The 2022 Land Cruiser made its Japanese debut over the weekend, and Toyota has released a bunch of never-before-seen design sketches. Some show an evolution of how we got to the 300-Series' production look, while others look like something out of a dystopian cyberpunk movie. Nevertheless, it's a rare look at what goes into a vehicle with almost impossibly high expectations and 70 years of heritage.
Early ideation sketches from the planning stage show designs with more pronounced fender flares. They emphasize the bulging hexagonal shape of the flares to establish a solid and stable presence. We do see a hint of it in the production version, but they're far less pronounced. One wild variant, called "Oh Baby, You're So Hex-y" extends the hexagon motif to the rear end, which has a protruding rear door reminiscent of a space capsule. We could see it as a sci-fi planet exploration rover, as it looks far more futuristic than the "World Runner" design that appears closest to the final iteration.
Another repeated theme seems to have the Cruiser chiseled from a solid steel ingot. One goes as far as to eschew wheels altogether to emphasize the "hewn from metal" motif. Another 3D model that looks like a polished metal sculpture uses the old-school Helvetica "TOYOTA" logo instead of the intertwined ovals, a cue seen on Toyota's TRD Pro variants of the Tacoma, 4Runner, Tundra and Sequoia.
Efforts were also made to reference classic Land Cruisers, using the cab-back profiles of the 60, 80, 100, and 200-series to inform the new one. Likewise, the front graphic, with headlamps forming a wide T with the grille, show a lineage dating back to the 60-series of the 1980s.
Toyota even shows us alternate designs of the drive mode select dial, the five-layer paint process to make what is essentially white, and the material and color choice for the interior. On that last part, a hexagon theme reappears in the upholstery pattern.
While it would have been cool to see some elements like the classic Toyota logo, overall we think the designers did a pretty good job of evolving the Land Cruiser without deviating too far from a successful formula.