Reinventing an automotive legend presents a formidable challenge.
The weight of their illustrious heritage often places immense pressure on designers to update their aesthetics while preserving the defining elements that rendered them iconic. Furthermore, navigating the ever-changing corporate landscape and evolving consumer tastes can lead to dwindling sales if the wrong path is chosen.
This predicament is exemplified by the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser. Renowned for its rugged boxy silhouette, durability, and off-road prowess, it underwent a gradual transformation into a high-priced, luxurious seven-passenger SUV. This evolution saw it lose much of its iconic styling and some of its rugged character along the way. In essence, the last Land Cruiser to grace American soil—the 200 Series—departed significantly from the beloved vehicle of its heyday. Eventually, it was phased out from Toyota’s lineup. Now, following a three-year hiatus from U.S. soil, Toyota’s standard-bearer SUV and its longest-standing nameplate are poised for a significant resurgence in the form of the all-new 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser. This redesigned vehicle aims to resonate with loyal enthusiasts while simultaneously attracting a new audience through its modern features, technology, and more accessible pricing.
A Tale of Two Fronts The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, scheduled for a spring 2024 launch, will debut in three initial trims: First Edition, 1958, and Land Cruiser. In a remarkable departure from industry norms, Toyota introduces two distinct front-end designs for its iconic off-roader. The First Edition and 1958 models feature a rounded headlight configuration in their grille design, while the top-tier Land Cruiser model opts for horizontal headlights and distinctive trim elements. Many favor the rounded lights, evoking nostalgia for classic Land Cruisers. The First Edition, limited to 5,000 units, boasts exclusive front skid plates, roof racks, and rock rails as part of its package. The 1958 base model simplifies things, substituting leather for cloth surfaces and omitting several of the First Edition’s standard amenities. The Land Cruiser trim is easily recognizable with its rectangular headlights and body-colored front fascia, offering more standard equipment and technology than the other two trims.
A Return to Roots The new Land Cruiser departs from its previous upscale styling and features, harking back to the iconic FJ40 Series. Unlike the 200 Series Land Cruiser, which was the last model available in America (now represented by the Lexus LX), the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser is now a two-row, five-passenger vehicle. It forgoes chrome and Toyota logos (except for the center cap on the rims), replacing them with the Toyota name spelled out on the front grille and rear tailgate. Steel bumpers are added with a focus on off-road durability. Designers have also pushed back the A-pillars to enhance visibility and widened the wheel stance to give it a more assertive overall appearance. The square door mirrors and blocky taillights evoke memories of earlier Land Cruiser generations. A notable feature is the manually opening rear glass panel, enhancing the open-air experience or accommodating longer items protruding beyond the tailgate.
Although the Land Cruiser is a global model, Toyota’s North American-based CALTY design studio, situated in Orange County, California, collaborated closely with the Japanese team to establish the 2024 Land Cruiser’s overall design direction.
A Hybrid-Only Land Cruiser Beneath the surface, the 2024 Land Cruiser embodies a contemporary interpretation of Toyota’s recent design trends. It adopts Toyota’s truck-themed, body-on-frame-based TNGA-F platform, shared with the new-generation Tundra, Sequoia, and Tacoma. As for its powertrain, the 2024 Land Cruiser becomes a hybrid-only model, joining the ranks of the Venza, Sequoia, and Sienna. It employs Toyota’s new i-Force Max 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a 48-hp electric motor, generating a combined output of 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. This power is transmitted through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. This powertrain configuration, also available for the new Tacoma, serves as the exclusive option for the Land Cruiser in the United States at present.
All 2024 Land Cruisers come equipped with an electronically controlled, full-time four-wheel-drive transfer case and an automatic limited-slip differential. Additionally, a rear locking differential is standard on all models, distributing power evenly (50/50) between the front and rear wheels when necessary for off-road traction. The vehicle features a control-arm front suspension with twin-tube shocks and a rear multilink suspension with coil springs to ensure a comfortable cabin experience. An electric power steering system enhances driving comfort. Toyota specifies that all models will feature a trailer hitch capable of towing 6,000 pounds and 17-inch disc brakes at both the front and rear.
Distinguishing Features Among Trims While the core hardware remains consistent across all models, differences between the 1958 and Land Cruiser trims can be found in the cabin and equipment offerings. Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select, which provides various drive modes such as “Mud,” “Dirt,” and “Sand” to aid wheel control based on terrain, is standard exclusively on the top-tier trim