Thinking about buying a Land Rover Defender? You might want to think again.
That’s because Toyota has just unveiled its new Land Cruiser for 2024 – and its retro styling matches, if not betters, the British off-roader’s bold looks.
It will almost certainly be more dependable too, given the Land Cruiser’s rock-solid record for reliability for the last 72 years… and Land Rover’s more questionable recent track record.
However, will it be the more affordable option of the two?
This or a Land Rover Defender? Toyota has this week unveiled its new Land Cruiser SUV. It will be available in the UK, with order books opening later this year
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New Toyota Land Cruiser is years in the waiting – but how much will it cost?
Toyota has taken its time to unveil a new Land Cruiser. Fourteen years, in fact.
But it’s certainly been worth the wait, as the 2024 model revealed this week shows a completely restyled look as the Japanese brand gets serious about protecting its patch and stealing sales away from rufty-tufty no-nonsense off-road rivals like the Defender and Ineos Grenadier.
Incredibly popular in countries with plenty of bush, outback and desert terrain – think Africa, Australia, the Middle East and the most remote parts of the US – the Land Cruiser is to SUVs what Toyota’s Hilux is to pick-up trucks: bulletproof.
Bosses at the Japanese car maker say next year’s model will continue to ‘focus on its traditional strengths of quality, durability, and reliability to tackle the toughest conditions’, meaning it should deliver where its predecessors have excelled for the previous seven decades.
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The 2024 Land Cruiser has a completely restyled look as Toyota gets serious about protecting its patch and stealing sales away from rufty-tufty no-nonsense off-road rivals like the Defender and Ineos Grenadier
Bosses at the Japanese car maker say next year’s model will continue to ‘focus on its traditional strengths of quality, durability, and reliability to tackle the toughest conditions’, meaning it should deliver where its predecessors have excelled for the previous seven decades
It is the first new Land Cruiser for the UK market in 14 years. The retro styling is a big diversion from the more traditional look of the model it replaces (pictured)
The brand said: ‘Toyota proudly reveals the all-new Land Cruiser, a model that draws directly on the original qualities that have made the Land Cruiser name synonymous with strength and reliability for more than 70 years.’
Often considered the ‘go-to’ 4X4 for the most difficult terrains, remote locations and harshest elements, there are plenty of fans who’ve been waiting eagerly for Toyota to take the wraps off the new model.
It’s unshakable reputation should certainly give it the edge over the Defender, especially when taking into account Land Rover’s recent form for reliability, such as placing second bottom for dependability in the latest What Car? Survey.
The Toyota should also significantly undercut the Landie on price.
The Land Cruiser will look to steal sales primarily from the Land Rover Defender 110. While off-road performance should be on par and styling a question of personal preference, Toyota’s stronger reliability record might just swing sales in favour of the Land Cruiser
Order books for the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser are due open until later this year. And the starting price is expected to be in the region of £50,000
That means the entry Land Cruiser will be around £13,500 less expensive than the cheapest Land Rover Defender 110
HEAD TO HEAD: Toyota Land Cruiser vs Land Rover 110
TOYOTA LAND CRUISER
On sale: Late 2023
Price: from approx £50,000
Seats: up to 7
Engine: 2.8-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Maximum power: 201bhp
Is there a green version? Mild-hybrid due around 2025
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110
On sale: Now
Price: from £63,585 (for Defender SE)
Seats: up to 7
Engine: 3.0-litre turbodiesel Mild-hybrid
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Maximum power: 246bhp
Is there a green version? Plug-in hybrid from £72,205
Length: 4,758mm (without spare wheel on the back)
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
While pre-sale order books don’t open until later this year, the starting price is expected to be in the region of £50,000.
That means it will be some £13,500 cheaper than its main competition, the five-door Defender 110, which costs from £63,585 for the entry version.
First UK deliveries are expected in the first half of 2024, though this will exclusively be high-spec ‘First Edition’ cars, of which there will be around 3,000 examples available across Europe.
The First Edition cars will be noticeably different by design.
They will feature a pair of round headlights instead of the square clusters used in the other variants and it will exclusively have two-tone paint choices – either ‘Sand’ yellow or ‘Smokey Blue’ with a contrasting white roof.
The First Edition cars will be noticeably different by design. This includes round headlights instead of the square clusters used in the other variants
First Edition Land Cruisers exclusively come in a choice of two-tone paints – either ‘Sand’ yellow (seen here) or ‘Smokey Blue’ with a contrasting white roof
First UK deliveries are expected in the first half of 2024, though this will exclusively be these high-spec ‘First Edition’ cars, of which there will be around 3,000 examples available across Europe
The standard Toyota Land Cruiser (left) pictured alongside a ‘First Edition’ version, which will be a high-spec limited-run SUV
Easy-to-replace body panels and a new cockpit that will help shorter drivers
Toyota says the design language goes ‘back to its origins’, with clear influences from Land Cruisers of years gone by.
There’s no doubt it harks back to the square shape of earlier generations dating back to 1951 – it looks like the styling team has penned the latest SUV with an Etch-A-Sketch.
Its chunky, tough looks include shorter overhangs, sculpted corners and body parts designed to be easy to remove and replace in the event of damage.
Overall length is 4,920mm, width 1,980mm and height 1,870mm; the wheelbase is 2,850mm. That means it’s longer and lower than the Defender 110, though a similar width to the latest Land Rover.
Inside, buyers will have the choice of five or seven-seat configurations. The latter will be attractive to tour guide businesses in particular, with the Land Cruiser already a very popular choice for safari excursion vehicles.
Toyota has even given thought to shorter drivers by improving all-round visibility. This includes a lower dashboard and instrument panel
The big horizontally-arranged instrument panel and chunky control switches are shaped in a way for easy operation, even when the driver and their occupants are being bounced up and down while driving over challenging terrain
Inside, buyers will have the choice of five or seven-seat configurations. This will make it attractive to tour guides in particular, with the seven-seater an ideal people carrier for safari excursions, for instance, in Kruger National Park
Toyota says the side windows have lower frames than before to give a better view out and also give the sensation of increased interior space
The cockpit layout is unquestionably function over flair.
For instance, the big horizontally-arranged instrument panel and chunky control switches are shaped in a way for easy operation, even when the driver and their occupants are being bounced up and down while driving over challenging terrain.
Toyota has even given thought to shorter drivers by improving all-round visibility. This includes a lower dashboard and instrument panel. The side windows also have lower frames than before to give a better view out and also give the sensation of increased interior space.
The tweaks that will make it perform better both on and off-road
Under its retro-inspired bodywork is a new platform specifically created to provide the best off-road performance while also retaining some on-road composure for everyday use.
The new frame is 50 per cent more rigid and the combined body and frame rigidity is greater by 30 per cent. This should translate to improved responsiveness, handling and ride comfort, as will the addition of new electric power steering that will eliminate the jolting ‘kickbacks’ felt with a mechanical system when the driver hits a rock or other dramatic change to the surface.
Suspension tweaks also mean it should be noticeably more capable when owners take it off-road, while a new disconnecting front anti-roll bar – a Toyota first – enables the driver to choose between more drivability away from the tarmac or greater comfort when driving in and around town.
The new frame is 50 per cent more rigid and the combined body and frame rigidity is greater by 30 per cent. This should translate to improved responsiveness, handling and ride comfort
In the UK, the new Land Cruiser will originally be available with a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine with a maximum power output of 201bhp. It will be linked to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and had a towing capacity of 3,500kg. A mild-hybrid powertrain will follow around 2025
Presenting the new Land Cruiser for the first time, Toyota Europe president Simon Humphries said: ‘It is proud to be raw and utilitarian.
‘Under the revised bodywork, we made just the updates functionally necessary: a new, more efficient engine and transmission…and advanced safety features.’
And it also comes packed with new tech, including a new ‘Multi-Terrain Monitor’ system that uses a high-resolution camera mounted underneath the vehicle to display to the driver what is immediately beneath them.
A revised ‘Multi-Terrain Select’ system also automatically adapts performance to suit the demands of different off-road driving conditions.
In the UK, the new Land Cruiser will originally be available with a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine with a maximum power output of 201bhp.
It will be linked to a new eight-speed automatic transmission and had a towing capacity of 3,500kg.
A greener mild-hybrid powertrain – combining the same diesel engine with 48-volt belt-integrated starter-generator – will be available in early 2025, Toyota says.
New model continues a 72-year bloodline of Land Cruisers
The Land Cruiser bloodline dates back an incredible 72 years. There have been 10 generations of the off-road since its inception
Having earned a worldwide reputation for durability, the Land Cruiser is a sales sensation in countries with the most difficult landscapes and need for prime reliability. Toyota has sold 11.3 million to date across more than 170 countries and regions
The Land Cruiser dates all the way back to 1 August 1951 and the arrival of the original Toyota BJ (pictured). Shortly after launching, it demonstrated its strength and capabilities by becoming the first vehicle to successfully climb to the sixth station on the slopes of Mount Fuji
The flexibility of the Land Cruiser is another reason why it has proved so popular over the years, with many conversions for different requirements
The Land Cruisers rock-solid reliability and ease to repair and maintain has made it hugely popular across the globe among those needing a utilitarian vehicle for off-road use
Incredibly popular in countries with plenty of bush and outback – think Africa, Australia, the Middle East and the most remote parts of the US – the Land Cruiser is to SUVs what Toyota’s Hilux is to pick-up trucks: bulletproof
Land Cruisers are often used for excursions and sight-seeing in the most remote locations. Whether that’s for safaris or tours across deserts
The Land Cruiser dates all the way back to 1 August 1951 and the arrival of the original Toyota BJ.
Shortly after launching, it demonstrated its strength and capabilities by becoming the first vehicle to successfully climb to the sixth station on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
Since then it has garnered an enduring worldwide reputation for durability, which has made it a sales sensation in countries with the most difficult landscapes and need for prime reliability.
Toyota has sold 11.3 million to date across more than 170 countries and regions.
Humphries added: ‘You see before you many examples of Land Cruisers throughout the years.
‘What unites them is simple: their ultimate mission is to take you wherever you need to go, and always bring you back.
‘If a Land Cruiser breaks down, it is not just a matter of inconvenience…It can become a threat to life itself.
‘The value of Land Cruiser comes down to one word… trust. The trust to put my life in your hands.
‘The Toyota BJ that laid that foundation of trust, has a direct descendant…the 70 series.
‘This may be a workhorse, but it has become an icon…The legend itself.’
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