Toyota exec says 'likely yes' to Land Cruiser return
We’re not sure the tease is better than nothing, but here we go. Motor Trend asked Jack Hollis, EVP of sales for Toyota North America, about the chances of the Toyota Land Cruiser coming back to the land of baseball and apple pie. Hollis told MT, “Will we ever? I would say likely yes,” adding, “Have I seen designs, thoughts, and hopes, yes. But nothing to announce. It’s still a ways off.”
This has been Toyota’s stance for about a year now. In January, at the new Lexus LX 600 media drive, an automaker spokesperson told CarBuzz, “Don’t be so quick to rule out the Land Cruiser. We obviously haven’t made any announcements yet [regarding Land Cruiser], but we are listening strongly to customer feedback.”
As a Land Cruiser owner myself, I’m always in favor of more Land Cruiser. However, it’s not clear how Toyota could bring over the new 300 Series — or any modern Land Cruiser — without running into the issues that got the 200 Series run out of the country. Current overlanding trends notwithstanding, hardly any full-size SUV owners take their SUVs as far afield as the Land Cruiser is built to go. With upper midsize competition like the Kia Telluride, a seemingly unstoppable sales monster, going for $59,000 loaded to its roof rails, about the same as a loaded Ford Explorer Timberline, the former Land Cruiser’s $87,000 base price put it too close to the sister Lexus LX and a trio of unstoppable sales monsters in the GMC full-size SUVs. We don’t see how there’s a business case for the current Land Cruiser to come back in its current form.
Even Motor Trend says, “It sounds like we should be looking beyond the current J300 series Land Cruiser to whatever the next generation model may look like, which will almost certainly need to be electrified, either hybrid or full battery-electric.” Which is fine, and makes more sense. For now, the Toyota 4Runnner TRD Pro starts at $54,000, and the LX 600 starts at $90,000. Is there room in there for a Land Cruiser that brings back the old days — smaller, simpler, body-on-frame, with two doors or four, and indestructible? That’s a hard ask. The 4Runner is still holding its own on the sales chart in spite of its compromises. Plus, that MSRP window would put a base Land Cruiser at the top end of the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco, into a price segment where buyers want convenience features more than the go-anywhere chops the Land Cruiser makes its name with. Maybe the next generation will find a way to make it happen.