The Toyota Land Cruiser is making a comeback just three years after being phased out in North America, and it features an all-new, retro-inspired look. Along with its timeless appearance, the new Land Cruiser will be more reasonably priced than its predecessor.
It continues a trend toward modern cars with more off-road capability and a sharp increase in interest in SUVs that are reminiscent of vintage pickup trucks. Ford revived the Bronco off-road SUV in 2021 to take advantage of the interest in that storied company. There is a sizable following for the Toyota Land Cruiser.
The previous Land Cruiser model, which was last marketed in the United States for the 2021 model year, is slightly smaller than the current one. With a starting price of more than $80,000, that model was closely related to the Lexus LX luxury SUV and was fairly sumptuous for a Toyota. The new Land Cruiser’s starting price of $55,000 emphasizes the model’s heritage as a tough off-roader rather than a plush errand-runner. In the spring of 2024, it’s anticipated to be offered in the US.
Customers in the United States will have access to the Land Cruiser 1958 Edition, which honors the year the car was first sold there for those who really want to immerse themselves in Land Cruiser history. In place of the customary narrow, rectangular lights, it will have traditional stylistic cues like round headlights. A small batch of 5,000 First Edition cars with two-tone paint and additional off-road gear will also be offered.
The 2024 Land Cruiser will have contemporary hybrid power despite its retro appearance. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor combined in the SUV will have a maximum output of 326 horsepower. Toyota stated that the fuel economy numbers would be revealed later.
Toyota has a long-standing commitment to hybrids and recently revealed plans to offer more fully electric vehicles. Toyota believes hybrids are crucial to lowering global carbon emissions.
Toyota claimed a near doubling of its quarterly profits on the same day the Land Cruiser was unveiled, aided by higher manufacturing and sales as well as advantageous foreign exchange rates.
The model’s birthday is on Tuesday, which is the day of the unveiling. The US military was looking for a vehicle to work with their renowned Jeeps in the Korean peninsula when the Land Cruiser first made its direct appearance in the early stages of the Korean War. Toyota had previously produced massive amphibious landing craft and four-wheel-drive vehicles for the Japanese military during World War II.
According to Kurt Williams, director of the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in Salt Lake City, engineers created a vehicle they called the Jeep BJ, producing the first one on August 1, 1951. Toyota continued to develop the compact off-roader despite the fact that it did not get the military contract. The Land Cruiser was given a new name in 1955 with the intention of implying that it could traverse any terrain with ease.
Only one Land Cruiser was sold in its debut year in the United States in 1958 when it was initially made available. A subsequent model with slightly improved off-road performance and greater build quality was released in 1960. Williams claimed that this Land Cruiser, known as the Series 40, became the best-selling Toyota vehicle in the US for five years in a row due to Toyota’s recently enlarged US dealer network. With its rounded headlamps and “Toyota” branding on the grille, it is the timeless design that many American drivers are accustomed to today.
Toyota Land Cruisers are now commonplace in many regions of the world, particularly those with bad roads and few servicing facilities. Bare-bones Land Cruisers are in demand despite lacking the kind of technology and luxuries that many car purchasers are accustomed to, according to Williams, because of their toughness, ease of repair, and capacity to navigate hazardous conditions.
“Some come at it from ‘it’s the only vehicle that works where I live,’” he said. “‘I have a coffee plantation in Latin America or a mine in remote Australia.’ That’s the vehicle that reliably gets you to and from work, or gets you back home every night.”
Brian Rabold, vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty, a business that closely monitors collectible vehicles, noted that early Land Cruisers and other early SUVs have grown to be quite desirable in the collector market. One of the first SUVs to see a significant increase in value was the Toyota Land Cruiser. Classic Land Cruisers were among the first vintage SUVs to reach a value of over $100,000 between 2010 and 2015, he claimed.
A 1970 Land Cruiser that had been fitted with contemporary amenities was sold for $270,000 on the auction website BringATrailer, despite the fact that Land Cruiser values—along with those of other vintage SUVs—have dropped down somewhat in recent years.