Home » We Sent A Toyota Land Cruiser Superfan To The Reveal And My God He Went Nuts With This Photo-Heavy Writeup

We Sent A Toyota Land Cruiser Superfan To The Reveal And My God He Went Nuts With This Photo-Heavy Writeup

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Last night I attended the reveal of the reimagined 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, and after the covers came off of the two display vehicles, I got some time to climb around in both of them and take a ridiculous number of photos so I can show you, dear reader, every single thing you could possibly want to see (OK, I didn’t look into the diffs). I’ve concluded that the new Land Cruiser feels more like a theoretical sixth-gen 4Runner than a followup to the mighty 200, but before I continue with that thought, let’s get nerdy.

As far as the photos go, I tried to capture as much of the stuff as possible that doesn’t get called out in the press release, but that will still matter to the day to day user. I tried to give as much context as possible with each one, so let’s dive in.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Let’s Look At The Outside A Bit

The gray truck is the base “Land Cruiser 1958” model, while the blue one is the more expensive “Land Cruiser” trim. Toyota has also announced a 5,000 unit run of a special “First Edition”, but it doesn’t seem like one of those exists yet in a physical form.

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So far all of these new body-on-frame Toyota and Lexus models use this same six-lug bolt pattern, which would make sense given that they all ride on the same TNGA-F architecture. This means wheels should theoretically transfer across models. This wasn’t the case pre-TNGA-F, as the 200 and 100 Series Land Cruiser, second-gen Tundra, second-gen Sequoia, and Lexus LX 470 and 570 all used a 5-lug pattern, while the Tacoma, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, and GX used 6-lugs. Maybe this isn’t as relevant now as many of these vehicles haven’t even hit the market yet, but it’s nice to know that down the road, you’d be able to, say, swap a set of Tacoma Trailhunter wheels onto your 2024 Land Cruiser if you wanted.

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This is looking just aft of the passenger side front wheel. There won’t be any need to do a body mount chop here to fit bigger tires, as is the case on the FJ Cruiser, fifth-gen 4Runner, and GX 470 and GX 460 models.

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I couldn’t help but note how bulbous the rear hitch cover is. On the 200, this part is significantly more subtle.

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This may be the biggest cowl plastic piece trim between the hood and windshield on any modern vehicle.

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Gotta love square mirrors and blind spot monitoring.

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I think we all by now understand that North America’s new Land Cruiser is simply the new global market “Land Cruiser 250,” which itself if simply the new-generation of the light-duty vehicle formerly known as the Land Cruiser Prado. Either way though, it’s still fun that you can once again get a Land Cruiser-branded vehicle in the U.S. without a sunroof, known in enthusiast circles as a “slicktop.”

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This hasn’t been the case since the 1999 model year, when a few no-sunroof 100 Series models slipped into the country (we’re talking maybe 100 units).

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No roof rails on this 1958, but the connection points are still there, so adding them would be easy.

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Previous Land Cruiser Prado and Lexus GX models had a side-hinged rear hatch that was cumbersome, heavy, and generally inconvenient to use. This new generation goes to a top-hinged rear hatch, but preserves the independently-opening glass, which is released by a little button there on the bottom left. I still wish it had a tailgate.
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Those little circles are where the glass itself attaches to the hinges. 

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This plastic trim piece seems to be becoming extremely common on new car designs, presumably because it serves to cover up the seam between the D-pillar and roof panels. It also allows for a clean way to offer contrasting roof designs, for which the Land Cruiser is kind of the poster child.

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The taillights are very “80 Series.”

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A Look At Interior Storage

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The interior of the 1958. It feels like a base model, but in this case, that’s a welcomed feeling.

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All four of the door pockets have full-size water bottle holders. While I don’t feel compelled to sell my 200 Series for this reimagined Land Cruiser, simple modern sensibilities like this would certainly be a welcomed change.

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Here’s the water bottle pocket on the back door.

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Here’s the center console button layout on the base gray truck. (Please forgive the difference in lighting conditions).

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And here it is on the blue truck. Notice that the button for Multi-Terrain Select on the blue truck replaces the ECT 2ND button on the gray truck (a staple on Toyota trucks for years, pushing that button tells the “Electronically Controlled Transmission” to start in second gear). I’m not sure where this button is relocated to on the higher trim. The blank to the left of the rear locker button on the 1958 is replaced with an “SDM” button on the uplevel trim, which I’m guessing is related to the swaybar disconnect. Also note the button for the camera system to the right of the dial on the uplevel truck. The gray 1958 truck has another blank in this location.

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Just a standard center console box on the new Land Cruiser, another indicator that the truck is more 4Runner than 200 Series, the majority of which came with a little refrigerator in this location.

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Badging

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Something I like about my 200 Series is that it only says “Land Cruiser” in one place – across the rear hatch. I like simple, minimal branding like that. I was eager to count how many times “Land Cruiser” appears on this one. The answer is three times–once on the dash, another time on the back of the center console, and in a third location on the tailgate.

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Speaking of badging, the new Land Cruiser has an ‘i-Force MAX’ badge on one side of its rear hatch. Given that this is the only powertrain available in the truck here in the U.S., this just feels like an unnecessary advertisement for Toyota’s new powertrain brand

Finally Cloth Seats Again

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This also marks the first time since the 1999 model year that any sort of Land Cruiser is available in the U.S. with fabric seats. The fabric itself felt just like what you’d find in the Tacoma or 4Runner, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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And here’s the rear fold-down center armrest.

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I couldn’t believe Toyota launched the third-generation Tundra with an old-fashioned USB-A port still on the dash. I’m relieved to see the company has finally switched over to more modern (and more user-friendly) USB-C, which the new Land Cruiser features exclusively [Editor’s Note: Great, now we all have to buy new cables! -DT] — two on the dash board, and two on the back of the center console, shown here. That AC inverter could come in handy as well as it’s out of the way, but also easily accessible from the front seats.

Tumble Seats

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The second row seats fold in the same unique way that they do in past Land Cruiser and Land Cruiser Prado models. The way it happens is 1) the seatback sandwiches down onto the seat bottom, then 2) the whole thing releases and tumbles forward, held in by hinges at the front of the seat bottom. Then there’s a very quirky strap that you undo from the seat bottom and hook around the B-pillar grab handle to make sure the seats don’t fold backwards under acceleration.

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It’s hard to make seats that fold completely flat in a body-on-frame off-roader like they do in say, a Highlander, given the need to preserve ground clearance. That said, I think I prefer they way the second row folds in the fifth-gen 4Runner to this approach. In the 4Runner, the seat bottoms release and then rotate forward on hinges, and the seatback then falls down into the space formerly occupied by the seatbottom, which makes for a nice flat load floor that you can sleep on.

That’s likely out of the question with this new Land Cruiser. Which brings me to my next complaint.

A Raised Cargo Floor Due To The Battery

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As we all know by now, the new Land Cruiser comes exclusively with a hybrid powertrain here in the US. And that means a 1.87-kWh battery has to live onboard somewhere. In this case, Toyota has chosen to put the battery in the rear cargo area, which raises the cargo floor by about four inches. So essentially, there’s a big plastic-encased battery sitting on top of what could otherwise be a nice flat load floor. They’ve tried to smooth things out by including a few storage compartments fore and aft of the whole ordeal, which, hey, storage is always handy. While I’m not sure where else the battery would go (it’s underneath the rear seat in the new Tacoma Hybrid), as a whole, it feels like lazy design.

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Here’s the storage compartment between the second row and the battery.

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See the ledge? Oof.

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The regular 12V battery also lives in the cargo area.

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Just above it is the bottle jack for changing the spare.

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This 2400 watt AC inverter, located in the cargo area opposite the bottle jack, will be handy, but it would be even more handy if it could be used while the vehicle is turned off. This would allow you to say, keep a fridge running overnight at a campsite while the vehicle is stationary. I doubt this will be the case – that would take some engineering effort that I doubt Toyota want’s to spend here – but I hope I’m wrong.

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Here’s a pre-production quirk – despite the new Land Cruiser being two-row-only in the US, both display vehicles had grab handles for a third row, which is available in the global market Land Cruiser 250, and in the Lexus GX 550. I guess this early in the game, maybe two-row headliners haven’t yet been manufactured.

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Having a roll-out cargo cover is nice. If you buy a 200 Series and remove the third row jump seats, there’s still no way to install one – the attachment points aren’t there. The 5-passenger Heritage Edition represented the only way to get a cargo cover in a 200 Series here in the US. No need to worry about any of that nonsense here, as this new Land Cruiser comes exclusively as a 5-seater. If you need a third row, look to the GX 550.

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Two grab handles are at the base of the hatch for pulling it down. No strap like on the 5th-gen 4Runner.

Let’s Look Underneath

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Looking underneath the rear now, and the exhaust tip sits up high, which is great for off-road clearance.

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It’s great to see robust frame-mounted recovery points at both the front and rear, which are controversially omitted on the new Tundra.

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Front independent suspension on the 1958, so no disconnecting sway bar here.

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Rear suspension on the 1958. That’s a five-link coil sprung design; fairly straightforward and typical in Toyota body-on-frame SUVs.

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For what it’s worth, both vehicles had full-size matching spares (both the wheel and tire). While this could change on the production version, it leads me to wonder if a five-tire rotation routine would be possible here, which would save owners money in the long run.

Let’s Look Outside Again

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Is it just me, or does it look like a Honda Passport from the rear?

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On to the upscale ‘Land Cruiser’ trim. 

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The circular headlines on the 1958 will probably get the most attention, but these rectangular units are growing on me.

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Notice that the grill surround is painted metallic gray on the nicer trim here. It’s an unpainted black on the 1958.

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The Land Cruiser trim comes with Rigid-branded color-selectable LED fog lamps. While this may catch some attention, keep in mind that fog lights can only be so bright while also remaining street legal, and anything sold by an automaker obviously has to adhere to those rules. So expect any benefits of these Rigids to be in the quality of light they put out, rather than the quantity.

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Later on in the night, someone turned the fog lights on, showing the yellow color. I’m assuming the ‘color-selectable’ feature just means you can change between white and yellow, but I’m not certain.

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It’s sacrilegious for anything wearing a Land Cruiser badge to also include a plastic fake skid plate like this. Luckily this thing will offer real underbody protection too.

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Another pre-production quirk – look at that panel alignment. Yikes!

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These are super mild Michelin LTX Trail all-terrain tires. Worth noting here – the Land Cruiser trim wears bigger tires – 265/70r18 vs. 245/70r18 on the 1958.

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Here’s what the roof rails and contrast color roof look like. The roof looks white, but Toyota calls it “Grayscape.”

Inside The Fancy-Trim Land Cruiser

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Inside, the Land Cruiser trim on display (kind of annoying that there’s a trim level of the Land Cruiser called ‘Land Cruiser’) had brown seats that I assume were the optional leather-trimmed upholstery, as opposed to the simulated leather that’s standard on this trim.

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That brown leather extends onto the door panels.

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Here’s the bigger 12.3-inch display that comes with the Land Cruiser trim. Unfortunately, neither infotainment system could be turned on. Note the volume knob stuck off there to the side. At least we get one!

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One of my favorite features of my 200 series is its dual sun visors. One for the side window, and another for the windshield. I’m always happy to have them on long drives when the sun is low. I’d been holding out a sliver of hope that this new Prado-based Land Cruiser would have them as some kind of tribute, but no. Just regular old sun visors here.

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And that’s pretty much everything I noticed when poring over the new, reimagined 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser.

As both an automotive journalist and a 200 Series owner, this has been a tricky vehicle to cover. On one hand, I dislike that by choosing to market it here as the “Land Cruiser” rather than “Land Cruiser Prado” or “Land Cruiser 250” as it’s being called in the rest of the world, Toyota North America is framing it as a successor to the 200 Series here in the United States. After climbing around in these two preproduction units for a few hours last night, it’s clear that in reality, this is simply a next-generation of the light duty Prado line propped up by what will surely be an onslaught of advertising and imagery here in the U.S. designed to make Americans associate it with the full-size models sold here previously. And I’m kind of anxious to make sure as many people as possible understand that. Because when we reduce “Land Cruiser” to a brand name, it diminishes what the full-size 200 and 100 Series represented –  outliers in the areas of engineering, design standards, and use case[Editor’s Note: As an objective non-Land Cruiser fan (OK, maybe I’m not objective. I like Jeeps. -DT], I don’t quite understand this. If it’s built on the same platform as the 300 Series, and if the chassis and powertrain are designed to handle abuse for years and years just as the 200 Series’ were, then how is this new machine not a worthy successor? I mean, I understand the lack of tailgate, its more basic appointments, and the issues you pointed out like the raised floor, and I understand it’s a bit smaller, but fundamentally: If it’s as reliable and as good off-road, then isn’t it worthy? I guess time will tell. -DT]. 

On the other hand though, it’s great to have another midsize 4×4 on the market, especially one as generously equipped as this. I think the packaging, standard features, and dare I say, even pricing, are all pretty good.

So here’s how I’m framing the new U.S.-market Land Cruiser. Toyota has essentially given us a 6th-gen 4Runner that’s shaped like a Land Cruiser and says Land Cruiser on it. The same people who love their fourth- and fifth-gen 4Runners will be equally as well-served by this. And no it’s not a 300 Series, but with a starting price in the mid-to-high $55,000 range, it’s going to be a pretty great rugged four-wheel-drive SUV for a whole lot of people.

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I drive a boring SUV
I drive a boring SUV
10 months ago

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 somearkets. In 1990 they introduced the 90 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 he 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.

bmw325_num99
bmw325_num99
10 months ago

“I don’t quite understand this. If it’s built on the same platform as the 300 Series….”

I dont think its built on the 300 series platform but rather the slightly lighter-duty Prado/GX platform like the 4runner and FJ Cruiser have been. Nothing wrong with this platform but not the 300 series is all I am saying.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
10 months ago

I’m not bothered by any of the author’s faults pointed out in the article. This would be just fine to carry me back and forth to work, carry the bikes out somewhere to ride, cart the dog around, beach trips, get me up and down the steep ass hills in my neighborhood in snowy weather, etc. Stuff my current SUV does, this doesn’t look to let down in those areas. They only need to put a fitted cover over the battery box, rubber or carpet, so it doesn’t look like someone threw a welcome mat over the top of it.

Temple Of Toyoda
Temple Of Toyoda
10 months ago

80 series here, love the price and mpg. Looks like a Prado, GX is Prado, Prado is LC. I am partial to the single high trim of the 100’s and 200’s but as stated repeatedly, Lexus exists. I don’t think trim is why the 200’s didn’t sell, there are a &#$%ton of high trim sequoia’s on the road. I think the 200’s didn’t sell because Toyota didn’t ever advertise them while Corollas, Tacomas, Tundras, Sequoias, 4runners and Siennas constantly drive across all our screens, imho.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
10 months ago

This 2400 watt AC inverte… will be handy, but it would be even more handy if it could be used while the vehicle is turned off.”

As the owner and user of three different hybrid Toyotas for 120v power, you don’t want to do this.

If you use too much 120v overnight (like an air conditioner), your HV battery is dead and so is your transportation. I wonder if the power for the inverter comes off of the 12v battery? It should if it doesn’t.

We have a 1300 watt inverter attached to the 12V battery. It runs off 12v until it gets low, the HV then charges up the 12V. When the HV gets low, the gas engine runs to charge up the HV battery. Quiet and efficiently. Our Prius or Rav4 can technically run up to 1500 watts, but powering the important stuff in house has hit about 800 watts max. 1300 isn’t enough to run a full size fridge, but 2500 might. We ran for 10 days last winter on about a gallon of gas a day.

Wolfpack57
Wolfpack57
10 months ago
Reply to  Knowonelse

Doesn’t the F-150 hybrid have a feature where it fires up the engine when the battery gets low? It’s more convenient than a generator and I imagine a turbo v6 is more efficient too.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
10 months ago
Reply to  Wolfpack57

Yes – but I think what the OP was saying is that you want to keep the vehicle running so the ICE engine and the battery work together (ICE kicking on intermittently to charge the battery) to keep things running. Otherwise the <2kw battery won’t really go that far.

Used an inverter through several blackouts with PHEVs and hybrids – PHEVS are great because the battery capacity is pretty high. My maverick worked pretty well though as the ice engine would only kick on once in a while to keep things running.

Basically you’re running off of the 12v battery, then the traction battery kicks in, then the ice.

Drshaws
Drshaws
10 months ago

In the 4Runner, the seat bottoms release and then rotate forward on hinges, and the seatback then falls down into the space formerly occupied by the seatbottom, which makes for a nice flat load floor that you can sleep on”

This is how it was (still is I guess if you own one) in our MK3 Jetta. I honestly loved that design – our dog loved it even more as it created a nice little wall to prevent him from crashing down into the rear seat footwell with the seats folded down.

An exact picture seems to be unobtainium on the internet, so here’s a MK2 or MK3 Skoda showing it off…

https://www.briskoda.net/forums/uploads/monthly_12_2015/post-74330-0-79138300-1451432904.jpg

GertVAG
GertVAG
10 months ago
Reply to  Drshaws

The VW Passat B5 Variant also does this. I gave a wall of extra protection but also ate up available space in the lenght, meaning I couldn’t stretch out to sleep in it when camping.

LTDScott
LTDScott
10 months ago

As a person who catalogs parts for a living and relies on the standard year/make/model/submodel hierarchy, it’s going to be fun cataloging products for the unnamed mid-level “Land Cruiser” trim level since it’s not the base model.

Last edited 10 months ago by LTDScott
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