The iconic Toyota Land Cruiser is being axed in the U.S., but it may return as a more modern and luxurious SUV

Toyota will discontinue the big Land Cruiser SUV in the United States after 2021. That’s the word from Road&Track, the outlet that received confirmation from Toyota that 2021 will be last year for its range-topping hauler in North America. The Japanese automaker will reportedly return with an all-new Land Cruiser that’s more modern and luxurious, but there’s no specific timeline for that.

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The fact that Toyota is retiring the current-generation Land Cruiser from the U.S. is far from surprising.

In production since September 2007, the 200-series SUV is 13 years old as of late 2020.

By the time it will be discontinued in North America, it will be 14 years old, making it the longest running Land Cruiser since the 1980s.

The news comes from Road&Track, which says it received the following statement from the Japanese company: "The Toyota Land Cruiser has been a legendary name for more than 60 years. While it will be discontinued in the United States after the 2021 model year, we remain committed to the large SUV segment and will continue to explore future products that celebrate the Land Cruiser’s rich off-road history."

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Why is Toyota putting it to rest? Well, the Land Cruiser has soldiered on with minor updates since 2007. And even though it’s quite capable on the unbeaten path, it lacks modern technology and it’s V-8 engine is also getting a bit long in the tooth. Add in the aging interior and it’s quite obvious that the Land Cruiser can no longer compete with other SUVs in its segment. At $85,415, the Land Cruiser is almost $10,000 more expensive than both the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, two SUVs that have been redesigned for the 2021 and 2018 model years, respectively. Both feature modern technology and more efficient drivetrains that the Land Cruiser can’t match in the current layout.

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The technological gap is so big that the Land Cruiser can barely compete with non-premium full-size SUVs like the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban, a mission that usually goes to the Toyota Sequoia. All these haulers cost a little over $50,000, which puts them $35,000 below the Land Cruiser.

Toyota Land Cruiser specifications
Type, Materials 5.7-liter, 8-cylinder, 32-valve V-type DOHC with dual independent VVT-i, EFI, aluminum block with aluminum alloy head
Valvetrain 4-valve/cylinder
Displacement 5,663 cc
Bore x Stroke 3.70 x 4.02 in.
Compression Ratio 10.2:1
Horsepower 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
Layout Full-time four-wheel drive
Transmission Type 8-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i)
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Toyota claims that it will continue to "explore future products that celebrate the Land Cruiser’s rich off-road history." This doesn’t mean that the Land Cruiser will make a comeback, but Car and Driver says that an unnamed source with dealership connections claims that the nameplate will return as an SUV that’s "way more modern and luxurious."

On the other hand, the Land Cruiser makes up a tiny fraction of Toyota’s overall sales in the U.S. with just fewer than 4,000 units sold per year since 2016, so the big SUV could be gone for good. But the Land Cruiser will remain available in other markets and a new-generation model could be launched in Asia and even Australia, where the SUV is far more popular.

The Toyota Land Cruiser has been around since 1951

The Land Cruiser is one of Toyota’s most iconic nameplates. It’s also one of the longest running, having been kept alive continuously since 1951. The Land Cruiser debuted in the early 1950s as a two-door soft-top crossover. A redesign from 1955 added more body styles and shorter wheelbase models. Toyota revised the Land Cruiser again in 1960 as the J40. The longest running generation of the SUV, the J40 remained in production until 1984, when the J70 debuted. A comfort-oriented J60 model was sold from 1980 to 1990. The J80 followed from 1990 to 1997, while the J100 came into dealerships to fill the gap from 1998 to 2007, when the current Land Cruiser was introduced.

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The 200-series Land Cruiser is currently built in Japan and it’s available with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines. In some markets it is offered with a 4.0-liter V-6, a 4.6-liter V-8, and a 4.5-liter turbodiesel V-8. In the U.S., the Land Cruiser comes with a bigger, 5.7-liter gasoline V-8 that cranks out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This engine is shared with the Toyota Tundra and Sequoia, as well as the Lexus LX.

Source: Road&Track

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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