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Few SUV names carry the same gravitas as the Toyota Land Cruiser. The famously rugged SUV offers supreme capability, durability, and comfort. Unfortunately, Toyota pulled the plug and discontinued the Land Cruiser for the U.S. market after the 2021 model year. Here’s why we still miss it today.

Was the Toyota Land Cruiser discontinued in the United States?

A black 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser climbs up an off-road trail. The Land Cruiser was discontinued in America after the 2021 model year.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition | Toyota

Yes – Toyota cancelled the Land Cruiser in the U.S. after the 2021 model year.

The Land Cruiser had been available in the American market for decades, but sales were slow compared to the rest of the Toyota fleet. So, Toyota pulled the plug on its iconic off-roader in this market and decided to focus on a more profitable version: the Lexus LX.

1. The final V8 Land Cruiser

The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser was the final version to feature a traditional V8 engine.

The 200 Series Land Cruiser used the same 5.7-liter V8 engine as the Tundra and Sequoia. Per Car and Driver, the V8 made a stout 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Toyota used that single V8 design for over a decade, keeping parts plentiful and maintenance accessible.

As a result, however, the Land Cruiser’s V8 didn’t develop as much as its competitors. It may have been reliable, but it was incredibly thirsty, notching just 17 mpg on the highway.

That’s partly why Toyota has shifted its focus to the new i-Force MAX turbocharged V6 hybrid powertrain. Both the international Land Cruiser (which we don’t get) and the new Lexus LX 600 get this new engine with better fuel efficiency and power.

Still, we’ll always miss the V8’s confident power and old-school charm.

2. Heritage Edition gave a nod to the past

Close up of the badging on a Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.
2021 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition | Toyota

As a final send-off, Toyota gave the 2021 Land Cruiser a special retro package before it was discontinued.

The 2021 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition was an excellent package for vintage off-road lovers. It offered a standard black-on-gold color scheme, a roof rack, all-terrain tires, and heritage Land Cruiser badging.

The Heritage Edition wasn’t technically better than any other 200 Series Land Cruiser. Yet its unique visual package gave it more visual appeal over previous model years. It was a great look that Toyota should remember for future SUV models.

3. A full-size SUV with stealthy luxury

Before it was discontinued, one of the coolest things about the 2021 Land Cruiser was that it blended into the crowd while being one of the most capable and luxurious vehicles you could buy.

They call it stealth luxury – a car that offers premium quality and performance without drawing attention to itself. If you don’t specifically know about Toyota SUVs, it’s unlikely you’d give a Land Cruiser a second glance. But those who know the Land Cruiser’s pedigree almost always give a nod of approval.

Unfortunately, the only version of the Land Cruiser we still have in the States is the Lexus LX 600. The glitzed-up LX has little of the subtlety that made the 2021 Land Cruiser such a gem.

Why is the 2021 Land Cruiser so highly regarded?

Many consider the Toyota Land Cruiser the benchmark for SUV design due to its reputation for reliability, off-road capability, versatility, and comfort.

Much like other 4×4 vehicles, the Land Cruiser began more than 50 years ago as a simple, purpose-built off-roader. It slowly developed over the decades into a large, do-anything SUV with equal parts capability and comfort.

More than anything, the Land Cruiser is known for being one of the most durable vehicles you can buy. It has a reputation for going hundreds of thousands of miles without much more than basic maintenance. That’s why many were disappointed by the news that Toyota would discontinue the Land Cruiser in North America after 2021.

Will the Land Cruiser return to North America?

The Toyota Land Cruiser nameplate has been discontinued for the American market. However, it isn’t impossible to see it come back.

Toyota offers the 300 Land Cruiser platform in the U.S. with the Lexus LX 600. So the architecture has cleared stateside safety regulations. Consequently, the door is open for Toyota to reintroduce the Land Cruiser.

Here’s hoping they do.


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