Toyota has announced the revival of the iconic Land Cruiser SUV in the U.S. market, following its discontinuation after the 2021 model year. However, the upcoming Land Cruiser is expected to undergo significant changes compared to its predecessor.
While official details are limited, it is unlikely that the U.S. market will receive the 300-series Land Cruiser available in other regions. Instead, the Lexus LX, which shares its body-on-frame TNGA-F platform with the 300-series Land Cruiser, will likely continue as the large luxury off-roader in Toyota’s lineup. The Toyota Sequoia, already a sizable three-row SUV with off-road capabilities, makes it less practical to introduce a similarly sized Land Cruiser.
Toyota seems to be eyeing the 2024 Lexus GX as the foundation for the new Land Cruiser. This approach would result in a slightly smaller Land Cruiser compared to the previous generation, enhancing its maneuverability over challenging terrains. In the past, the Lexus GX served as the upscale sibling of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a smaller variant that was not offered in the United States. According to reports, Toyota may drop the Prado badge and bring the resulting vehicle to America simply as the Land Cruiser.
To envision the revived Land Cruiser, one can expect styling cues from the 2024 Lexus GX. A rendered illustration suggests a design borrowing heavily from the GX, with a front-end resembling the Compact Cruiser EV concept revealed in 2021, which shares similarities with the 300-series Land Cruiser.
The transformation of the GX into a Toyota Land Cruiser would likely involve some decontenting to differentiate between the models. The lower trim levels of the Land Cruiser would likely offer fewer features than the Lexus GX, potentially resulting in a more accessible price point. However, off-road enhancements found in the GX’s Overtrail trim, such as rugged tires and locking differentials, could be part of a Land Cruiser TRD Pro variant.
In terms of powertrains, if the Land Cruiser Prado does arrive in the U.S., it is expected to share engines with the GX. This would likely include a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V6 producing around 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, with a hybrid option possibly following later. The turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four from the new Tacoma might be reserved for a future 4Runner replacement.
The potential downsizing and repositioning of the Land Cruiser could have implications for the Toyota 4Runner as well. If the Land Cruiser adopts a smaller footprint similar to the GX, the 4Runner could be redesigned to compete more directly with the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. It is conceivable that the GX and the next-generation 4Runner, if it becomes smaller, will offer a third-row seating option, with the 4Runner potentially dropping its optional third row.
Although the Land Cruiser Prado makeover is not expected until 2024, it is unlikely that Toyota would reveal a U.S.-specific variant ahead of its global debut. Nonetheless, these upcoming changes to the Land Cruiser have the potential to reshape Toyota’s SUV lineup and create ripple effects for other models.
Overall, the return of the Toyota Land Cruiser to the American market signals an exciting new chapter for this legendary SUV, promising a smaller and more agile version that retains its off-road prowess and Toyota’s commitment to providing exceptional utility and capability.