While its Stateside presence never quite matched its international popularity, the Toyota Land Cruiser has always been a respected name, known by many for unparalleled off-road capability, dependability, and sound engineering that has impressed generations of enthusiasts and drivers. As a large and incredibly luxurious SUV, the Land Cruiser was discontinued in the North American market recently, and with its departure, Toyota left a void in the already-small group of SUVs that exist in the Land Cruiser’s echelon of off-road capability, but the Land Cruiser is back with a different take on the same incredible off-roader.
The new Toyota Land Cruiser has returned after three years away, this time as an SUV based on Toyota’s TNGA-F global truck platform, which makes for a slightly smaller footprint (4.4 inches narrower and 1.2 inches shorter) than the outgoing model. In addition to being smaller, the Land Cruiser is also more affordable, with prices starting in the mid $50,000 range. The new Land Cruiser returns to the roots of the original, which was a rugged and more Spartan vehicle before becoming a large luxury SUV.
The new model will be offered with only one powertrain: the i-FORCE MAX 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid with an impressive 326 horsepower and 465 lb/ft of torque. While fuel economy figures have yet to be announced, they’re sure to be an improvement on the V8-powered Land Cruisers of the past. Other heritage-inspired touches will include the 1958 trim level’s round LED headlights and “TOYOTA” grille, or FJ62-inspired square headlights. Off-road and rugged qualities are ensured with the inclusion of a trailer hitch with 6,000-lb towing capacity, a two-speed transfer case, and a locking rear differential.
While ruggedness is a priority, technology is part of the package, with a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, as well as features like an optional 14-speaker JBL audio system, optional 4G connectivity, as well as wireless device charging. To celebrate the return of the Land Cruiser, Toyota is offering a First Edition trim level, which will be limited to 5,000 units in North America, featuring premium touches including leather-trimmed seats and 18-inch wheels. With manufacturing taking place at Toyota’s Tahara and Hino plants in Japan, the first examples are set to arrive on U.S. shores in the spring of 2024, and when it does, a true off-road legend will have returned.