• Wed. May 29th, 2024

It’s official: the Toyota Land Cruiser is coming back to the U.S.


Jun 13, 2023
It's official: the Toyota Land Cruiser is coming back to the U.S.


The rugged, go-anywhere Toyota Land Cruiser is coming back to the American market after a brief hiatus. The brand confirmed the storied nameplate’s return in a short video posted on its social media channels, but the next Land Cruiser sold here might be smaller than the last.

Embedded below, the five-second-long preview video highlights some of the emblems that the off-roader has worn in its decades-long history. Dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts will immediately recognize the 20-Series, the 40-Series and the 60-Series models, among other variants of the Land Cruiser. Toyota’s caption couldn’t be clearer: “Did you really think we’d be gone for long? The legend returns.”

The trail of official information ends there — it’s better than nothing and it’s enough to whet our appetite. However, an unverified report claims that the next Land Cruiser we’ll see in showrooms won’t be the new 300-Series model unveiled in 2021 and sold in several global markets, including the Middle East. If that’s what you want to put in your driveway, the Lexus LX 600 is your only option. It doesn’t sound like the 70-Series Land Cruiser will receive clearance to travel here, either. Instead, we’ll reportedly get a market-specific version of the next-generation Land Cruiser Prado. It hasn’t been unveiled yet, but it should be closely related to the new 2024 Lexus GX (below) under the sheet metal.

We’re expecting body-on-frame construction, up to three rows of seats, and a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain built around a turbocharged, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This could be the same system offered in the new Tacoma, though keep in mind this is pure speculation. Visual changes will set the GX and the Land Cruiser apart, and it’s safe to assume that the Toyota will offer a less upmarket interior than the Lexus.

Several details remain shrouded in secrecy. Will the model wear the Land Cruiser nameplate or will it launch as the Land Cruiser Prado? Its predecessors have all received the “Prado” suffix, but it might become a moot point if there’s no regular Land Cruiser to differentiate it from.

Another interesting question (one that Toyota’s product planners have likely already answered) is what happens to the 4Runner. The current, fifth-generation model went on sale for the 2010 model year, so it’s due for an update, and it’s almost exactly as long, wide and tall as the current, fourth-generation Land Cruiser Prado. Can two similarly-sized, off-road-focused body-on-frame SUVs co-exist in the Toyota line-up? It’s worth noting that the 4Runner has become primarily a North American product, while the Land Cruiser Prado is a global-market model.

Oddly, our spies haven’t spotted a new 4Runner testing yet; the now-unveiled Tacoma showed up in spy shots numerous times before its debut. That doesn’t mean that a sixth-generation model isn’t around the corner, of course. Toyota will address these points and more in the coming months. While an official timeline for the Land Cruiser’s return isn’t available, the aforementioned report claims we’ll see it in 2024.

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