The Toyota Land Cruiser is returning to North America just three years after being taken off the market there. It will have a brand-new, retro-styled look. The new Land Cruiser will look like the old ones and will cost less than it did before.
It’s part of a trend toward making new cars more off-road capable and a significant rise in interest in SUVs that look like old trucks. Ford returned the Bronco off-road SUV in 2021 to cash in on people’s interest in that old brand. The same is true for the fans of the Toyota Land Cruiser.
The new Land Cruiser is slightly smaller than the last one, which was last sold in the US in 2021. That version was very similar to the Lexus LX luxury SUV. It had a starting price of over $80,000 and was pretty luxurious for a Toyota. The new Land Cruiser will start at about $55,000, which shows that it was made to be a rugged off-roader, not a comfortable car for running errands. It is expected to be sold in the US in the spring of 2024.
People in the US who want to learn about Land Cruiser history can buy the Land Cruiser 1958 Edition, which honors the year the model was first sold in the US. It will look like a classic car because it will have round headlights instead of narrow, rectangular ones. There will also be a limited number of 5,000 First Edition models with two-tone paint and more off-road gear.
Even though the 2024 Land Cruiser looks old, it will have modern hybrid power. The SUV will have a gas engine with four cylinders that are 2.4 liters in size and will work with an electric motor to make up to 326 horsepower. Toyota said that the fuel economy numbers will be made public later.
Toyota has been committed to hybrids for a long time because it thinks they play an essential role in reducing carbon emissions around the world. It recently announced plans to offer more fully electric vehicles.
The model’s birthday is Tuesday, which is when the model will be shown for the first time. The Land Cruiser has existed since the beginning of the Korean War when the US military was looking for a vehicle to work with their famous Jeeps on the Korean peninsula. During World War II, Toyota made large amphibious landing craft and other four-wheel-drive vehicles for the Japanese military.
The first Jeep BJ was made on August 1, 1951, said Kurt Williams, the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum director in Salt Lake City. Engineers made the Jeep BJ. Even though that car didn’t get the military contract, Toyota thought the small off-roader had value and kept working on it. It was renamed the Land Cruiser in 1955 to make it sound like it could easily handle any terrain.
In 1958, when it was first sold in the United States, only one Land Cruiser was bought. Around 1960, a newer version that could go off-road a little better was better made. Williams said that the Series 40 Land Cruiser was the best-selling Toyota model in the US for five years. This was because Toyota’s dealer network in the US had just grown. With its round headlights and “Toyota” written on the grille, it’s a classic many American driver are used to seeing.
Toyota Land Cruisers are common in many parts of the world, especially where roads are wrong and there aren’t many places to get repairs. Williams said that even though bare-bones Land Cruisers don’t have the technology and luxuries that many car buyers are used to, they are still popular because they are tough, easy to fix, and can get through challenging situations.
“Some say, ‘It’s the only car that works where I live,'” he explained. “I have a coffee farm in South America or a mine in the middle of nowhere in Australia. That’s the car you can count on to take you to and from work every day or to get you home every night.”
Early Land Cruisers and other early SUVs are very popular among collectors, said Brian Rabold, vice president of automotive intelligence at Hagerty. This company keeps close track of collectible vehicles. A Toyota Land Cruiser was one of the first SUVs whose value went up quickly. He said classic Land Cruisers were some of the first older SUVs worth more than $100,000 between 2010 and 2015.
Even though the prices of Land Cruisers and other older SUVs have gone down a little bit in the last couple of years, a 1970 Land Cruiser that was updated with modern equipment and sold on the auction website BringATrailer for $270,000.