The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser has quite a reputation to uphold. For those who harbor an affinity for rugged SUVs or the heritage of Toyota off-roaders, the name ” Land Cruiser” resonates with the force of legend. It’s a vehicle steeped in tradition, having traversed the world’s most rugged terrains since its inception. The Land Cruiser’s lineage dates back to the 1950s, charting an epoch of evolutionary design, technological enhancements, and a steadfast commitment to four-wheel drive performance. Now, after a gap of two years, the Land Cruiser is back for 2024 as a redesigned model that’s intended to recapture its storied off-road heritage.
Toyota first exported the Land Cruiser to the United States in 1958, and it became an immediate hit. Over the generations, it found its way into the hearts of 4×4 enthusiasts around the globe, building a reputation for reliability, durability, and uncompromised off-road prowess. But the Land Cruiser also grew larger, heavier, and––dare we say it––softer with the passage of time, becoming more of a premium luxury SUV. After starting its life as a rugged go-anywhere vehicle for adventurers, ranchers, rangers, and others who live their lives in the outdoors, the Land Cruiser’s most recent previous generation, known as the 200 Series, had arguably become more at home in the suburbs.
It was still a very capable vehicle for weekends up to the camp on rutted dirt roads, but it didn’t have the aura of 4×4 ruggedness worn by its predecessors. It had also risen in price beyond what most owners would want to take out on rough trails. Toyota recognized this and discontinued the 200 Series Land Cruiser in 2021 to prepare a complete reset. Now that reset is here with the all-new 250 Series Land Cruiser for the 2024 model year.
Back to the Future
Recent generations of the Land Cruiser displayed evolutionary changes, but for 2024, Toyota started all over again with a clean sheet of paper. The new model looks nothing like its most recent predecessor. If anything, it resembles a four-door version of the FJ Cruiser that was sold in the United States from 2007 to 2014, which was itself a retro throwback to Toyota’s original two-door off-roaders. You can even see the resemblance to the FJ Cruiser in the new Land Cruiser’s front end, where two of the three trim levels sport classic round headlamps.
The rest of the new model’s body continues the old-school theme, with rugged squared-off lines, fender flares over the wheel arches, and black, scratch-proof bumpers. It even looks smaller and more agile than the previous model, and that’s not just an optical illusion. It really is smaller, measuring 1.2 inches shorter and 4.4 inches narrower. It’s narrower at the grill and the greenhouse, too, contributing to a lighter appearance. Overall, the effect is that of a more nimble off-roader that can get into and out of places the old model couldn’t.
Again, that’s not an illusion. Toyota builds the new Land Cruiser on its TNGA-F truck platform that underpins the new Tundra and Tacoma. Yes, that’s right: it’s an actual truck with a body-on-frame platform like a true 4×4 should have. It’s only available as a two-row five-seater, too, moving it further from the previous model’s luxurious boulevard cruiser image. This Land Cruiser is geared toward delivering adventure, not youth soccer teams.
Toyota has not yet unveiled official pricing for the various tiers of the Land Cruiser, but it states that the base model will begin “in the mid-$50,000 range.” This is huge news, too, and a welcome departure from the trend of ever-higher window stickers that we see when most manufacturers debut updated models. Compare it to the previous generation of the Land Cruiser’s $85,415 base price, and it seems like Toyota has pulled off a miracle with the new pricing.
Under the Hood
The new Land Cruiser returns to the days of future past with its drivetrain, too, which is now a hybrid. It combines a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an electric motor powered by a small nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Before the enthusiasts decry a hybrid four-banger, check out these numbers: 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Whoa. That is 64 lb-ft of torque more than the old 5.7L V8 engine offered and enough power for a 6,000 lb tow rating with the standard tow hitch.
This hybrid setup clearly takes full advantage of the torque inherent in electrified drivetrains. As for the fuel efficiency aspect of a hybrid powertrain, final fuel economy ratings aren’t available. But it’s a safe bet that they will be far better than the old model’s. Far, far better, and much more appropriate for a vehicle that’s designed to go hundreds of miles from the nearest gas station. Improved efficiency also befits the new model’s lower price and generally greater affordability.
Full-time four-wheel drive is standard across all three Land Cruiser trims. This 4×4 system sends power to the front and rear wheels continuously. It also gives drivers the flexibility of choosing between high and low range based on the driving conditions. The system even incorporates locking center and rear differentials, further enhancing its off-road prowess.
New for 2024 is a front stabilizer bar disconnect that offers greater wheel articulation off-road and can be re-engaged for better on-road performance at the touch of a button. This complements the Multi-Terrain Select system, which offers greater traction across different surfaces. Impressive approach, departure, and breakover angles make trail-busting and rock-crawling a breeze. Optional rock rails and skid plates protect the truck’s vulnerable bits.
Other features also help the driver maintain a controlled speed while off-roading. Downhill Assist Control seamlessly aids drivers during descents by regulating the vehicle’s speed. With the CRAWL Control function, drivers can maintain low speeds on uneven trails without touching the gas pedal.
Three Flavors of Land Cruiser
The 2024 Land Cruiser comes in three trims: 1958, Land Cruiser, and First Edition. The 1958 trim pays tribute to the year the Land Cruiser first arrived on American shores and comes with slightly skinnier tires than the other two options, along with fixed anti-roll bars. It has a slightly shallower approach angle, but only by one degree.
The Land Cruiser and First Edition trims have larger tires with more aggressive off-road tread, a front anti-roll bar disconnect, and the Multi-Terrain Select system. They also have more luxurious interiors with larger touchscreen displays and ten-speaker audio systems. The 1958 and First Edition trims have round headlights, while the Land Cruiser trim has rectangular lamps. The First Edition comes standard with rock rails, a front skid plate, and a roof rack.
The names of the trim levels indicate Toyota’s vision for this new model. The 1958 trim looks back on the Land Cruiser’s rich off-road past, while the First Edition shows that Toyota plans for this new model to be the beginning of a new legacy, one that should last for generations to come. The Land Cruiser name is one of the most storied in the annals of off-roading, and Toyota has made a very impressive effort to produce a new model that lives up to that name.