The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Pays Homage to Its Forebears

Our first test of the 250-series Land Cruiser shows its off-road capability. 

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Review 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Review

In Australia, there’s an old saying: “If you want to go into the bush, take a Land Rover. If you want to come back, take a Land Cruiser.” 

It’s hard not to frame the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser that way. This is a car explicitly designed to evoke its forebears, the ones used globally by people and organizations for whom nothing less than the most-rugged and reliable ute will do.

Quick Specs 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser
Engine Turbocharged 2.4-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid
Output 326 Horsepower / 465 Pound-Feet
Drive Type Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive With Low Range
Approach / Departure / Breakover Angles 32 / 22 / 23 Degrees
As-Tested Price $68,295

This is a very different Land Cruiser than we’ve grown accustomed to, however. Where before, Toyota brough the full-size flagship Land Cruiser to America, it now brings the smaller, more-affordable Land Cruiser Prado, which previously came to the States as the Lexus GX. The old 200-series Land Cruiser cost $87,830 in 2021, its final year on the market; this new 250-series starts at $57,345. 

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Like all of Toyota’s latest trucks, the new Land Cruiser rides on the automaker’s TGNA-F frame, and shares a lot of hardware with the Tacoma and 4Runner. Standard in the U.S. is a hybrid powertrain that marries a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and an electric motor for 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The mill mates to an eight-speed automatic transmission, plus a full-time four-wheel drive system with low range, and lockable center and rear differentials.

Pros: Serious Off-Road Capability, Torquey Hybrid Powertrain, Throwback Looks

Toyota had us out to a ranch near the Mexican border to sample the Land Cruiser in its base “1958 Edition,” and in a fancier trim called, simply, “Land Cruiser.” Unfortunately, we weren’t able to drive either on road, so a full verdict will come later. But on sandy, reasonably challenging terrain, the new Land Cruiser proved its mettle. 

The 1958 Edition is a throwback of sorts, a tribute to purely utilitarian versions of the Land Cruisers, like the standby 70-Series still built today. The 1958 Edition comes in three colors only— white, silver, and black—and inside, you’ll find cloth seats and small screens for the gauge cluster and infotainment. There are no option packages available, just aftermarket accessories, and round headlights to evoke the original FJ40 Land Cruiser.

These bare-bones trucks also sit on very road-biased tires and do without Toyota’s excellent Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system, which helps maximize traction off road, and the anti-roll-bar disconnect featured on other models. Out on the course, it wasn’t an issue. All that grunt from the hybrid powertrain, combined with low range and locking diffs, offered more than enough capability. Obstacles included a couple of rocky hills, some steep grades, moguls to test the articulation, and a little bit of mud. It didn’t take an off-roading expert to deal with any of them. 

It’s an easy truck to maneuver on this terrain. Bulges in the hood let you know exactly where the front wheels sit, and the calibration of the hybrid system is excellent to the point that you forget it’s even a hybrid in the first place. 

Intellectually, I know the truck is doing a lot to manage the output, especially in 4-Low, yet you can’t sense any of it. There’s no true EV mode, as the Land Cruiser uses a small 1.87-kWh Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery, so you can’t fully enjoy the quiet of the outdoors. But I actually like the sound of the four-cylinder here. It’s a bit agricultural, but so too were the first Land Cruisers, and many rugged Toyota trucks over the years.

Cons: Not Much Cheaper Than Lexus GX, Multi-Terrain Select and Anti-Roll-Bar Disconnect Only On Higher Trims, Battery Limits Trunk Space

Like all the other trucks on this platform, the Land Cruiser has independent, double-wishbone front suspension, and a solid multi-link axle at the back. Approach, departure, and breakover angles are 31, 22, and 23 degrees, respectively, and there is 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

The standard “Land Cruiser” model sits in the middle of the range between the 1958 Edition and the limited First Edition. It adds a number of luxuries, plus the aforementioned MTS and anti-roll-bar disconnect.

Given this borderland terrain wasn’t too challenging, it’s hard to say how much Toyota’s MTS helped, but previous experience with the system in the mechanically similar Lexus GX indicates that it works very well when the going gets tough. Again, making life easier. What’s more noticeable is the roll-bar disconnect. A simple geared mechanism in the middle of the bar decouples and lets both halves rotate freely. This brings a huge increase in wheel articulation, and a lot more comfort off-road. You won’t be tossed around nearly as much because the wheels are all free to do their thing. (The Land Cruiser doesn’t have a rear anti-roll bar.)

Much as I want to say that the base 1958 Edition is the way to go—and it probably is, if you want to upfit it yourself—the extra $6,000 for the regular Land Cruiser goes a long way. Not only do you get the useful MTS system and the roll-bar disconnect, you get a nicer interior with leather, heated and cooled seats, bigger infotainment and gauge screens, and 360-degree cameras that help a lot with placement off road. You also get some cool color options, and FJ62-inspired rectangular headlights that I think look better than the round units. 

But either trim is very capable.

A lot of people, myself included, wondered what’s the point of having an LC and a 4Runner so close in price. I don’t anymore. 

“The Land Cruiser is a car that's loved globally...it's a vehicle that has been honed on the most rugged and treacherous terrain, so in that sense, it's an unmatched, unrivaled, unique identity for a vehicle,” says Ketia Moritsuo, chief engineer for the new Land Cruiser. “We want to be able to relay the pride of being in a vehicle like that for customers, and so that would be their experience for the Land Cruiser, that trust, that confidence, that faith they put in that vehicle."

The name Land Cruiser means something. It symbolizes everything Toyota is good at. Time will tell how this 250-series measures up, in that we’re still waiting for an opportunity to drive it on road and really push it off road. But we think this Land Cruiser should live up to the badge.

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Competitors

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser
Engine Turbocharged 2.4-Liter Four-Cylinder Plus Electric Motor
Battery 1.87-kWh Nickel-Metal-Hydride
Output 326 Horsepower / 465 Pound-Feet
Transmission Eight-Speed Automatic
Drive Type Full-Time Four-Wheel Drive With Low Range
Speed 0-60 MPH TBD
Maximum speed TBD
Weight 5,037
Efficiency 22 MPG City / 25 Highway / 23 Combined
Seating Capacity 5
Towing 6,000 Pounds
Cargo Volume TBD
On Sale Now
Base Price $55,950
As-Tested Price $68,295
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