- The Toyota Land Cruiser SUV is poised to make its return to the U.S. market.
- We expect the new version to be similar to the recently revealed 2024 Lexus GX.
- Look for the new Land Cruiser to be revealed sometime in 2024.
Bronco, Integra, Supra—reviving a popular yet long-dead nameplate is nothing new in the automotive industry. But Toyota isn’t giving the Land Cruiser name much time to languish. The legendary SUV was only just discontinued in the U.S. following the 2021 model year, and now the automaker has already confirmed that the Land Cruiser will once again grace our amber waves of grain. However, it’s becoming apparent that the upcoming model set to arrive soon won’t share a whole lot with the last version that was sold on our shores.
So far, the only official news is that Toyota will bring the Land Cruiser name back to the U.S. market. It’s unlikely, though, that we’ll receive the 300-series LC that other markets get. Instead, the role of “giant luxury off-roader” will probably stay with the Lexus LX, which shares its body-on-frame TNGA-F platform with the 300-series Land Cruiser, as well as the latest versions of the Tundra and Sequoia. Because the Sequoia already exists as a bulky three-row Toyota SUV with available off-road-friendly bits, adding the similarly sized Land Cruiser to the mix wouldn’t make a ton of sense.
Instead, we have our eyes fixated on the 2024 Lexus GX to form the basis for the revived Land Cruiser. That would make the U.S.-spec Land Cruiser a little smaller than before, which would certainly aid its ability to navigate tricky terrain. In previous generations, the Lexus GX was the fancier sibling of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a smaller LC variant that never made it Stateside—at least not as a Toyota. According to an Automotive News report, Toyota may simply ditch the Prado part of the badge and bring the resulting vehicle here as simply the Land Cruiser.
Our illustration (top) leans into the Prado report, borrowing a hefty amount of styling from the new GX while adopting a front-end style similar to that of the Compact Cruiser EV concept, which was unveiled in 2021 and bears more than a passing similarity to the 300-series Land Cruiser. (We’re also in love with the idea of a new FJ-style compact off-roader, but one thing at a time here.)
Toyota-fying the GX will likely involve a bit of decontenting, as the Land Cruiser’s lower trim levels would logically have less equipment than the Lexus. This could also mean a lower base price, one would hope. But the off-road extras found in the GX’s Overtrail trim, such as its chunky tires and locking differentials, would surely be part of a Land Cruiser TRD Pro trim level.
If the new Land Cruiser Prado does cross over to our shores, it’s also likely to share powertrains with the GX. That would mean a twin-turbo 3.4-liter V-6, perhaps making the same 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque as the Lexus, with a hybrid model to follow later. The new Tacoma’s turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four will probably be reserved for a forthcoming 4Runner replacement.
Speaking of 4Runner, the repositioning of the Land Cruiser could have interesting implications for that mid-size model. If the forthcoming Land Cruiser shrinks its footprint to become analogous to the GX, we could see the 4Runner morph into something better targeted at the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. The GX—and possibly the new Land Cruiser—will be offered with a third row of seats, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the next-generation 4Runner get a bit smaller too and drop its optional third row.
There’s still plenty of time for speculation. According to AN‘s report, the Land Cruiser Prado’s makeover won’t debut until 2024, and it’s unlikely Toyota would jump the gun and reveal a U.S.-specific variant of it first. Nevertheless, there are some big changes for the Land Cruiser just over the horizon, and they could very well have ramifications for other vehicles in Toyota’s lineup, too.
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Cars are Andrew Krok’s jam, along with boysenberry. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009, Andrew cut his teeth writing freelance magazine features, and now he has a decade of full-time review experience under his belt. A Chicagoan by birth, he has been a Detroit resident since 2015. Maybe one day he’ll do something about that half-finished engineering degree.