2024 Toyota Land Cruiser: Appreciating the Return of a Legend

Published on April 16, 2024 in First Drives by Antoine Joubert

Except for the 70 Series aimed at the mining industry, the Land Cruiser exited the Canadian market in 1989, with Toyota choosing to focus on the cheaper 4Runner on this side of the border. Down in the U.S., the Land Cruiser continued to be sold until 2021 when the next-generation Sequoia was introduced. At the time, the automaker was already planning a more compact successor akin to the Land Cruiser Prado sold overseas.

Incidentally, the Land Cruiser Prado was the Toyota equivalent of the Lexus GX. Guess what? It still is. The all-new 2024 Land Cruiser is closely related to the more luxurious GX, with one big difference under the hood.

For sure, nostalgia and adventure will be a key part of Toyota’s marketing strategy with this vehicle as the company attempts to justify the higher price over the recently introduced 2025 4Runner. Like every other Toyota truck, both the Land Cruiser and 4Runner ride on the TNGA-F body-on-frame architecture and offer a hybrid powertrain.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The Largest Selection of SUVs

From the Corolla Cross to the Sequoia, Toyota boasts the largest selection of SUVs in North America. Where does the Land Cruiser fit? Well, that’s a bit tricky. It comes with five seats only and is not necessarily bulkier than the new 4Runner. Plus, the name doesn’t carry nearly the same weight or prestige in Canada as it does in the U.S.

The Japanese-built Land Cruiser arguably has more presence and a more refined interior than the 4Runner, which borrows its cockpit from the Tacoma midsize pickup. There’s a tad more space, too, but more importantly drivers will appreciate the genuine, old-school SUV design. Want to feel like the king of the jungle? The Land Cruiser is the one to get.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Impressive Hardware and Abilities

Toyota’s media drive event included very little time on paved roads. The idea was to showcase the Land Cruiser’s exceptional off-roading and obstacle-clearance skills afforded by the 8.7 inches of ground clearance plus approach and departure angles of 31 degrees and 22 degrees, respectively. Skid plates and a multi-link rear suspension also contribute to the rugged yet nimble package.

Other standard goodies include a full-time 4WD system with a centre locking differential and an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case with high/low range, hill descent control and crawl control. Higher-end models add Multi-Terrain Select, which offers adjustable settings to help control wheel spin on a variety of terrain (mud, dirt and sand), as well as an all-new front stabilizer bar disconnect that increases flex at the push of a button. The available 20-inch wheels aren’t ideal for maximum off-road capability, mind you.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The Land Cruiser comes out of the factory with seriously impressive hardware and abilities in all kinds of trails. We can only imagine what a modified unit equipped with a lift kit and more aggressive tires would be capable of. On that note, look for Toyota to offer a host of TRD parts and accessories designed to tackle even more challenging conditions and remote locations.

Solid as a rock, the Land Cruiser displays remarkable build quality and makes you feel like it could endure abuse for decades. Of course, like most off-road-ready SUVs, body roll is present and steering lacks precision. Strong braking power also results in significant weight transfers. Overall, though, the vehicle proves stable and incredibly comfortable.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The Land Cruiser is exclusively powered by an i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain combining a turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and producing 326 horsepower. The 465 lb-ft of torque, available from just 1,700 rpm, make all the difference and contribute to effortless acceleration anywhere, anytime. Factor in the smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, and you get a brawny SUV with 56 additional horsepower and 30 percent better fuel economy than the outgoing 4Runner.

More specifically, the Land Cruiser achieves around 10 L/100 km combined, which is pretty exceptional given its weight, size and non-aerodynamic shape. Naturally, it will burn more fuel than that when pulling 6,000 lbs, which is the maximum towing capacity announced by Toyota.

Attractive Off-Roader

The attractively styled 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser comes in three flavours. The base 1958 model carries vintage flair with round LED headlights and a “TOYOTA” heritage grille, but we prefer the mid-grade Land Cruiser or the top-line First Edition. The former switches to rectangular headlights, while the latter offers a roof rack, rock rails, two-tone exterior and round heritage headlights.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

The Land Cruiser further stands out with clever touches like removable bumper corners that can easily be replaced separetely from the rest of the bumper in the event of damage, a folding rear window and available colour-selectable RIGID fog lamps. The wheels severely lack style, however. White-painted rims that look like steelies would have been nice. Ditto for flashier alloys emphasizing the vehicle’s unique design and stance.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

In 1958 trim, the fabric on the seats is highly reminiscent of what Toyota used back in 1980s. It’s a premium material with a retro appearance that wonderfully fits into the classic and conveniently arranged cockpit. The small and cheap-looking 8-inch touchscreen is a letdown, just like the limited content for the price. This model will satisfy customers who don’t care about luxury and just want to get to work.

Most people will definitely opt for the mid-grade Land Cruiser, which features heated and ventilated SofTex-trimmed seats and a 12.3-inch display. As mentioned earlier, it also comes with Multi-Terrain Select, elevating the truck’s off-road capability. An available premium package adds leather-trimmed seats with lumbar support, a 14-speaker JBL audio system, head-up display, digital rearview mirror, moonroof and more.

Finally, the Land Cruiser First Edition serves as the more compelling option, but you’ll have to act fast: only 290 units will be sold in Canada.

Photo: Antoine Joubert

Sticker Shock

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser is projected to have excellent reliability and lower ownership costs than the competition. On the flip side, Toyota SUVs are magnets for thieves, resulting in insanely high insurance premiums. Oh, and pricing ranges from about $73,000-$94,000 when including freight, PDI, dealer charge and other fees. That’s immensely expensive, let’s all agree on that, though slow depreciation is likely to help the Land Cruiser retain tremendous value over time.  

Land Cruiser units will be a rare sight at Canadian dealers since Toyota will focus on selling these SUVs in the U.S. where it can make a lot more profit. But that will only add to the model’s uniqueness and appeal. We just wish the automaker could offer more content and more style for the price. In any case, take a long, hard look at the new 4Runner before making a decision.

Test drive report
Test model 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser
Trim level Base
Price range $69,290 – $90,370
Price as tested 83 290 $
Warranty (basic) 3 years/60,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 5 years/100,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 10,7 / 9,5 / 10,1 L/100km
Options Premium Package ($6,000)
Competitive models Ford Bronco, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Defender
Strong points
  • Solid and rugged construction
  • Strong hybrid powertrain
  • Reasonable fuel consumption
  • Unique looks
Weak points
  • Shocking prices
  • Base 1958 model lacks content
  • Unattractive wheel designs
  • Two rows only
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 4.0/5 A highly efficient performer thanks to a remarkable hybrid system.
Comfort 4.0/5 The suspension does a nice job and the cabin proves surprisingly quiet.
Performance 4.0/5 The 465 lb-ft of torque make all the difference and contribute to effortless acceleration anywhere, anytime.
Infotainment 4.0/5 An advanced and responsive system that is best served by the available 12.3-inch touchscreen.
Driving 3.0/5 We would have liked a more refined ride and more precise steering.
Overall 4.0/5 A solid and capable SUV that will suffer from stiff internal competition (2025 4Runner).
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