- the 2024 Land Cruiser It comes in 1958, Land Cruiser, and First Edition grades, with a base price for the impressive 1958 model in the mid-$50,000 range.
- Every Land Cruiser features a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid engine that delivers 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque.
- All TLCs have full-time four-wheel drive with a center lock and rear differential; A front anti-roll bar and 33-inch wheels are also available.
Toyota officially pulled the wraps off the new 2024 Land Cruiser today, in a rebirth that comes as no surprise given the enduring character the nameplate has enjoyed around the world. Now off-road enthusiasts with a spectacle of outback travel will be able to hit the road in a new Land Cruiser instead of waiting years for a used Land Cruiser with high mileage to come in handy.
It is expected that Toyota will not move away from this iconic car. Instead, the automaker called in a timeout and used it to engineer a clean break from the Land Cruiser’s increasingly expensive and bloated commercial cruiser track. This sought-after off-road vehicle has stayed true to the original concept, but Toyota has gone to great lengths to bring this off-road SUV back to a more mainstream price point.
An affordable Land Cruiser
Toyota hasn’t revealed full details, but the starting price will be in the “average $50,000.” Compare that to the minimum cost of entry of $87,030 for an arrestee 2021 Land Cruiser, and you can see why Toyota expects sales to increase so dramatically over the 3,000 to 4,000 units per year that they’ve typically moved over the past decade. They don’t say how much sales will increase, but we find that it tells them that they plan to sell all 5,000 examples of the first edition—a number they haven’t reached in a full year since 2004—within the first three months. After they were built, production would move to the less expensive base 1958 Land Cruiser (so named for the first year of Land Cruiser sales in the US) and the simply named Land Cruiser variant.
To lower the price, the new Cruiser rides on a version of Toyota’s new TGNA-F global truck platform, the modular workhorse that powers Tundras, Sequoias, and even the new Tacoma. It is the basis for the Land Cruiser 300 series in the world market, and appears under another abbreviated name under Lexus LX 600 (a variant of the American-spec 300 Series Land Cruiser) and the upcoming Lexus GX550. It also helps that the new model is a five-passenger machine, saving cost by eliminating the need for duct engineering in the third row, passenger controls, and other accommodations.
What kind of Land Cruiser is this?
In the Toyota Geek-talk Land Cruiser fans love, the new Land Cruiser is technically a 250-series. It’s not quite as big as the pure 300 Lexus LX600, but it’s newer than the 200-Series Cruisers that left the scene in 2021. All three of those cars It shares a 112.2-inch wheelbase, but the new TLC is about seven inches shorter than the LX from nose to tail. Compared to the old 200, the new model shares an overall width of 78.0 inches, is only 0.8 inches shorter, and is just 1.2 inches longer from front to rear. However, the differences seem huge in real life because the 2024 Land Cruiser has a narrow body, grille and greenhouse with prominent fender flares covering a relatively wide track. It’s clearly a skinny car that looks like it’s been modified to give it a tougher stance.
Despite the cramped body, accommodations feel more generous than the current 4Runner. Interior dimensions aren’t yet available, but the car feels just the right size. That’s because this smaller Land Cruiser isn’t quite as compact as the current one Toyota 4Runner, which still has a place to live in the hierarchy in its usual place below this new Land Cruiser. Toyota is silent on any new 4Runner details, except to say it’s not going anywhere. We think the new 4Runner, when it arrives, will enter at a lower price point with the Tacoma’s part-time all-wheel-drive system and base and mid-engine offerings. The high-performance TRD Pro will likely continue, as that would set it apart from the more land-focused Land Cruiser.
Smaller volume hybrid powertrain, better MPG
All 2024 Land Cruisers will be powered by the same 2.4-liter iForce Max hybrid four-cylinder engine and eight-speed transmission that will power the Tacoma’s model range end, most notably the TRD Pro. This powertrain’s combined output of 326 horsepower is a fall short of the old 5.7-liter V-8’s 381 horsepower ponies, but its massive 465 lb-ft of torque is better than the old model’s 401 lb-ft where it counts off-road—especially Since iForce generates peak torque at only 1700 rpm instead of 3600 rpm. An integrated tow hitch is standard, but the Land Cruiser’s smaller, less powerful towing rating drops from 8,100 pounds for the outgoing model to a still respectable 6,000 pounds.
Toyota won’t release fuel economy estimates until later this year, but we expect huge increases to 14 mpg combined in 2021 (13 city/17 highway). The reworked hybrid cruiser should also top the larger LX600’s 19 mpg (17 city/22 highway).
The use of this engine is a big reason why the Land Cruiser is such a five-passenger vehicle. The 1.87 kWh nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery in the hybrid system sits above the axle where the third row will go, and it even creates a slightly higher loading floor than we’d like to see. However, the cargo area is huge, and we appreciate how the hybrid setup allows for the installation of a standard 2,400-watt inverter and power delivery system.
The 2024 Cruiser follows the same full-time all-wheel drive scheme as the outgoing model. It has a two-speed transfer case with Torsen center differential that allows continuous four-wheel drive operation on dry pavement. The center differential locks automatically when the transfer case is shifted into a low range, or the driver can choose to lock it in a high range. All new Land Cruisers also have push-button rear differentials, Crawl Control, and Downhill Control.
The basic suspension concept is the same as before, although a change to the TNGA-F’s architecture has resulted in some detail tweaks. This cruiser still rides on a double control arm independent front suspension and a solid rear axle located by four rear links and a Panhard rod. Simple twin-tube dampers are used everywhere, but the so-called KDSS system for automatically separating the front and rear rails is no longer there. The new Lexus GX550 gets a new e-KDSS concept twist, but the 2024 Land Cruiser avoids that in the name of cost containment.
How do grades differ?
The base 1958 model was designed for those who didn’t go off-road much, but it also had appeal for those who would venture outside and would like the money to spend on a suspension modification and tires of their choice. It features 32-inch 245/70R-18 skinny tires and stable anti-roll bars. It also had manually heated cloth seats, a heated steering wheel, and a smaller 8-inch touchscreen, and it lacked a power tailgate. It has heritage-style round LED headlights, which we find very cool.
Step up to the Land Cruiser and First Edition models, and you get 33-inch 265/70R-18 tires with somewhat more aggressive tread, a front anti-roll bar for improved articulation, and a Multi-Terrain Select system that can improve traction control for various conditions in The high range as well as the low range. Both get a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 10-speaker audio system, but the Land Cruiser swaps out the round LED headlights for rectangular ones. The circular ones harken back to the first version, though, along with rock bars, a roof rack, a front skid plate, and more.
If off-road driving isn’t your thing and you’d rather roll around in 20 seconds, the Land Cruiser grade offers it as an option. Select First Edition standard fare, such as ventilated leather seats, are available in the Land Cruiser Premium package.
The jury has almost finished deliberating
We’re now less skeptical of the new Land Cruiser after we’ve looked beyond the base specs and checked it out in real life. The downsizing isn’t quite as drastic in a mechanical sense as we’d feared, and some of the dimensions aren’t that far off from the 200 series. The fact that the body is narrower and more immobile might be a positive off-road, and the fact that it’s a five-seater isn’t a bad thing. The straightforward look of the suspension is sure to spark the imagination of aftermarket tuners, so a slew of third-party accessories are sure to be online in no time.
The biggest unknown is the drivability of the iForce Max’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine. The numbers are good, and the idea of an electric motor adding torque smoothly at very low rpm seems like it has potential, but it’s still theoretical until we get behind the wheel. The same is true of the relative advantages of separating the front anti-roll bar versus the outgoing KDSS system.
Like so many elements of the new Land Cruiser, the return to a simpler, lower-cost approach has a lot of appeal. It certainly brought the price back down to earth, which isn’t a bad thing. And who could argue with a Land Cruiser that is bound to get decent fuel economy? As for the inevitable wrath of fundamentalists, more than 4,000 of them have put their money on the table every year for the past decade or so. To what extent can there be mass disorder? It is quite obvious that the demand for an expensive and inflated Land Cruiser barely existed. This new trend is bound to get more of them in the hands of those who’ve always wanted them to, and we’re looking forward to seeing all-new examples on the trails.
Dan Edmonds was born into the automotive world, but not what you might think. His father was a retired racing driver who opened a race car fabrication shop where Dan cut his teeth as a metalsmith. Engineering school followed, then SCCA Showroom Stock Racing, and the mix landed suspension development jobs at two different automakers. His writing career began when he was chosen by Edmunds.com (no relation) to build a quiz section.