August 01, 2023 4 min read
This all-new 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser is fucking impressive. Let’s just get that out of the way first, because I think the best way to illustrate how cool this thing might be is to start with a few caveats.
One: Things did not start well for Toyota’s new TNGA-F platform. The first vehicles that share the new chassis that will underpin all Toyota 4x4s for the foreseeable future—the Tundra and Sequioa—are duds. After 16 years, Toyota finally released a new Tundra that still couldn’t hold its own with the competition. And the Sequoia’s payload is so low it can’t safely fill all of its seats. That the new Land Cruiser also uses this platform had me seriously concerned.
Two: No one’s driven this thing yet. All anyone has at this stage are these heavily retouched press photos, and a very limited spec sheet. Everything here looks solid, but sometimes numbers don’t always add up the way you hope they will.
Three: The Land Cruiser name brings with it a lot of of expectations. And by denying Americans the full-fat 300-series Toyota has created some angst amongst fans that we may be denied access to the real Land Cruiser.
But man, this thing looks good.
That basic rundown is that Toyota has combined a unique body (some stuff is shared with the new GX) with the TNGA-F platform, plus the 2.4-liter turbocharged hybrid four-cylinder out of the new Tacoma to create what will be sold in the rest of the world as the Land Cruiser Prado. Like a real Land Cruiser it has a 112-inch wheelbase, full-time four-wheel drive, and a disconnecting sway bar.
If there’s one component on the new Cruiser that might be a little disappointing, it’s that front sway bar. There is no rear, and the disconnect is electronic, rather than hydraulic. If you’re not familiar with KDSS, as used on the old 200-series, I’ll spare you the nerd fest, and just explain that it delivers flatter cornering on-road (since it works on both axles), and more reliable actuation off-road, since it’s entirely hydraulic with no electronic components whatsoever. But hey, the sway bar does still disconnect on this new vehicle, and that’ll be a boon to articulation no matter what.
Something that does not need to be caveated is the new interior. The inside of my 200-series, which cost $85,000 just a couple of years ago, looks like it came out of a Nissan Frontier from about 2003. It’s a huge bummer in an otherwise handmade, ridiculous overbuilt truck. But look at the inside of this thing. It’s all big screens perforated leather, and sexy piano black toggle switches.
The other thing the new Cruiser has that the old one could only get in the aftermarket is the locking rear diff. Combine that with the full-time 4WD system, plus Toyota’s latest, greatest electronic traction aids, and if this thing can keep its tires on the ground half as well as the 200, it’ll have that truck beat on traction by a county mile.
And all the above is doubly impressive, because Toyota says it’s going to start not at $85,000, but in the, “mid-$50,000 range.” That’s right, you can now buy a freaking Land Cruiser for 4Runner money. Speaking of which, given how good this truck adds up with that motor from the new Taco, what niche is the next 4Runner going to try to fill? Could it move down in price to chase customers out of Subarus?
Customers who wanted a mid-size 4x4 to use off-road used to be trapped in an unwinnable dilemma. The Wrangler is so long it can’t climb over speed bumps, and is so unreliable it spontaneously combusts the second you leave a dealer lot. The 4Runner is slow, you can’t see out of it, and it costs about $49,000 more than the sum of its components. The Grand Cherokee is a luxury crossover, not a real off-roader. The Bronco is too small inside to bring even an overnight bag. The only half-decent answer used to be the GX, but that truck dates all the way back to the Pleistocene and looks like your grandma bedazzled a jellybean. But with this new Land Cruiser, that’s no longer the case. If you want a 4x4 you can live with, don’t want a pickup, want to go off-road, and need something reliable, then this Land Cruiser is now the answer. I think it’s the right answer for pretty much everyone. That’s remarkable. Nicely done Toyota.
Want the always-there convenience and instant up and down of a rooftop tent, on your new Land Cruiser? We don’t yet know this thing’s payload or dynamic roof load, and we don’t know how it’s going to drive. But weighing just 135 pounds, the GoFastCampers Platform RTT is going to the the lightest, slimmest, strongest tent you can buy.
And those factors matter because they add up to less wind noise, better fuel economy, and decades-long durability. Because the GFC RTT is designed to double as a roof rack, you’ll also be able to take advantage of it day-to-day in order to mount lights, radio antennas, MaxTrax, awnings, solar panels, and pretty much anything else you can think of. And you’ll be able to do that while still enjoying the ability to carry boats, bikes, or boards on top. The tent can open with up to 75 pounds on the roof. It’s stable and dry in bad weather, and opens up for panoramic views when it’s nice out.
Put a GFC on this new Land Cruiser and you’ll have a total setup that works just as well running errands in the city as it does setting out for a round-the-world adventure.