The 2024 Land Cruiser Is the Anti-Arrogant Off-Roader

2024 toyota land cruiser 1958
2024 Land Cruiser: the Anti-Arrogant Off-RoaderToyota

There’s an assembly at Toyota’s plant in Tahara, Japan that’s making three vehicles for the North American market. There’s the new 2024 Lexus GX550 that's already on sale, then there’s the upcoming 2025 next-generation Toyota 4Runner that should be available in the late Fall, and then there’s this, the new 2024 Land Cruiser that’s going on sale about now. They’re all body-on-frame vehicles, they all use the same frame, and they're all similar in size with the same 112.2-inch wheelbase. What distinguishes them will be aesthetics, market perception, and some variations in powertrain and equipment. This is market segmentation sliced thin.

Toyota has metered out a few miles behind the wheel of the new Land Cruiser at an early-April press event near San Diego, California. Those miles were over a Toyota-optimized off-road course and didn’t include any time on-road. The assumption here is that if the new Land Cruiser can handle this course, it’s not going to have much problem traversing the drive-thru at Chik-Fil-A. But that’s an assumption.

If there’s a direct precedent for this Land Cruiser, it’s not the Land Cruisers as they’ve come to be known in North America.


The North American market Land Cruisers of the previous few generations were built to a spectacular standard of quality and priced to that lofty level. The 2020 Heritage Edition Land Cruiser went out the door for $89,110 before any dealer added options. This new one starts at $57,345 for the “1958” base model and tops out at the $76,695 “First Edition” before adding in things like $560 for the roof rack cross bars. It ain’t cheap, but it ain’t as expensive as Land Cruisers have been lately.

2024 toyota land cruiser 1958

This Land Cruiser, a version of the Land Cruiser Prado that’s sold in much of the rest of the world, more closely replaces the (now retrospectively loved) FJ Cruiser that Toyota sold between the 2007 and 2014 model years. Like the FJ Cruiser, it shares its mechanical substance with the 4Runner. But instead of the 4Runner’s nearly-a-Tacoma styling, it’s packaged in an upright skin reminiscent of old FJs from the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies. The 1958 edition also has round headlights that recall those old FJs and the FJ Cruiser.

There’s argument to be made here that FJ Cruiser would’ve been a better name for this instead of sending the Land Cruiser name down-market. But, whatever. It’s not like Toyota doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to selling trucky SUVs. And Toyota is aiming to sell only 30,000 new Land Cruisers during its first year. For the Toyota behemoth, that’s a rounding error.

Like every other full-frame vehicle (Toyota or Lexus, pickup or SUV) Toyota sells in the United States, the new Land Cruiser is based on the TNGA-F component set. That means there’s a double A-arm suspension on coil springs in front and a solid rear axle located by four links and on coils. It also means most other engineering elements – steering, braking and other bits – are going to be at least closely related across the various Toyota and Lexus products.

2024 toyota land cruiser 1959 i force max engine

The sole powerplant for the new Land Cruiser is the i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain that pairs a 2.4-liter turbocharged four mated to an electric motor and a small nickel metal hydride battery pack with 1.87 kilowatt/hours of capacity. It’s the system introduced as an option on the 2024 Tacoma and, as in that pickup, it’s rated at a total output of 326 hp at 6000 rpm with a torque peak of 465 lb.-ft. as low as 1700 rpm. The only transmission is Toyota’s familiar eight-speed automatic and it feeds a full-time four-wheel drive system with low range and all sorts of electronic assistants including crawl control.

Before getting giddy about those horsepower and torque figures, keep in mind that Toyota has the lightest new Land Cruiser coming in at 5037 pounds. That’s hefty. The alternative is the go for the Lexus version, the GX 550, which shares most of its sheet metal with the new Land Cruiser and uses the Tundra’s twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V-6 rated at 349 hp at 4800 to 5200 rpm, and 479 lb.-ft. of peak torque between 2000 and 3600 rpm. A lot of that additional oomph, though, is smothered by the GX weighing about 400-pounds more (varying with trim) than the new Land Cruiser. Toyota isn’t in the free lunch business.

Yeah, the fresh Land Cruiser can be had with 20-inch wheels and all sorts of electronic kludges that ensure only the most determined person will wreck one. But it’s the simple virtues of the 1958 Edition that are the most attractive. Running on 18s inside 245/70R18 tires, it’s the antidote to the swollen haunches of vehicles like Ford’s Bronco Raptor. It has the countenance of competence, not world slaying arrogance. That’s something the original FJ Land Cruisers had.

Rugged cloth upholstery? The 1958 has that. A reasonable size eight-inch central touchscreen? That’s big enough. Locking central and rear diffs? Necessary. Plus the Crawl Control speed can be adjusted using a click wheel, which is very cool.

2024 toyota land cruiser 1958 interior

All that in mind, the driving on this course peaked at about 22 mph. And was mostly done in the low range. There’s no reason to doubt the new Land Cruiser’s ability either on-road or off-road, but this is exposure is slight. The subtleties will emerge with a longer exposure later.

Prices for the recently-revived Land Cruiser start at $57,345 for the 1958 model. That’s a premium over the completely different (but exactly the same) new 4Runner which is coming this Fall. But it’s a discount compared to the near-twin GX 550. The guess here, however, is that Toyota will sell a lot more Land Cruisers than it's projecting. Not just because it’s (presumably) capable even over smooth pavement, but because it has the right look.

2024 toyota land cruiser 1958 rear end

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