Will the Land Cruiser make a U.S. comeback?
In an interview with Jack Hollis, executive vice-president of sales for Toyota, Motor Trend asked him if we might see a return of the legendary Land Cruiser, which disappeared from American showrooms in 2021.
His answer: Likely yes.
“Obviously Land Cruiser is such an important part of our heritage and has done such a great job. And I’ll be looking at it, absolutely. Have I seen designs, thoughts, and hopes, yes. But nothing to announce. It’s still a ways off,” Hollis said.
That’s good news for the substantial number of Land Cruiser fans. But we have to hope that Toyota does the right thing by the Land Cruiser name and injects some of the past glory into the product, which continues to enjoy superb resale value.
But let’s face it: The models that continue to climb in value are not the rather bloated, high-priced Land Cruisers that we last saw. It’s the older, more rugged models that have the hardware to back up that off-road pedigree. Toyota and Lexus have plenty of big SUVs, and they’re getting another, with the new Grand Highlander.
Why can’t Toyota build a genuine off-roader, something that would give the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco a run for its money? The Toyota FJ Cruiser may have ended production in 2014, but it has some powerful resale value, even if the new models didn’t sell particularly well for various reasons, including the fact that the truck had the outside visibility of a submarine.
That Hollis says a new Land Cruiser is “a ways off” may actually be good news. Toyota has a generic-looking Land Cruiser that is sold in other markets, just not here. It would not take a lot to bring it to the U.S., but it doesn’t sound like that’s what Hollis is referencing. That could mean we could actually get a genuine descendent of the storied FJ40, or even an FJ55.
Certainly the 4Runner still has some solid off-road chops, but the model’s getting long in the tooth. A 4Runner platform would work for a Land Cruiser, but it seems likely that any new project like that would have to be electric to get funded. The Ford Lightning and the Rivian R1S prove that electric power works off-road as well as on, so an electric true Land Cruiser would, we suppose, be better than nothing.
But we’d rather see a hybrid Land Cruiser that has the range needed for some true off-off-road travels without having to factor in a charging station or battery weight to your route planning.
Toyota, is that too much to ask? A lot of Land Cruiser fans await your answer—as well as a lot of dealers losing sales to the Bronco and Wrangler.
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