Cruiser. The different markets argument is nonsensical. What matters is the market that the customer is in. And for every customer in America (at least the ones that know), this is not a real LC. Probably still a great SUV, but it is obviously a step down. The price cut doesn’t come from Toyota deciding to take a massive cut to the profit margins

Enueve
Enueve
2 months ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

I agree it is confusing… especially when the FJ250 is simply called “Land Cruiser”, which implies some equivalence with the 200/300… Odd choice, but probably the winning branding strategy.

For those of us who see the eternal FJ70 and LC Prado and Flagship LC300 coexist so happily in our markets the Great American Land Cruiser Confusion is kind of amusing.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
2 months ago
Reply to  Enueve

Definitely a winning brand strategy. They’ve certainly gotten the auto journalists to parrot it. Jalopnik isn’t the only place I’ve heard this “argument”

Karl Jacobs
Karl Jacobs
2 months ago

I hopped into my girlfriend’s Lexus RX350 and drove to Catalina Island”

Umm.. how? And I find it unlikely that they let Toyota set up a test course there.

TheFanciestCat
TheFanciestCat
2 months ago
Reply to  Karl Jacobs

Right? How has David not covered the flying and/or amphibius Lexus he as access to? 😛

Karl Jacobs
Karl Jacobs
2 months ago
Reply to  TheFanciestCat

Yeah.. and you don’t want to leave a nice Lexus parked overnight at the parking for the Catalina Ferry.. that area is.. sketch.

Pisco Sour
Pisco Sour
2 months ago
Reply to  Karl Jacobs

It would be a good test of how well the Lexus fords….

Kalieaire
Kalieaire
2 months ago

But a bigger question here is, where’s the cool box and ventilated seat feature in the base model?

Just because the synthetic cloth seats breathe better doesn’t mean I don’t want my back sweat and nut sweat to be ventilated.

The Cool Box isn’t a gimmick. With it in my existing land cruiser, it’s great for long trips to keep leftovers and drinks cool and handy on the trail. Feels like Toyota could save some money by simply installing it on all LC250s here, same goes for the seat ventilators.

One aesthetic issue I have is the headlights.

Since Toyota claims the headlights are easily swappable between the round and the rectangular lights, why not make and advertise this as a dealer available option for a minimal cost (Labor)?

While I’m certain that some people will enjoy the rectangular headlamps, I would personally want the round ones. However, if I want ventilated seats, cool box, and round headlights, I’d have to order a first edition instead of the mid-range Land Cruiser option.

I’m not looking forward to being required to get a mid-range LC250 for $65k (and being forced to get the premium package for the cool box along with a useless moonroof that’s going to be covered with an Eezi-Awn rack with an Autohome Columbus over the top anyway), and THEN subsequently purchasing the round headlights from Toyota’s parts bin only to get warranty denied by dealerships if something goes wrong.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
2 months ago

Settle down with Catalina, y’all. There is a bridge to Coronado. Which is near San Diego. Which is also near the Mexican border where he was able to take the thing on-road.

I betcha it was there. Though I don’t exactly know where they’d have an off-road course that wasn’t on-base.Shrugs.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
2 months ago

The off roady stuff looks like its inland near San Diego- definitely not on Coronado or Catalina, though Catalinas dirt roads are decent for press drives (Subaru does them there on occasion).

TheFanciestCat
TheFanciestCat
2 months ago
Reply to  TXJeepGuy

If you’re putting people from the press up over night and want them to have a nice time, so they’re in a good mood when they’re talking about your product. I could see having them stay on Coronado and shuttling them 45 minutes inland for actual testing. Driving 45 minutes in California isn’t really seen as a big deal to people here.

Karl Jacobs
Karl Jacobs
2 months ago
Reply to  TheFanciestCat

Yeah, from some of the photos in the prior article, it looks like they were somewhere down south in San Diego.

AverageCupOfTea
AverageCupOfTea
2 months ago

Land Cruiser is famous in the Middle East, go to any gulf country and you’ll see them every where, it’s not for “Arab sheiks” only, it’s a family car for many, can do school runs and go to the middle of nowhere.

Waremon0
Waremon0
2 months ago

I still haven’t seen any mention of the low range gear ratio on this or the 4Runner.

I’m assuming the same 2.57:1 as the Taco. Shame they couldn’t offer a 4:1 even as an option on the higher trims. Since there’s no manual, will all axle gearing be the same across trims at 3.6?

Sharing the same platform and drivetrains, is this new Land Cruiser built to the same 25 years of off-road driving standard as previous gens, bringing its platform mates up with it, or did it get downgraded to the (still high) durability standards of the 4Runner and Tacoma?

Toyota really are just competing with themselves. I don’t think they see Bronco or Wrangler as competition and, to a point, they’re right. Toyota buyers are Toyota buyers and it is very difficult to sway them to other options. Despite, on paper, having piss poor payload ratings and generally falling behind in most metrics.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
2 months ago

You point out something that irritates me to no end. That the base model is impossibly inadequate.

You can make that argument on something like a base Taco, or a hell, a Tercel! But the base model on a vehicle that straddles into premium territory from the get go this is just flat out bullshit unacceptable.

Base models should be base, fine… but they should match the features of their class.

And:

  • A color change is not a premium feature. Fine if the leather is not an option…but come on. I’m even fine if some paint jobs are premium. But again… there should be more than one base interior color and a decent palette of exterior colors even on a damn Corolla base, much less a Land Cruiser.
  • And really? $56K for Tonka Toy plastics? And $7000 to fix it? That is COMPLETE bullshit! Yes, yes, it’s bundled… that makes it worse. Again, the base model of a near-premium truck like this should not have this as an option. MAYBE in the 4Runner… but not this.
  • Locking up nice to haves with Oh-no-you-REALLY-don’t-want-that into trim levels or costly option packages. It should be easy to pick and choose a basic few niceties on your base model without having to swallow another used burner car in price.

In my book this is right up there with in-vehicle subscriptions for basic features and removing essential buttons.

It is quite a thing to move Mr. Tracy off the base model of anything, and he’s kind of my hero for that. So many option packages lose their value like the fluff they really are. To me, that just shows that the base model is a fail.

Karl Jacobs
Karl Jacobs
2 months ago
Reply to  Ok_Im_here

Counterpoint.. the base model will be great for those that are going to mod the heck out of it anyway.

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
2 months ago
Reply to  Karl Jacobs

doesn’t do anything about the plastics which you’re still stuck with. Still should be able to get the basic seats in more than one color.

some guy in MI
some guy in MI
2 months ago

So I’m now possibly in the market for a new one of these..

The 24/25 4Runner or The Land Cruiser…

Was 100% going to buy a 2024 4Runner – now.. new options have presented themselves.

Need to tow (not massive) boat + utility trailer, move kids, drive in woods.
Camp in National Forests..

What’s the move here?

I drove an XJ for over a decade, kinda chasing the modern form of that dragon.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  some guy in MI

I wish my XJ was still on the road. WNY rust took it before its time.

Always broke
Always broke
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

How heavy is the boat? Our ’19 has a payload of 1160 and towing of 6k. Payload (or more specifically tongue weight). Will be your limiting factor. Two adults packing light can leave you about 500 lb for tongue weight or a 4-5k lb boat with 10% on the tongue.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  Always broke

I don’t have a boat :(. I think you meant to reply to somebody else.

Always broke
Always broke
2 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Yeah, I don’t Internet well

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
2 months ago
Reply to  Always broke

And you totally ruined my day by rubbing it in my face that I don’t have a boat. JK. I much prefer to have a friend with a boat than a boat myself!

Waremon0
Waremon0
2 months ago
Reply to  some guy in MI

Sequoia. The 4Runner has a payload rating of less than 1000 lbs. You will easily reach that with seats full of kids, their gear, and the tongue weight of a trailer.

some guy in MI
some guy in MI
2 months ago
Reply to  Waremon0

so big..

Waremon0
Waremon0
2 months ago
Reply to  some guy in MI

GVWR varies widely between trims and options so if you’re willing to get a standard 4×4 without the off-road goodies, you may be within safe weight limits.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
2 months ago
Reply to  some guy in MI

The new GX has a payload of 1350lb and can tow 9000lb and is close to amid range LC in price. Of course it’s less efficient with the V6

some guy in MI
some guy in MI
2 months ago
Reply to  Rod Millington

i was afraid of the Lexus coming up- that engine should be offered in the Landcruiser

86TVan
86TVan
2 months ago

The LC standard wheels are HIDEOUS and I guess it makes more sense if you think people are going to dump them at the get-go. I wonder what is the max tire size that can fit in the spare area underneath…it was super tight in the GX460, I don’t think you can even get a 33″ in there.

Skurdnee
Skurdnee
2 months ago

“Is there a place for body-on-frame vehicles” in the face of increasingly stringent emissions requirements? It was, as Toyota Tacoma chief engineer Sheldon Brown put it to me during an interview, “an existential crisis [for] the company” as pressure mounted to meet global Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements (CAFE, as it’s called stateside).

How about not making every generation bigger and heavier than the last? Surely that’d help with CAFE.

Cerberus
Cerberus
2 months ago

Definitely not for me and I’m sure it will sell well, but I won’t understand why. BoF for offroad capability, but that’s limited due to geometry. In return, you get more weight, worse mileage, and what appears to be shit cargo space, especially with the seats rolled forward (Why not have the seat bottom roll forward and the seat backs flip into their spot for a flat floor like has been done for decades? Looks there’s room, though maybe there isn’t.) Then there’s the engine. A lot of people who buy these things do so for the durability and damn the mileage (which was atrocious), but a 2.4T moving 2.5 tons is going to be blown a lot sooner than the old V8 (at least few of them will see hot trails where high load and low speeds would challenge the cooling system—maybe that was Toyota’s plan!—hobble it offroad to protect the drivetrain). Fine, it does come with sort of OK mileage that happens to look great in comparison to the old bulletproof drivetrain, though it needs a hybrid system to get there. With the seats down, the Highlander hybrid probably has more (and more useable) cargo space (though probably not with all seats up) and gets in the 30s for mileage for a lot cheaper price. I’m not a slave to (still yawn-inducing) image, so the dubious “coolness” factor of this thing over the eunuchmobile Highlander, or the luxury of the GX platform mate, or lower price of the 4Runner platform mate just doesn’t seem to match—much less exceed—its deficiencies and that’s not factoring outside rivals that are either more serious offroad or better value for money. I certainly get something that engenders passion pushing aside logical reasons to purchase, but it’s just another damn SUV in a sea of them, so what passion? A Wrangler or a Bronco I could see—fun colors, roof and doors come off, tons of accessories, more offroad capability, better retro looks, but this?

Mike B
Mike B
2 months ago

Whenever I see the “TNGA-F” platform mentioned, my mind reads it as “Toyota ever Gives A F*ck” (about what it’s customers want).

I don’t hate this, I rather like the styling, but it should just be better. I get why they didn’t want to go full luxo-barge 300 series, but this could have been more special. Maybe slot the 4R as the soccer mom choice and makes the LC more offroad capable.

When hearing about these now Yota BOF 4×4’s coming out, all I wanted was a Toyota produced, fixed roof, carbon copy of a Sasquatch Bronco. That would be amazing, all the Bronco’s features look great on paper, but the execution not so much. A Bronco with Toyota reliability and build quality would be AMAZING.

As far as the LC itself, I’m thinking that if one needs to step up past the base trim, the base GX Overtrail with sunroof delete starts at 68K-ish, last time I checked. I think if one has the budget, that might be the best value.

Waremon0
Waremon0
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

What about the execution of the Bronco doesn’t meet your expectations? Having driven extensively in the JKU, JLU and JT Jeeps, and off-roading with many Toyotas, I think the Bronco is the off-road SUV bar to clear.

I’m disappointed but not surprised at the delays when switching into low range or activating the lockers on the new Yotas. Jeep’s lockers take a second of thinking, too. The Bronco’s lockers activate instantly, as does the sway bar disconnect. The drivetrain is plenty adequate and 35″ tires are available from the factory. A Toyota will never be able to run that size tire without modifications.

I think the base interior of the Ford beats the base Cruiser. I test drove the new Taco in a mid-trim and it’s comparable to the Bronco. As a short fella, I can never get comfortable in the Jeeps without feeling claustrophobic. I’m biased but if you want a 4runner or Land Cruiser for off-roading, get a Bronco.

Although, I am jealous of the rear cargo space of the Land Cruiser, despite the battery hump.

Mike B
Mike B
2 months ago
Reply to  Waremon0

I think the Bronco looks brilliant. As a 5th gen 4Runner owner, I had MUCH more anticipation and excitement about the Bronco release than I was the 6th gen 4R.

I think all the points you made about the Bronco are correct, especially the bit about Toyota and 35″ tires. Even a not-quite-33 will likely take trimming even with a lift on my 4R.

My issues with the Bronco are build quality and pricing. I have not driven one, but I watch every review I could when they first came out and have talked to owners. For example, I was at an event in VT this past fall and went on a trail run with a new Bronco owner, he was in a Badlands with 32″ tires, identical to what I was running on my 4R, btw. He told me about a few electrical issues he had with it, as well it was scheduled to be repainted by Ford because it came from the factory with RUNS IN THE PAINT. He pointed it out, it was horrible and clearly visible under paint protection film. It’s that gorgeous green color that I’m in love with, but damn.

Later on that day I ended up dragging him backwards uphill for about 80 feet with my 10-year-old, 160K mile 4Runner when he blew his front diff trying to back out of a mudhole. At first, we thought maybe a CV, but the dealer confirmed it was the diff itself. He was not beating on it and had even said at the beginning of the run he was planning on taking it easy because “we need to drive these 4 hours home”.

It also seems like the tie rods on these bend like paperclips, but I think that’s probably in extreme use cases outside of what 95% of owners will do.

And pricing. Damn, these are not cheap. I realize EVERYTHING has gone up and money isn’t worth anything anymore, but I recently priced one out at nearly 60K for the base model with 4cyl, auto, and Sasquatch package. Like Jeep, they want to nickel and dime you to death for features like a roof and auto trans. What’s the take rate on the stick? It should be a no-cost option at best. It probably costs them MORE to offer the stick.

Like I said, if the new 4Runner or Landcruiser was THIS, but with a fixed roof (no choosing between the flappy soft-top or the rattly hard top) and Toyota build quality, they’d have a home run with bases loaded.

Waremon0
Waremon0
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike B

The only issue I’ve had with mine is that the wireless android auto will disconnect. I usually have my phone plugged in to charge anyway so it just switches to USB AA. Mild annoyance.

I obviously can’t deny the problems you’ve seen but I’ve had no problems on 37s and a 2.5″ lift. I also avoid mud holes like the plague. If it were as easy to put 35s and 37s on Toyotas, you’d probably see just as many tie rod failures. Physically, I don’t think the tie rods are much different in physical dimensions between the two.

The steering system has also been updated on 23 and up models. Should it have come out the gate with stronger steering? Maybe.

I think at 60k, the Bronco is still a better buy than the LC if you plan to off-road. If it’s going to be mainly a DD with mild off-roading, then, yeah, 4Runner.

So going back to the main topic. Who’s buying the LC and why?

Mike B
Mike B
2 months ago
Reply to  Waremon0

Glad you’ve had good luck with yours. Like I said, I think they’re awesome vehicles, I’m glad Ford had the guts to build something like this rather than playing it “safe” like Toyota. If I didn’t drive 400 miles a week I’d probably be more likely to get one. That’s the main reason I want 4R over Wrangler btw, I really wanted the Wrangler, but the 4R ticked more of the “practical” boxes. That’s also why I’d prefer a fixed roof Bronco. Weather here is unpredictable and I have no garage to store body parts.

I’ll even give it a pass on the tie rods because I think some of that is extreme use case mixed with driver error. I know the aftermarket has already addressed it.

Who’s buying the LC? Personally, I think people who want something a bit more upmarket than the 4R, or perhaps those that want the more subdued styling. The Land Cruiser name also has some cache. I almost think the question is, who’s buying the 4Runner? No way these don’t end up overlapping in price.

I drive a boring SUV
I drive a boring SUV
2 months ago

Oh! I got quoted, what an honour!

I have to say that even though Toyota’s product strategy for this platform in the US might be a bit confusing and maybe run the risk of cannibaliseing some sales among similar SUVs, I am a bit jealous of the choice you guys get to make. We won’t get the GX or the 4Runner here, both of which I really like, and the only engine choice for the Land Cruiser is a 2.8 4-pot turbodiesel, which will get a 48V mild hybrid system for the 2025 model.

Not only that, but because Toyota does not want to mess up its fleet emissions in the EU, we only get allocated a handful of Land Cruisers all of which are already sold, so we can expect a second-hand market bubble of Suzuki Jimny proportions.

Finally, I have to revise my statement that the 4Runner might not last much longer now that it is too close to the new Land Cruiser – I think the Land Cruiser is the one that stands to take the biggest hit in sales, as has already been mentioned in other comments, if I were in the market for an expensive LC, I would get a GX, and if I were in the market for a cheap LC (to use as a base for an offroading or overlanding rig) I would get a 4Runner.

Mike B
Mike B
2 months ago

I didn’t see your original post, but I agree with your quoted post. I also don’t get the “real Landcruiser” sentiment, as it’s a multi-vehicle brand. Honestly, I think the 76 is the REAL Landcruiser, if one wants to bestow that title on something.

I think people in the US just got used to it being a luxo-barge over the last few decades. The 80 series was a beast, but IMO the 100 and 200 aren’t really that special when it comes to offroad capability.

B3n
B3n
2 months ago

So essentially, Toyota/Lexus USA is offering the same platform now, with 4 different bodies bolted on:
4runner, LC Prado, Lexus GX and Tacoma
But there is still no LC300 for us, except re-skinned as the LX600 that’s probably a low volume seller.
Yet they’ve made a new Sequoia just for the US, which itself is essentially an enlarged and slightly de-contented LC300.
Why not just sell the 4runner, the LC300, and the Tacoma? And maybe the GX so Lexus still has an off-road SUV offering.
Make it make sense.

Last edited 2 months ago by B3n
American Locomotive
American Locomotive
2 months ago

When I hear that the TNGF-A platform is underpinning everything from a full-sized pickup to a mid-sized SUV with relatively few changes to, the first thing that comes to mind is “compromises”. That’s probably why the new Tacoma is within 2″ of width of a new Tundra. Like, It’s utterly baffling that they couldn’t find anywhere else to fit the hybrid battery in a large SUV that shares a platform with a full-sized pickup.

I get that automotive engineering is always about compromises, but this is starting to get dangerously close to “Early 2000s GM” levels of lazy platform sharing, IMO. You’re going to have a bunch of vehicles, all largely the same, all cannibalizing sales from each other, each with half-assed engineering.

I love Land Cruisers, I own a 60 series myself, but I don’t really understand where this new Land Cruiser is supposed to fit. It’s not any more capable than the 4Runner or Lexus GX. It’s supposed to be more “up market” than the 4Runner, but the base model costs more and has a terrible interior, and yet at the same time you can option it up to cost as much as a Lexus GX.

At least in prior generations it kind of made sense when the Land Cruiser was the large, super capable, supreme off-roader on a bespoke platform. The 4Runner was a lower cost SUV sharing components with the Tacoma and Prado, and the Lexus GX was basically a whole Prado with a nicer interior. Each one had its own completely bespoke body and styling.

Now the 4Runner, Land Cruiser and Lexus GX have almost the same body with different front-end treatments. The power trains are basically the same, and there’s almost no other real differentiation between them.

The Land Cruiser (in the U.S.) should have been either the 300-series, or a new 40/70 series-inspired convertible true off-roader like the Bronco or Wrangler.

Toyota really seems to have lost their way in the past decade or so, with the same cost-cutting-maximize-profits-at-all-costs vehicle design that almost killed the Big 3 in the early 2000s. They’re just milking the Land Cruiser brand name in the U.S.

Last edited 2 months ago by American Locomotive
Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
2 months ago

Hear, hear. I agree on the points you’ve made. There’s a lot of compromises being made.

I drive a boring SUV
I drive a boring SUV
2 months ago

“I get that automotive engineering is always about compromises, but this is starting to get dangerously close to “Early 2000s GM” levels of lazy platform sharing”

You should see what Stellantis is doing with Citroën/Peugeot/Fiat/Alfa/Opel/Jeep in Europe…

86TVan
86TVan
2 months ago

LC in the US absolutely should have been the 300-series. It’s already sold here as the LX, how hard can it be? 4Runner should have been the Bronco / wrangler with an option for a removable roof and hybrid power. The GX should not have grown any larger, magic wheelbase be damned; the Sequoia should have had IRS and be the Suburban fighter.

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