There is no denying that the Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the most capable and reliable off-roading SUVs available. Unfortunately, the Land Cruiser is set to exit the U.S. market after the 2021 model year.
On top of that, new information suggests the model will get some major upgrades for the rest of the world. According to Autoweek reported by Motor1, competition from smaller and cheaper SUVs make it hard for the large off-roader to exist.
Why is the Toyota Land Cruiser leaving?
As you’d expect, the death of the Land Cruiser comes down to poor sales figures. With a base price of $85,415, the large SUV is certainly out of most people’s budget. According to CarSalesBase, Toyota managed to sell just 3,526 Land Cruiser models in 2019. In contrast, the Japanese carmaker sold 98,506 Highlander SUVs in the same year. While the large off-roader still isn’t a huge seller in Europe, the sales figures almost double to 6,359 sold in 2019.
The growing SUV market became a double-edged sword for the Toyota Land Cruiser. While more consumers became interested in large SUVs, the overall competition also increased significantly. As a result, Autoweek report that the arrival of affordable options such as the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade makes it hard to justify the large off-roader.
Oddly enough, the Lexus LX hasn’t been discontinued as of writing despite selling very few SUVs per year. This means you may still be able to buy a Land Cruiser, as long as you’re OK with a Lexus badge on the front. Additionally, the Lexus LX is just slightly more expensive at $86,580.
What’s next for the Land Cruiser?
While the Land Cruiser won’t live on in the U.S., the rest of the world will get to enjoy some serious upgrades. According to Autoweek, the next-gen model will ditch the current rock-solid V8 in exchange for a pair of six-cylinder engines. The first could be a twin-turbo 3.5-liter, while the second will likely be a hybrid powertrain. Additionally, rumors suggest the SUV may even get a 3.3-liter inline-six diesel engine, says Autoweek.
Autoweek reports that aside from downsizing its engines, the Toyota Land Cruiser should also lose a considerable amount of weight. However, nothing suggests that it will become a smaller SUV given the other SUVs that live underneath it in the lineup. As a result, the overall footprint should remain unchanged, just with less weight and greater efficiency.
Additionally, a previous report by Motor1 suggests that the Land Cruiser will move away from luxury. As a result, the SUV may become an even more serious off-roader with greater capabilities.
When could it return?
As of writing, there is no official return date for the Toyota Land Cruiser in the U.S. market. As a result, don’t expect it to make a comeback anytime soon. According to Autoweek, rumors suggest the large off-roader will eventually make a return with the all-new generation.
However, given the Lexus LX’s existence in the U.S. market, this seems unlikely. We may see the LX receive these major improvements since there are no current plans to ax it. As a result, it may be a while before seeing Toyota’s greatest SUV for sale again in the U.S.