Toyota Land Cruiser 250 (2024)
Toyota’s iconic Land Cruiser returns to the US with the 2024 250 Series: A rugged, affordable, and true-to-roots 4×4 adventure SUV.
The Toyota Land Cruiser, an iconic nameplate in the world of off-road vehicles, is making a triumphant return to the American market. While it was never technically dead, it had seemingly vanished for a couple of years, only to reemerge in a new avatar – the 2024 Land Cruiser 250 Series. This new iteration stays true to its roots, offering a rugged, adventure-ready 4×4 at a more affordable price point, harkening back to the Land Cruiser’s heritage as a rugged off-road legend.
The Land Cruiser’s Puzzling Disappearance
For a while, the Land Cruiser in the United States had transformed into a luxurious behemoth with a hefty price tag, reaching as high as $87,000. While it offered opulent features and creature comforts, it had veered far from its original purpose as a rugged off-roader. This transformation was particularly puzzling at a time when the interest in overlanding and off-road adventures was skyrocketing across the nation. Instead of a vehicle fit for adventure, it felt more like a status symbol.
Returning to Roots: The Land Cruiser 250 Series
Toyota realized the need to bring back the Land Cruiser to its original essence and set out to create a vehicle that pays homage to its iconic predecessors. The 2024 Land Cruiser 250 Series is the result of this endeavor, designed with a chiseled body, rugged underpinnings, and a more accessible price point. It aims to cater to adventurous Americans who want a true 4×4 vehicle they can take off the beaten path.
A Nod to Classic Design
Toyota celebrates the Land Cruiser’s rich history by incorporating design elements inspired by its classic models. The Land Cruiser 250 Series boasts strong lines and right angles, reminiscent of the legendary FJ40. Round headlamps harken back to the 1958 model, while the thin bars on the grille pay homage to the FJ62 wagon. The “TOYOTA” badging in all-caps inside the narrow grille reflects the brand’s heritage.
Built on the TNGA-F global body-on-frame truck platform, shared with the 300 Series, Tacoma, and Tundra, the Land Cruiser 250 Series maintains a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, offering true-to-heritage short overhangs. The new platform enhances rigidity, ensuring the SUV can deliver both rugged looks and on-trail performance.
The Land Cruiser 250 Series features a departure from tradition with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas turbo engine paired with a 48-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed transmission. This i-Force MAX Hybrid setup delivers up to 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a full-time 4WD system with a locking center differential and electronically controlled two-speed transfer case. A locking rear differential comes standard.
While the exact fuel economy figures are yet to be revealed, the Land Cruiser 250 Series is expected to offer significant improvements over the 2021 200 Series’ 14 mpg combined rating. The hybrid powertrain, combined with compact packaging, is set to make this rugged off-roader more efficient and eco-friendly.
The Land Cruiser 250 Series is well-equipped for off-road adventures, featuring Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, a Multi-Terrain Monitor, and Downhill Assist. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, impressive approach and departure angles, and available accessories like skid plates and rock sliders, it’s ready to tackle challenging terrain.
Despite its old-school appearance, the Land Cruiser 250 Series doesn’t skimp on modern technology. It includes Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, proactive driving assist, dynamic radar cruise control, pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist. Inside, a choice of multimedia touchscreens, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Qi wireless charging, a premium JBL audio system, and 4G connectivity ensure a comfortable and connected driving experience.
Toyota plans to release pricing details closer to the spring 2024 US launch, but they have indicated that the Land Cruiser 250 Series will start in the mid-$50,000 range, making it more accessible to a broader range of SUV buyers.
Redefining the Land Cruiser Legacy
The Land Cruiser has a storied history dating back to the 1950s when it first emerged as a go-anywhere, do-anything off-road vehicle. Over the decades, it evolved into various models, with some becoming luxurious SUVs tailored for the urban jungle. However, the heart and soul of the Land Cruiser has always been its ability to conquer the toughest terrains on Earth.
The Land Cruiser 250 Series is Toyota’s acknowledgment of this legacy, and it’s more than just a return to form; it’s a redefinition of what a Land Cruiser should be. Here’s a deep dive into the various aspects that make this SUV stand out.
Design: A Tribute to Classic Land Cruisers
One look at the Land Cruiser 250 Series, and you’ll notice a deliberate homage to its legendary forebears. The strong lines, right angles, and round headlamps are reminiscent of the iconic FJ40. This design approach is not merely an aesthetic choice; it’s a statement of intent. Toyota wanted to convey that the Land Cruiser 250 Series is a back-to-basics, no-nonsense 4×4 designed for serious off-road adventures.
Underpinnings: Built to Conquer
The Land Cruiser 250 Series rides on the TNGA-F global body-on-frame platform, a robust foundation that ensures exceptional off-road capability. While it shares this platform with the 300 Series, Tacoma, and Tundra, it maintains a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, providing the ideal balance between maneuverability and stability. The shorter overhangs compared to its predecessor make it more agile in challenging terrain.
Powertrain: Efficiency Meets Performance
Toyota has departed from tradition by equipping the Land Cruiser 250 Series with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas turbo engine supplemented by a 48-hp electric motor. This i-Force MAX Hybrid configuration not only delivers an impressive 326 hp but also generates a substantial 465 lb-ft of torque. This power is sent to all four wheels through a full-time 4WD system, complete with a locking center differential and electronically controlled two-speed transfer case. A locking rear differential comes standard, ensuring maximum traction when needed.
Efficiency is the Name of the Game
While enthusiasts might be concerned about the departure from the classic V8 powerplant, Toyota’s hybrid approach promises improved efficiency without compromising performance. Though specific fuel economy figures are pending, it’s expected to significantly outperform the previous 200 Series’ meager 14 mpg combined rating. This is a crucial step forward in making the Land Cruiser more eco-friendly while still retaining its legendary capability.
Off-Road Mastery: Unleash the Adventure
The Land Cruiser 250 Series is more than just a pretty face; it’s a beast when it comes to conquering challenging terrain. Equipped with Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, a Multi-Terrain Monitor, and Downhill Assist, this SUV is your trusty companion on the path less traveled. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, approach and departure angles that facilitate steep climbs and descents, and a host of available accessories like skid plates and rock sliders, it’s ready to tackle Mother Nature’s toughest obstacles.
The Marriage of Heritage and Technology
While the Land Cruiser 250 Series pays homage to its classic roots, it doesn’t neglect the modern driver’s needs. It comes equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 3.0, offering proactive driving assistance, dynamic radar cruise control, pedestrian detection, and lane departure alert with steering assist. Inside, you’ll find a choice of multimedia touchscreens, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Qi wireless charging, a premium JBL audio system, and 4G connectivity. It seamlessly blends the ruggedness of the past with the connectivity and safety of the future.
Affordable Adventure: Bringing the Land Cruiser Closer to You
Toyota’s decision to position the Land Cruiser 250 Series in the mid-$50,000 range is a game-changer. It makes this iconic off-roader accessible to a wider audience, ensuring that more adventure enthusiasts can experience the Land Cruiser’s legendary capability without breaking the bank.
In an era when off-road adventure and exploration are experiencing a renaissance, the return of the Toyota Land Cruiser in its truest form is a welcome sight. The Land Cruiser 250 Series is not just a vehicle; it’s a symbol of Toyota’s commitment to its heritage and its acknowledgment of the evolving needs of adventure-seeking drivers. With a design that pays homage to classic Land Cruisers, a modern yet efficient powertrain, unparalleled off-road prowess, and an attractive price point, the Land Cruiser 250 Series is poised to rekindle the spirit of adventure and redefine what it means to explore off the beaten path.
As the Land Cruiser 250 Series prepares to make its grand return to the American market, it carries with it the legacy of a nameplate that has stood the test of time. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of a vehicle that can tackle the most challenging terrains while offering the comfort and technology demanded by today’s drivers.
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