Toyota previews an electric, three-row Land Cruiser ahead of the Japan Mobility Show, strongly hinting at an upcoming production model.
The unibody concept features an exceptionally long wheelbase, while also previewing Toyota's new design language, introduced in production form by the internal-combustion Land Cruiser this year.
Toyota plans to field 10 new EVs by 2026 in a number of markets, but it has not detailed just which models we'll see between now and then in the US.
Just ahead of the Japan Mobility Show, which is how the Tokyo Motor Show is now known, Toyota is previewing the exterior design of the Land Cruiser Se concept.
Applying the Land Cruiser nameplate to a chiseled design, Toyota has revealed something that could see quite a lot of demand in the near future, while also giving the automotive world a glimpse of its upcoming design language. But is it something the automaker plans to produce in the coming years?
The design itself is a long-awaited breath of fresh air, featuring plenty of rhomboid shapes and a front fascia that does not try to emulate Lexus' controversial spindle grille. That detail alone is worth a deep sigh of relief. The concept has also broken free of Toyota's longtime penchant for slab-sided doors—another welcome change—opting for angular indentations along the sill line that help visually break up the surface.
The blacked-out funnel shape along the D-pillar, meanwhile, is certainly a popular stylistic detail at the moment, and it helps add balance to the side profile of the SUV in keeping with the rhombus theme.
Overall, its design is a sleeker version of the internal-combustion Land Cruiser Prado, which is headed stateside soon under the Land Cruiser nameplate.
For the moment, Toyota has shared very little about the concept, aside from unusually specific dimensions.
The Land Cruiser Se concept is 202.8 inches long, 67.1 inches tall, and 78.3 inches wide, while sitting on a 120.1-inch-long wheelbase. For comparison, the current Toyota Sienna has a 120.5-inch wheelbase, and that's a minivan with seating for up to eight.
The extra wheelbase length is certainly for the benefit of the battery, and it should also buy some extra room for the third-row passengers. The concept promises room for seven.
By far the biggest question surrounding the concept is just when Toyota plans to build something like this.
By now we've grown used to the automaker delivering new models with little drama and much shorter lead times, especially compared to various EV startups, and the concept certainly seems more than half of the way to a production model.
In fact, if not for the lack of door handles and conventional mirrors, the concept could have looked production ready. Toyota didn't even fit it with oversized wheels wearing rubber bands that are still seemingly staples of concept cars.
And there is nothing especially implausible about the various design details either, as they look 90% of the way to a production model.
Over the past couple years Toyota has said it plans to launch 10 new electric models by 2026—an ambitious timeframe, given how little has actually arrived by the end of 2023.
That means sticking to this timeline will have Toyota cranking out new EVs at the rate of two or three per year between now and then.
The automaker has certainly given the world a glimpse of some of those EVs back in 2021, occupying some fairly tame segments for the most part. But an electric Land Cruiser with seating for seven was not among them, at least not until this week.
We did see a very funky and cheerful baby Land Cruiser concept in 2021 with even boxier bodywork, intended to imagine a smaller TLC with plenty of vintage details.
This year's Land Cruiser Se concept, on the other hand, is intended as a much larger vehicle, and is perhaps more than a little enamored with the cachet of Range Rovers, but one that is also designed to settle in a very busy segment.
One thing is seemingly clear: Toyota wouldn't show a concept this detailed if it had no intention of building something like this at some point this decade.
When should Toyota offer an electric Land Cruiser (if at all), before or after 2025, given the current demand in this segment? Let us know what you think.