Ford Mysteriously Testing the New Toyota Land Cruiser in Michigan. Is a New Ford SUV in the Works?
The Toyota Land Cruiser is the ultimate will they/won’t they story in the car world. Toyota decided to stop importing the Land Cruiser. It’s a shame, sort of. It’s a shame because the LC is super cool. It’s kind of not because it was $80,000, so who cares. However, we do still get the Lexus branded version, the LX600. However, of all companies, Ford managed to get the new J300 Land Cruiser and is testing it off-road in Michigan. Why? Have you ever heard of the Ford Expedition Raptor? Yeah, I hadn’t either until now.
What is Ford Doing with a Toyota Land Cruiser?
According to our friends at Gear Patrol, the Land Rover was spotted in Indiana by a Lexus dealer employee wearing Michigan manufacturer plates. Despite the proximity to Chicago and the timing of the big Chicago Auto Show, Toyota confirmed to CarScoops that the J300 wasn’t heading to Chicago. In fact, everything on the truck, including the J300, were test vehicles.
Some reports suggest that Toyota is playing with bringing the Land Cruiser name back to the U.S. However, if the LC does come back, it will likely not be the J300 but instead the smaller Land Cruiser Prado/ Lexus GX platform.
Are new off-road Ford trucks and SUVs coming our way?
Gear Patrol marks the flat tires and ashtray in the cup holder as proof that this Toyota is only here to be benchmarked. The other vehicles on the truck were a pair of Jeep Wranglers and a BMW M4. Since these vehicles were headed to Michigan, it would make sense to assume Ford is responsible. Benchmarking against some Wranglers and a Land Cruiser would make perfect sense for a new Bronco or maybe something even more mysterious.
Ford Authority recently published a piece citing anonymous sourcing, saying that Ford is tossing around the idea of building an even more off-road-focused version of the Ford Expedition. The leading idea is that it could be an expedition Raptor, although this isn’t confirmed.
A Ford Expedition Raptor isn’t impossible
The Ford Expedition Timberline already exists. As it stands, the Timberline basically already has a Raptor engine in it, the 440-hp 3.5-liter V6. Aside from the beefy engine, the Timberline also sports 33-inch AT tires, The F-150 Raptor’s skid plate, over 10 inches of ground clearance, and the Ford Bronco’s Trail Turn Assist. Hell, as it sits, Ford probably could have gotten away with calling the off-road Expedition a Raptor.
The Raptor name is already an icon among Ford fans, so adding a large SUV to the roster probably isn’t the worst idea. Toyota did it with the TRD Sequoia. Even the massive GMC Yukon got the AT4 package as an option. Far be it for Ford to be left out of the massive performance SUV game.
We know Ford is interested in expanding the Raptor sub-brand. The Ford Bronco Raptor and the Ranger Raptor have already joined the team. Adding a large SUV seems like a reasonable next step, given the buying trends of the car market.