2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Returns With Retro Looks, Locking Diffs, Hybrid Power
Toyota went full-on retro with the 2024 Land Cruiser as the icon returns to American trails.
There was a lot of commotion when Toyota yanked the Land Cruiser out of the United States. But nobody believed it would be gone forever, right? It’s one of the most storied off-road nameplates in all of car-dom, right up there with the Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and Ford Bronco. It was always coming back. Indeed, this is the North American market's 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser that returns to our trails and its boxy roots in a package that I can’t stop staring at.
We were already gifted a preview of sorts with the new Lexus GX; to quote Huey Lewis & The News, “It’s hip to be square” at Toyota these days. It's a strong statement of purpose to roll out such straight-edged designs as other automakers focus heavily on aerodynamics. Then again, Toyota knows exactly who it's going after with this throwback look—which comes with a choice of two different headlight designs, round and square.
It's important to note that this isn’t a rebodied version of the full-size 300 Series Land Cruiser offered elsewhere in the world. Instead, it's what has historically been known as the Land Cruiser Prado, a smaller model produced since the mid-1990s that was never sold here but shared parts with the Toyota 4Runner and Lexus GX. But because this will be the one and only Land Cruiser sold in the US, it won't get the Prado suffix here. Just Land Cruiser. Got all that?
Bringing it all together, this new model will be built on the same flexible TNGA-F platform as the full-size 300 Series, the GX, the Tundra, and the Tacoma. It's 193.7 inches long, 84 inches wide including the mirrors, and 73.2 inches high, so it'll slot between the 4Runner and the Sequoia size-wise in Toyota's lineup. The Prado model has historically come in a short-wheelbase three-door configuration too, but no word on whether that's in the cards this round.
The five-seat retro 4x4 will also use a decidedly un-retro powertrain shared with the new Tacoma powertrain: a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder coupled to a 48-horsepower hybrid motor with a 1.87-kWh NiMH battery pack. It produces a combined 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque as the sole engine offering across all trim levels.
An eight-speed automatic transmission puts all that power down with help from an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case. As this is a Land Cruiser made to do all the sorts of things Land Cruisers do, the new truck also gets full-time four-wheel drive and two locking differentials—center and rear—as standard. You never know when the going will get slick, rough, or downright Antarctic.
Three trim levels will be available at launch: the entry-level Land Cruiser 1958, the top spec that's simply called Land Cruiser, and a Land Cruiser First Edition which adds a cadre of off-road goodness. The most interesting difference between the base Land Cruiser 1958 and Land Cruiser is that the former comes with round headlights, whereas the latter sports rectangular lamps. When was the last time you saw a single model with two distinct faces?
The First Edition exclusively features round headlights too, in case you were curious.
A TRD Pro trim is not part of the launch, and when I pestered Toyota’s PR about whether one was coming down the pipeline, they declined to comment on future product. Let's call it a maybe. The Land Cruiser has never followed the TRD naming structure, though we see it on the rest of Toyota's 4x4 offerings.
There aren’t many differences between the models in terms of capabilities, as the Land Cruiser 1958's approach angle is just a degree lower af 30 degrees compared to 31, but breakover and departure remain the same at 25 and 20 degrees respectively. There’s also 8.7 inches of ground clearance across the models.
There are other differences between the specs that could pull you one way or another, including the top-spec Land Cruiser and First Edition coming standard with a 265/70R18 tire—a 265/60R20 is optional for the Land Cruiser only—while the 1958 gets 245/70R18 as standard. The Land Cruiser and First Edition are also spec’d with a push-button front stabilizer bar disconnect, Rigid LED fog lamps, Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select and Multi-Terrain Monitoring systems, a 12.3-inch infotainment display, 10-speaker audio—a 14-speaker JBL system is available as an extra—and heated and ventilated power cloth seats.
There’s also an available premium package that adds heated and cooled leather-trimmed seats with lumbar support, that JBL audio system, a head-up display, a digital rearview mirror, a moonroof, "and more.” What’s the “more”? I’m not sure, but I’m intrigued.
First Editions get everything stated above, along with a roof rack, rock rails, front skid plate for engine protection, the 1958’s dope-ass round headlights, a tailgate light, back door guard, mudflaps, and leather heated and ventilated power seats. Customers shopping for the Land Cruiser grade can add the steel skid plate and rock rails if they so choose.
All three models come standard with front and rear tow hooks for easier off-road recovery, vehicle stability control, and a limited-slip rear differential. Toyota also touts the Land Cruiser’s Crawl Control, which is essentially off-road cruise control. Don't worry, it's actually usable this time around, whereas the feature's first generation was... frustrating, to say the least.
Furthermore, all three models come with Toyota’s Safety Sense 3.0, which includes pre-collision and pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings with steering assist, radar cruise control, lane tracing assist, road sign assist, automatic high beams, and Toyota’s Proactive Driving Assist, which helps reduce fatigue during long road trips.
And for those who demand options, seven colors will be available for the new Land Cruiser: Ice Cap, Wind Chill Pearl, Underground, Black, Meteor Shower, Trail Dust, and Heritage Blue, with the last two being two-tone that feature a Grayscape roof. For what it’s worth, the Heritage Blue over Grayscape looks sick in person. There will also be a host of accessories to make your Land Cruiser all your own.
As for price, well, Toyota’s playing coy and will only say that the Land Cruiser will start in the mid-$50,000 range, and will release firmer pricing closer to its on-sale date next year. That said, if Toyota can keep the base price to around $60,000, that’d undercut a lot of its competitors that don’t have the same heritage or brand cache that the Land Cruiser has. Let’s just hope that markups aren’t too insane.
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