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The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the heaviest nameplates in the automotive world. Toyota makes several of the most iconic SUVs in the history of the segment, yet the Land Cruiser is still by far the most iconic, but why? Why is the Toyota Land Cruiser so beloved? Let’s get into it. 

How long has Toyota made the Land Cruiser? 

Toyota is an old company. The Land Cruiser alone is 70 years old. This on its own isn’t all that special. The Jeep CJ/Wrangler, Corvette, Mustang, F-150, and other icons have been around for an equally long time, or at least close enough to it. 

Unlike the Jeep or even the Corvette, the Land Cruiser has changed in more ways than it’s stayed the same. This is rare in the body-on-frame 4×4 category. Similar to the early Jeep CJs, the Land Cruiser was little more than a glorified tractor made from a mixed bag of leftover truck parts. Fast forward 70 years, and the 2023 Toyota Land Cruiser – while still being one of the toughest off-roaders around – is now one of the most luxurious and well-equipped vehicles on the market. Even though Toyota took the LC from us for 2023, Gear Patrol mentions that the 2024 model will return to American shores. 

Why do people love the Toyota Land Cruiser so much? 

New 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser teaser
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Teaser | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

More than any other automaker, Toyota’s reputation is built on the unshakeable foundation of its mantra, “Quality, Durability, and Reliability.” No other nameplate fully embodies the brand’s ethos quite like the Land Cruiser. This massive 4×4 is not only capable of fording rivers, crossing deserts, and climbing mountains, but it can do all that while keeping you comfortable. Granted, the model wasn’t always luxurious. In fact, it’s only recently that the Land Cruiser became a luxury good. 

The older models aren’t very luxurious at all, actually. But it almost doesn’t matter which model you go with; they nearly all run forever. It is not at all uncommon to see a 30-year-old Land Cruiser for sale with 250,000+ miles with a price tag of a Ford with one-third of the Land Cruiser’s mileage. Because of the Land Cruiser’s reputation, most people understand that an older model – that’s been decently looked after – could easily get into the mid-300,000-mile mark without many serious issues. In fact, it’s not unheard of to see one rack up 500,000 miles. 

If you have ever been lucky enough to own a good vehicle that you knew you could depend on for many years, no matter how much of a hard time you give it, then you understand why people love the Toyota Land Cruiser so much. 

There’s one subtle reason why people love the Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (European model)
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (European model) | Toyota

Yes, the old Land Cruisers are probably the most famous super-reliable SUV ever made. They are tough. Even still, there is another, more subtle reason why people love these SUVs so much. For the more well-heeled 4×4 enthusiasts, the Land Cruiser is a luxurious and finely-crafted product without being flashy or ostentatious. 

I understand most probably can’t relate to the value of wanting to spend nearly $100k on a 4×4 that doesn’t scream “wealth.” The G-Wagen is probably the best example to the contrary of this scenario. The G-Class Mercedes Benz is a pricey off-roader that almost no one actually uses to off-road and is an easy layup for showing that you have money. Despite the quality and performance of the G-Class, it will never be loved like the Land Cruiser because of its flashiness and bravado. Honestly, the Land Cruiser’s subtly could be one of the reasons why the newer-generation LCs didn’t sell very well. Many people with money like to make it understood that they got it. This isn’t exactly objective reasoning, but in context to the car market in general, the thinking tracks. 

The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the all-time greatest vehicles 

It’s hard to overstate how much love vintage Land Cruisers get. The older models garner especially fond feelings for any avid off-roader or just fans of square-bodied SUVs. The newer Land Cruisers are still loved by many, but it is worth mentioning that we don’t buy the newer generation in a way that shows our love for them. The price point for the new LCs is a steep barrier to entry for most Americans.

Be that as it may, many were saddened to see the Land Cruiser leave the American market last year, despite many of them not being able to afford one. I count myself in that camp. I can’t spend the better part of $90k on anything, much less a car. However, I still want to know that the Land Cruiser is around unless something changes. I just like it. We just like it. The Land Cruiser is an icon, and the world is better for having them in it.