What’s Going On With This New 300 Series Toyota Land Cruiser Spotted in the US?

Toyota doesn't sell the new Land Cruiser stateside, but this one was spotted in the Midwest one week before the Chicago Auto Show.

In case you missed the hullabaloo when it was first announced, the new Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t sold in the United States. That’s a big deal in the off-road community as the Land Cruiser has been a favorite for more than half a century, and the 300 Series seems especially sweet. You can understand why, then, this one that touched down on American soil is raising big questions.

Photos of the rig were shared on Facebook by Jorge Alvarez, who I messaged directly. He explained that the GR Sport model was on the back of a car hauler in Mishawaka, Indiana. That’s where he works at a Lexus dealer, and while he thought it might’ve been a Sequoia at first, he then realized it was the forbidden 4×4.

“Immediately I pulled over and ask the [driver], ‘What’s with the Land Cruiser?’ And he just mentioned it was a test vehicle,” Alvarez says. “We are not far from Chicago so it could definitely be a car headed to the auto show. The BMW on top also had manufacturers plates out of Michigan.”

He brings up a good point as this year’s Chicago Auto Show kicks off Feb. 9. There are still plenty of Q’s awaiting their A’s, like why Toyota would bring a model it doesn’t even sell here. And this specific Land Cruiser looks like what we’ve seen elsewhere in the world, though it does have a Launch Edition badge on the tailgate.

Alvarez said the driver “didn’t understand why we kept taking photos of it,” so it’s less likely that he knew much else about the truck. I’ve reached out to Toyota for more info and will update this post if anyone responds. Executives from the automaker have seemingly hinted at a Land Cruiser comeback in recent months, however. Jack Hollis, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, told MotorTrend that such a return is “likely.” That’s fairly strong language in media speak.

Even though we get the new and improved Sequoia TRD Pro here in the States, it doesn’t scratch the itch in the same way. It’s not quite as capable, and what’s more, that nameplate doesn’t carry the history that the Land Cruiser does. This might all be changing soon, but we ought to know by now not to hold our breath.

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