Toyota Land Cruiser Might Return to America as Smaller Prado Model: Report

The upcoming 2024 Lexus GX could give us a good look at the Land Cruiser that just might be coming to the U.S. soon.

byJames Gilboy|
Toyota News photo


The Toyota Land Cruiser nameplate could finally return to the United States in 2024 after being withdrawn at the end of 200 Series production. However, our Land Cruiser reportedly wouldn't be the 300 Series sold in other parts of the world, but instead the analog of the Lexus GX: the Prado.

What Toyota is said to be "considering" according to "a person familiar with the plan" who spoke to Automotive News is bringing us the Land Cruiser Prado, which is a little smaller and more budget-friendly than the 300 Series while retaining most of its capabilities. It reportedly wouldn't be badged as the Prado though, just called the Land Cruiser—something Toyota does in some European markets. It could reportedly launch as soon as 2024, occupying an off-road niche above the 4Runner but below the next-gen 2024 Lexus GX.

The new GX (which debuts Thursday evening) is expected to gain improved off-road capability and refinement, positioning it as Toyota's top off-roader in the U.S. market. It's expected to use the TNGA-F platform that underpins all new-generation Toyota body-on-frame trucks and SUVs, from the 300 Series Land Cruiser to the Tundra, Sequoia, and newly revealed 2024 Tacoma. Presumably, the next 4Runner will use these bones too. Our alleged Prado can be thought of as an equivalent to the Lexus GX, but less luxurious, and maybe more rugged.

So far, the Tundra, Sequoia, and Tacoma have all offered hybrid engines as an option, and the new GX is expected to too. Citing a Japanese outlet, AN reports the GX will use a 2.4-liter hybrid four-cylinder for at least the Japanese market. That sounds a lot like the 2.4-liter hybrid turbo-four used in the new Tacoma, so it might be the same engine. (It'll also probably power the next 4Runner, the Tacoma's SUV counterpart.)

Introducing the Prado could stand to cannibalize Toyota's off-road SUV sales unless the so-called Land Cruiser was made significantly more capable than the 4Runner, or more affordable than the GX. With the top Tacoma TRD Pro falling short of midsize off-road pickup rivals in some areas, however, there may yet be room for something like a Prado. Perhaps Toyota's all-encompassing off-road strategy seen on the new Tacoma will work after all.

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