I have Janet Jackson playing in my ears as I sit in a Delta Comfort+ seat on the way home from the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser reveal in Salt Lake City, Utah. I’ve slept on the new ‘Cruiser, discussed it with a gaggle of other automotive media (seriously, Toyota invited so many of us) and now I have some Feelings.
To start, this “Land Cruiser” is in fact a Land Cruiser Prado. The rest of the world still gets the bigger 300-series Land Cruiser “Wagon” that is an evolution of the U.S.-spec that died in 2021. We have received the Prado for a few decades now as the Lexus GX, but it’s important to remember that the Land Cruiser branding has meant a lot of things to Toyota and on a global scale, still does.
I didn’t take great photos of these details last night, so enjoy some photos of the museum collection instead.
It Looks Good and Presents Well, Materials-Wise
I think the styling of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser is fantastic. It’s a nod to Land Cruisers of days past – emphasized by the reveal being hosted at the privately-owned Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Museum – and while it’s a bit of heritage-meets-Lego, in person it works. It’s good. I’m more a fan of the round headlights on the Land Cruiser 1958, but both are attractive.
Inside, materials are what you’d expect from an off-road-oriented SUV like this. The base 1958 model has black cloth, which is a thick, nice fabric that looks very retro but not in a cheesy, mouse-hair way. Meanwhile, the Heritage Blue Land Cruiser that was also there for the sitting had Java Brown SofTex, which is a totally pleasant fake leather in a great color. The driver’s seat had an extendable thigh support but the passenger seat did not. Odd.
Materials overall aren’t what I’d call “plush” in the trucks we poked at, but they’re plenty fine and if you want plush, go buy the Lexus GX.
The Hybrid Battery Setup Presents the Same Cargo Area Hassle as the Sequoia
I whined about the 2023 Toyota Sequoia’s rear cargo area and third row situation a few months ago. Hybrid battery placement there means you cannot fold the seats and have a totally flat floor, unless you use a removable shelf that Toyota gives you. The entire arrangement sits a few inches above the actual cargo floor and reduces vertical height available for cargo.
Unfortunately, it appears to be more of the same with the 2024 Land Cruiser. Every Land Cruiser will be a hybrid and there is the same odd rear floor going on. Toyota gives you some storage bins on the sides and toward the liftgate latch, but I’d rather the whole floor be flat. I’m sure there’s some specific requirements for hybrid battery packaging, temperature regulation, and so on that dictate where it be placed… but I still don’t like it.
No Third Row, but It’s Ready for One
Unlike the twin Lexus GX, the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser does not have a third row of seats. Okay, fine, they’re separating the models a bit and perhaps cannot fit the third row and hybrid battery in the same space. But Toyota – at least on the two pre-production trucks we saw – left all of the um, provisions, for the third row.
Truly, there’s USB ports back there, cupholders molded in to the plastic trim and even cutouts that look very seatbelt-shaped. The second row seats tumble forward as if to provide access to seats that could exist but don’t.
I don’t know if they’ll eventually add a third row, or if all of these bits will be removed when production begins in the spring, but it was interesting to see.
Bigger Tires and Different Wheels Will Go a Long Way
The biggest tire that Toyota will fit to the 2024 Land Cruiser is roughly 32.6″ in diameter – it’ll come on the mainstream Land Cruiser grade, not the more basic 1958, as a 265/70R18. And every tire option will be a highway-focused all-season, not an all-terrain. While those tires will undoubtedly be appropriate for most buyers doing most things, the Land Cruiser will look so much better with a bigger tire.
I heard rumblings that a 35″ tire might fit. Don’t take it as gospel but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Personally, I can’t stand black wheels. Stylistically they always kinda disappear on literally any vehicle, and they show damage very obviously. Someone else pointed out the issue will be compounded if buyers take these Land Cruisers off road and whack some rocks or whatever else you can find to attack the wheel. I’d love to see a regular ol’ silver wheel, or even bronze (hey special edition, I see you).
I’m Curious About Some Towing Decisions
Toyota is either offering or including a built-in trailer brake controller, which is great to see given the standard trailer hitch and 6,000 pound trailer capacity. It’s located to the left of the steering wheel and appears the same as what’s in a Tundra. Nice.
The hitch itself is covered by this interesting plastic bump of a panel on the rear bumper cover. I couldn’t figure out quite how it was attached, but my hope is Toyota has seen fit to do something better than those infernal push-pins that require a flathead screwdriver to release.
Trailer wiring is found next to the hitch panel, with both seven- and four-pin connectors. Previous Land Cruisers had this wiring tucked way up under the bumper cover, to prevent ripping the connector off on tricky off-road maneuvers. This connector appears more vulnerable.
This Tees Up the 4Runner to be (Potentially) Very Different
Assuming Toyota keeps the 4Runner around for a sixth generation, which would be silly if not, it’ll obviously move to TNGA-F like everything else. I’m curious about positioning and drivetrain more than anything. One friend offered the possibility that Toyota stuffs the non-hybrid 2.4-liter turbo four in the new 4Runner, as found in many new Tacomas, and offers it with both automatic and manual transmissions.
If Toyota did something that wild, I could see the 4Runner being repositioned as more of a Wrangler and Bronco competitor. Would they go so crazy (a calculated crazy, of course) as to give the 4Runner removable roof panels and even doors? Is the Land Cruiser the more serious one, a Toyota Grand Cherokee of sorts, leaving New 4Runner to be more wacky?
I dunno. It’s all rumors and thoughts right now.
I Asked for More Colors
I rode the shuttle bus back to our hotel with the lead engineer of the 2024 Land Cruiser, and he asked us what we all thought. Everyone was pretty open and feedback was all generally positive. I echoed the sentiments of being tentatively excited – we can’t really have true opinions until a drive, of course – but had to ask about paint colors. The palate is, disappointingly, a variety of whites and grays with a currently-trendy sandy-beige and the fabulous light blue. Where’s… more color?
“Well, I love color, my personal truck is Voodoo Blue right now,” was a promising response. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of special editions with more fun colors, but I’d still love to see the “regular” models available in red, or green, or orange, or whatever. Unfortunately, color is a constant challenge industry-wide and every manufacturer likes to play it safe – it’s not just a Toyota thing.
It’s tough to get a very detailed impression at these events. People are swarming the display vehicles and you can’t really “relax” and take it all in as you might at a first-drive event or during a regular loan. That said, the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser made a great first impression.
There is still plenty to learn about how it drives, especially with the yet-undriven-off-road iForce Max hybrid and turbo-four setup. Toyota is betting the farm on drivetrain reliability and I hope to see it pay off as their prior inline sixes and V8s have in older ‘Cruisers.
For now, though, color me (well, grayscale me) tentatively excited.