After a three-year hiatus, the updated Toyota Land Cruiser is finally back in the US, but not the same as it was before. Today we prepared an overview of the legendary Japanese SUV.
The 5.7-liter V8 is gone for good, and the well-known 2.4-liter i-Force Max turbocharged hybrid that produces 326 hp and 465 Lb-ft of torque comes in its place. This is 55 hp less but 64 Lb-ft more, and the last figure makes a difference. The V8 of the old Cruiser developed maximum torque only at 3,600 rpm, and the 465 Lb-ft of the four-cylinder engine is already available at 1,700 rpm.
It does not look like the Land Cruiser 300, but it is a more consistent interpretation of the Toyota model that first appeared in the US in 1958. Back then, it was a serious off-road vehicle with such core values as quality, off-road capability, and reliability. It turned into a Japanese marque's bestseller, indirectly boosting sales of the original Land Rover Defender because buyers realized that all-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicles could be incredibly reliable. But then Toyota began to add premium elements to the Land Cruiser. It got bigger and fatter, going from a hardcore SUV to a luxury station wagon. It became too expensive, began to lose its former popularity, and its share in the US market fell to such an extent that Toyota stopped importing it into the United States. With the new Land Cruiser, Toyota tries to achieve the best combination of reliability, comfort, affordability, and, most importantly, the hearts of American drivers.
The new Land Cruiser SUV equipped with a 2.4-liter i-Force Max turbocharged hybrid with 326 hp and 464 Lb-ft of torque has half as many cylinders as the old V8 but more torque, thanks to a 48-horsepower electric motor paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that feeds a small 1.87 kWh NiMH battery. The appearance of a manual transmission seems unlikely because it can only be combined with a 2.4-liter turbocharged version of this engine without a hybrid. A full-time all-wheel drive system with a locking center differential comes as standard. It has a two-speed transfer case with low and high range and an electronically locking rear differential that allows power to be split 50/50 between the rear wheels if the ground gets too rough. The only thing missing is a differential lock at the front, but we're willing to bet it will appear on the options list.
Compared to the Land Cruiser 300, the new model is slightly narrower and shorter, but it's not a small car. Thanks to the compact dimensions and the boxy design, which gives a more accurate idea of where the body ends, it should be easier to move along narrow forest ruts. The frame is made of high-strength steel with laser welds, which makes it even more rigid.
In terms of design, consumers can choose from three variants of the Land Cruiser: the 1958 Land Cruiser, simply the Land Cruiser, and the Land Cruiser First Edition, which is to be released in the amount of five thousand cars. The '1958' has a retro look with round headlights (like the very first edition) and an 'old' TOYOTA badge, while the regular Land Cruiser has thin rectangular headlights, bringing us back to the FJ 62.
Many drivers and experts will inevitably compare the 2024 Land Cruiser to the Jeep Wrangler, which remains true to the axles, considering them the best and only off-road solution. However, several SUVs with independent suspension at once refute this theory. Their roster includes the Land Rover Defender, the Ford Bronco, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and now, the new Land Cruiser. It features a newly developed double wishbone system, with two twin-tube shock absorbers at the front and a multi-link system with coil springs at the rear. Power steering and 17-inch wheels come standard.
Approach, exit, and ramp angles for the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser are 31, 25, and 22 degrees, and ground clearance is 8.7 inches. All trim levels come standard with tow hooks front and rear, in case you need to haul it out of the mud at some point. The Multi-Terrain Select system is only in the Land Cruiser configuration (the Land Cruiser First Edition). It includes 4WD-High and 4WD-Low modes, Mud, Dirt, and Sand driving modes. Toyota doesn't offer as many driving modes as some competitors, but in our experience, they are enough, and you feel the difference. Low-speed off-road cruise control is standard, as is a hill-descent system. If you're solo off-roading, which is never a good idea, and you don't have a co-driver, the Multi-Terrain Monitor will help you by displaying obstacles on the 12.3-inch touch screen.
There are only three trim levels available at the moment:
To keep costs low, the entry-level 1958 comes with black cloth seats and an 8-inch touchscreen display (with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay). The Land Cruiser comes with SofTex seats, a 14-speaker JBL Premium audio system, and a large 12.3-inch touchscreen. The Max Package includes heated and ventilated leather seats (for the front seats), a digital rearview mirror, a sunroof, wireless charging, and more. All models will be equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0.
The new Land Cruiser will be assembled in Japan and appear in America in the spring of 2024. Retail prices will be announced later, but Toyota promises MSRP to start at $50,000, dropping prices on the used Land Cruiser model.
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