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Over the course of automotive history, very few nameplates have enjoyed the kind of devout enthusiasm that the Land Cruiser has amassed, and it’s easy to understand why.
When it was first introduced to the U.S. back in 1958, the Land Cruiser was an unapologetically no-nonsense affair: Clearly taking some inspiration from the Jeeps of the day, it offered features like a fold-down windshield and rear jump seats, while its two-tone paint and chunky bodywork gave it a formidable, instantly recognizable look.
The ensuing decades saw the Land Cruiser mature into a more sophisticated vehicle, though. While off-road prowess always remained a hallmark of the SUV, it slowly evolved into a premium offering that increasingly emphasized creature comforts and luxury amenities, and its price tag climbed accordingly. Now, after a three-year hiatus, Toyota’s iconic sport-utility vehicle is returning to North America, and it’s a decidedly different machine than the one it replaces.
Bolstered by a new heritage-inspired look, the 2024 Land Cruiser sees Toyota shifting to a back-to-basics focus that returns its beloved off-roader to a more purposeful mission while also making it more accessible to mainstream buyers. The changes go far deeper than the price tag and the sheet metal, though, so let’s dive into the details.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that the 2024 Land Cruiser is a significant departure from the outgoing SUV. The soft-edged bodywork and luxury trappings that we last saw in 2021 have been ditched in favor of a squared-off, purposeful look that incorporates a number of aesthetic cues from throughout the Land Cruiser’s history, like the round headlights that are equipped on the “1958” and First Edition models, or the rectangular-style headlights on the standard “Land Cruiser” trim that recall the FJ62-generation trucks (more on that below).
In keeping with the theme, the two-row 2024 Land Cruiser’s interior moves the emphasis away from posh materials toward a more pragmatic mission, though it's certainly not sparsely appointed. Depending on the trim chosen, the new SUV will be outfitted with either an 8.0-inch or 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both of which support wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. At the same time, two different instrument cluster configurations are available depending on the trim level selected.
All 2024 Land Cruisers also come standard with a push-button start and Smart Key system that allows for vehicle entry and tailgate access via a smartphone app. Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 – the automaker’s latest suite of active safety and convenience systems – is also standard across the board and includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assistance, forward pre-collision warning, and automatic lane centering. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and hill start assist are also included.
Rather than developing a re-bodied version of the 300 Series Land Cruiser that’s offered in other markets across the globe, the new U.S.-bound Land Cruiser shares its underpinnings with the Land Cruiser Prado sold in Europe and other regions. It utilizes Toyota’s TNGA-F body-on-frame platform, a modular architecture that’s seen use in the latest Tacoma and Tundra pickups, along with the Lexus GX and LX models.
Toyota notes that this new ladder frame allows for more rigidity in the chassis compared to the 200 Series model thanks to the use of high-strength steel with blanking and laser welds. It’s also 4.4 inches narrower and 1.2 inches shorter overall when compared to the outgoing Land Cruiser, changes which Toyota says should make the new SUV more surefooted off-road.
The new architecture utilizes a double-wishbone suspension design up front and a multi-link setup with coil springs at the rear. An electronic sway bar disconnect system comes standard on all models aside from the base model.
In “Land Cruiser” and First Edition trims the new sport-utility offers 8.7 inches of ground clearance and approach, break-over, and departure angles of 31 degrees, 25 degrees, and 22 degrees respectively, while the approach angle on the base “1958” trim level drops to 30 degrees due to its slightly smaller tire. Stopping power is provided by 17-inch disc brakes at both the front and rear regardless of trim level, and a trailer hitch is equipped on all 2024 Land Cruisers that allows the SUV to tow up to 6000 pounds.
To help maintain its status as an SUV with serious off-road prowess, a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a center-locking differential also comes standard regardless of trim, as does a two-speed, electronically-controlled transfer case, an electronic locking rear differential, and front tow hooks.
Another piece of hardware that’s outfitted by default regardless of options and trim level is the new 2.4-liter engine. Like many of you, we’ll miss the burly grunt of the naturally aspirated 5.7-liter V8 in the outgoing Land Cruiser, but don’t lose faith just yet: The new turbocharged four-cylinder mill is paired up with a hybrid system that consists of a 1.87-kWh NiMH battery pack and a 48-horsepower electric motor that’s integrated into the eight-speed automatic transmission.
It’s the same combination that’s offered in the new Tacoma, and here it dishes out a total system output of 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Although that’s down 55 hp from the V8, it’s an improvement of more than 60 lb-ft. And while we won’t know the specifics until the figures are revealed later this year, it’s safe to assume that the new Land Cruiser offers significant fuel economy improvements over the outgoing model.
The new Land Cruiser with initially be offered in three trim levels. Interestingly, Toyota has chosen to offer two different LED headlight designs for the new SUV, and which one you get depends on the trim level that you choose.
1958 – Serving as the base trim level for the new Land Cruiser, the 1958’s round headlights are a nod to the ones on the original U.S. model. The 1958 includes all of the standard equipment mentioned above and is equipped with 18-inch wheels and 31.5-inch tires, round LED fog lamps, heated cloth seats, a heated steering wheel, the aforementioned 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display, a six-speaker sound system, a 2400W AC converter, and a slightly smaller digital instrument cluster versus the higher trims.
Land Cruiser – The mid-range offering is known simply as Land Cruiser. It’s particularly notable due to its rectangular headlights – it will be the only trim level that receives them for the 2024 model year. The Land Cruiser trim also gets upgraded, color-switchable LED fog lights from Rigid Industries, along with beefier 32.6-inch Michelin LTX Trail tires that are wrapped around upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels.
Roof rails, the sway bar disconnect system, Multi-Terrain Select drive modes, and Multi-Terrain Monitor trail cameras are also included as part of the package, as is the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a ten-speaker audio system. Rear climate controls, an electronically-operated rear hatch, and faux-leather power-adjustable seats with heating and ventilation bring some additional civility into the mix as well.
An available premium package for this trim level offers 20-inch wheels, a digital rear-view mirror, a heads-up display, a sunroof, and a 14-speaker sound system.
First Edition – Limited to just 5000 examples in total, the First Edition is equipped with the round LED headlights of the base 1958 model but comes packing all of the Land Cruiser trim’s features as well as rock rails, a skid plate, mud flaps, and a roof rack. Inside it also scores real leather upholstery.
The new Land Cruiser will initially be offered with seven paint color options: Ice Cap, Wind Chill Pearl, Underground, Black, Meteor Shower, Trail Dust, and Heritage Blue, while the two-tone Trail Dust and Heritage Blue exterior colors are paired with a Grayscape roof.
Toyota isn’t offering specifics about the cost of any of these trim levels or options just yet, but the automaker has said that the Land Cruiser should start somewhere in the mid-$50,000 range for a base 1958 model, which is a far more palatable MSRP than the near-$87,000 starting price of the outgoing Land Cruiser. Sales of the new SUV are expected to start in the spring of 2024, and we should have more information on pricing, fuel economy, and other details early next year.