Goodbye Toyota Land Cruiser: 4 of the Next Best Three-Row Off-Road SUVs
Sadly, the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser is gone from American soil as a new model. Toyota dropped the Land Cruiser from its U.S. lineup last year, but plenty of respectable three-row off-road SUVs remain to take its place.
Which SUVs are similar to the Toyota Land Cruiser?
SUVs that are similar to the Land Cruiser have truck-based architecture, four-wheel drive, retro credibility, and three rows of seats.
The Toyota Land Cruiser built its revered reputation with rock-solid reliability and outstanding all-terrain capability. The Land Cruiser became a versatile three-row full-size SUV with stealth luxury in its final form.
Several new SUV models emulate these characteristics to varying degrees. While none of them are true Land Cruisers, some get awfully close.
1. Lexus LX is a dressed up Land Cruiser
The Lexus LX 600 is the closest you can get to a new Land Cruiser in the U.S. It’s essentially the same SUV, using an identical platform and powertrain to the international Land Cruiser.
Unlike the Land Cruiser, however, the LX 600 wears its luxury label on its sleeve. It’s Lexus’ flagship SUV, with all the bells and whistles you could imagine. There’s none of the subtlety that made the Land Cruiser so appealing to many.
Still, the LX 600 can do everything the Land Cruiser can do off-road.
2. Toyota Sequoia is a best off-road SUV candidate
The all-new Toyota Sequoia picks up where the Land Cruiser left off as Toyota’s flagship three-row off-road SUV. Those are big shoes to fill, but Toyota has set up the Sequoia for success with a complete redesign that makes it more powerful and capable than ever.
Unlike the Land Cruiser, the Sequoia is based on the Toyota Tundra pickup. That DNA shows in the Sequoia’s ride quality, interior styling, and overall driving dynamics. The plus side is that the new Sequoia uses the exact same i-Force MAX powertrain as the international Toyota Land Cruiser.
3. Nissan Armada is a sneaky good SUV
The Nissan Armada is an often-overlooked full-size SUV with off-road chops. It uses the same formula as the Land Cruiser: a body-on-frame, three-row, 4×4 SUV built to go anywhere with plenty of comforts.
Unlike Toyota’s Land Cruiser alternatives, the Nissan Armada has kept its old-school V8 engine. According to Car and Driver, the powertrain makes a healthy 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. It’s sure to please drivers hunting for the familiar V8 thrust of the 200 series Land Cruiser.
4. Land Rover Defender 130 arrives among the best three-row SUVs
The Land Rover Defender 130 could be one of the best SUVs to replace the Toyota Land Cruiser.
After a few years of critical success, Land Rover is expanding its Defender lineup with an extended three-row model. The extra space brings the Defender closer to what the 200 Series Land Cruiser offered while keeping its retro-futuristic charm.
There’s no questioning the Land Rover Defender 130’s off-road capabilities. It has one of the industry’s most sophisticated all-wheel drive systems and heaps of technology to help it traverse any obstacle you can find. The compromise is elsewhere.
Reliability was the cornerstone of the Land Cruiser – but it’s a weak point for Land Rover. They’re notorious for complex maintenance, frequent repairs, and difficulty securing OEM parts. The Defender 130 will get you anywhere the Land Cruiser will go, but it may not get you back home.
Will the Toyota Land Cruiser come back?
There is speculation that Toyota could return the Land Cruiser name to the U.S., though in a different form.
It’s unlikely Toyota will bring the 300 Series Land Cruiser to North America. But rumors about a retro-inspired Land Cruiser model that could compete with the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler have run amok. Toyota did it with the FJ Cruiser once – the world’s largest automaker could pull it off again.