Sequoia for the husband and kids, 4Runner in the middle, and Land Cruiser at the top, where it failed to generate a lot of product sales, comprised Toyota’s predictable and hierarchical portfolio.

The Toyota SUVs had larger grilles and more opulent versions than at Lexus, but they were not at all designed for off-roading.

It seems that reinventing the Land Cruiser was the answer to getting it out of its niche, and Toyota has done just that.

Land Cruiser

Toyota’s U.S. off-highway SUV solution portfolio once featured a distinctive hierarchy. The Sequoia was near the family members’ house, the 4Runner was next to it, and the Land Cruiser was parked at the top. The Land Cruiser and 4Runner were available in more opulent and pricey variations in the parallel Lexus universe, however they had significantly less clearance due to low-hanging fascia models and more massive grilles. The Lexus models have typically been far more prone to body damage and are too superficially fragile to defeat up off-road, even though they have the same excellent handling gear (and even much more power in the case of the GX).

The Land Cruiser at the top was simply too expensive for off-roaders to handle. The majority of them spent their whole careers as pavement-bound mall waggons that never set foot on the ground until they lost their lustre, clocked 100,000 kilometres, and sank to the ground before being purchased by fans. Its standing changed over time, becoming more theoretical than anything else and dependent on historical events and the exploits of styles that were only widely available elsewhere. Starting with the 100-sequence, the only Land Cruiser we ever owned was the expensive few-row behemoth with independent entry suspension, a thirsty V-8 engine, and an automated. As a result, American Land Cruiser sales have been poor, with an average yearly sales volume of only 3200 cars over the past ten years.

While this is going on, sales of the more compact and more reasonably priced 4Runner have been robust, averaging over 130,000 units per year since 2016. Even though it launched in 2009 as a 2010 model, the most recent fifth-generation product is still performing fantastically.

What took place? Off-road camping in the overland style started to gain popularity right when many full-body SUVs changed into crossovers. Toyota even planned the decision to discontinue the FJ Cruiser during this time. The few remaining off-highway body-centered SUVs started to be sought after and modified for backcountry camping. New 4Runners proved to be an excellent alternative when there were several used Land Cruisers to purchase.

New reduced turbo engines with hybrid variations and the incredibly bendable TGNA-F truck system presented a possibility for a manufacturer reset. While the Sequoia switched from unbiased rear suspension to TGNA’s excellent axle, the Tundra switched from TGNA’s coils to its leaf spring rear suspension. Whether you agree with it or not, the latter quickly evolved into a few-row, huge SUV that was far more competent of rough terrain, making it difficult to see a similar Land Cruiser in the United States. The 300-series Land Cruiser would also be supported by TGNA, but Toyota seized the chance to redesign our Land Cruiser as a significantly more affordable two-row off-roader. On the other side, Lexus made a firm commitment to the 300-series and introduced it as the LX600 in 2022.

Other markets have long had access to the Land Cruiser Prado, a more affordable and compact Land Cruiser model with independent front suspension and smaller engines. Markets that still offered the massive Cruiser with a sturdy axle front suspension could simply differentiate themselves through marketing, but that distinction has not been there in this area for a while. The idea of bringing the 2024 Land Cruiser along the Prado road isn’t only about the cultural shock that it would cause there. Because our “massive” Land Cruiser was a dud, using this method to reduce cost and make the vehicle more cheap will give the impression that this piece is sales-savvy.

Making the terrain Cruiser into a smaller, 5-passenger Prado-style off-roader is a smart choice now that the Sequoia is taking on some-row responsibilities, especially if going off-road and exploring real terrain is your thing. Parking, a lot of it. The TGNA platform would make it simple to implement, and it results in an SUV based on the 250-series Prado that isn’t all that different from the 300-series LX600 in terms of the body, suspension, and four-wheel drive system. In actuality, the two vehicles have equal monitor widths and a wheelbase of 112.2 inches. Toyota had to “destroy off” the Land Cruiser to make the switch because the 250-collection Prado is on a different development cycle.

When everything is said and done, the Land Cruiser and the new GX550—the GX has typically been based on the Prado—will occupy the same strata, but with the typical Lexus differences. The GX will have significantly worse technique and underbody clearance proportions and be noticeably longer, higher, and more opulent. A somewhat more powerful (and thirstier) 3.4-liter twin-turbo V-6 will power it. It will undoubtedly be somewhat more expensive as well. Along those lines, the new GX550 will come with the upgraded e-KDSS stabiliser bar disconnect system, whereas the Land Cruiser opts to go with the less expensive front stabiliser bar disconnect. Toyota appears to be against bringing the Land Cruiser back to its simpler beginnings in order to maintain it reasonably priced.