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2024 Toyota Land Cruiser First Drive: A Great Comeback... But Success is Not a Foregone Conclusion

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser | Photo: D.Rufiange
  • EPA Category: Full-size SUV
  • Price: 69290 $ - 90370 $
  • Warranty: 3 years / 60000 km

strong / weak points

  • Undeniable off-road capabilities
  • Build quality
  • First Edition styling

  • High price range
  • Less bang for buck from 1958 version
  • Less attractive appearance in basic version
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Daniel Rufiange
The 2024 Land Cruiser is an interesting product, but it's not for everyone.
The all-new 𝗧𝗼𝘆𝗼𝘁𝗮 𝗟𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗿𝘂𝗶𝘀𝗲𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟰 in the desert | Photo: D.rufiange

•    Auto123 gets in a first test drive of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser.

San Diego, California - 2024 marks the return of the Toyota Land Cruiser to Canada, after an absence of 35 years. The company last offered its legendary model here in 1989.

In the U.S. the model continued on until 2021. It's back there as well this year. But the significance isn’t the same there, because here the new edition marks the return of a name that dates back to Toyota’s beginnings in Canada. In 1964, the Land Cruiser was one of three models in the company's catalog.

No surprise, the new model pays tribute to the first Land Cruisers. And it starts with the design, as well as the nomenclature.

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

Specifications sheet of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser 1958 Edition

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, rear
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, rear | Photo: D.Rufiange

Design of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

The lines of this new Land Cruiser are square. Very square. Two features of the early models have been reproduced at the front: the grille with TOYOTA lettering, and the round headlights, with some variations (more on this later).

Overall, it should please some and leave others indifferent. At least, that's the impression we got on the spot, based on informal feedback we were getting.

In truth, opinions vary from version to version. The 1958 and Land Cruiser models are more stripped-down than the First Edition, which stands out with several design elements (details below). The size of the wheels (18 or 20 inches) also plays a role.

It's up to you to decide, but to our eyes, not all Land Cruisers are equally appealing.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, front
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, front | Photo: D.Rufiange

Basics and philosophy
There’s more consensus of opinion when it comes to the new Land Cruiser’s structure, organs and components.

This luxury adventurer shares its platform, the TNGA-F (Toyota New Global Architecture), with the brand's pickup trucks, as well as the Sequoia and 4Runner SUVs (coming soon). We're talking about a ladder-like structure that makes off-road prowess possible. Rigid underpinnings are combined with tools such as a lockable centre differential, two-speed transfer case (electronically controlled high and low range), limited-slip differential and, with certain models, the Multi-Terrain system, which offers more effective grip management on the surfaces encountered.

Add to this driving aids such as Crawl Control, a low-speed cruise control system, and you have all the tools you need to leave civilization behind with your Land Cruiser.

And that of course fits in with the design philosophy behind this model, which Toyota wanted to be authentic, reliable and timeless.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, on the trail
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, on the trail | Photo: D.Rufiange

Powertrain of the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

Under the hood, a single engine is offered, in hybrid configuration no less. The 2.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder (i-Force Max) that makes the new SUV go is currently spreading throughout the Toyota/Lexus lineups. It offers a convincing 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque, all of it kind of necessary given that the Land Cruiser tips the scales at just over 5,000 lb.

An 8-speed automatic transmission links to four-wheel drive, which is standard. The Land Cruiser can tow 6,000 lb.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, three-quarters front
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, three-quarters front | Photo: D.Rufiange

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser versions and prices

Three versions are offered, but there are in fact four trim levels: 1958, Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser with Premium Package and the First Edition variant.

Regarding the latter, know that its production run will be limited to just 5,000 units for North America, including only 290 for Canada.

As for the prices, well they're steep. But that's not unique to Toyota; pricing has reached new levels throughout the industry.

The 1958 version starts at $69,290. For the Land Cruiser model, we're talking $77,290, then $83,290 with the Premium package. With the First Edition variant, you'll be relieved of $90,370. All prices are before freight and preparation charges, as well as any other fees that may apply.

The equipment is generous right from the base model, but it’s with the Land Cruiser variant that you start to get an SUV that genuinely defines what a Land Cruiser model is all about.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, interior
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, interior | Photo: D.Rufiange

With a 1958 model (the number represents the year of its arrival in the U.S.), the design features round headlights. Inside, there are 7- and 8-inch screens (multimedia and instrument cluster), 6-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, heated front seats and wireless connections to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

For something more complete, upgrade to the Land Cruiser variant. This adds Rigid fog lamps (two colours), heated mirrors, panoramic sunroof, 10-speaker audio system, Softex fabric for the seats, electrically extendable tailgate, 12.3-inch screens (multimedia and instrument cluster), ventilated front seats, wireless charging for cellular devices and the Multi-Terrain management system. There's also a camera system for off-road driving.

Above all, a disconnectable front stabilizer bar is added to the model, allowing better wheel articulation when driving off-road.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, wheels
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, wheels | Photo: D.Rufiange

The Premium Package adds 20-inch wheels (instead of 18-inch), steering-wheel-mounted paddles, 14-speaker JBL audio system, head-up display, leather seats and a refrigerated area in the centre console.

Note that the Land Cruiser model swaps round headlamps for rectangular units. You can always change them afterwards.

Last but not least, the First Edition stands out via unique styling elements, including round headlamps, roof rack and those protective rails at the bottom of the sides. The 18-inch wheels also offer a unique design.

Across the range, a few livelier colours are offered, and these should be seriously considered. They bring the new Land Cruiser’s design to life, while more neutral colours have the opposite effect.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, on a descent
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, on a descent | Photo: D.Rufiange

Driving the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, off-road and on

Toyota made sure we could drive the Land Cruiser on maintained off-road trails. Predictably, we discovered a vehicle very much at ease in off-road driving. Shifting into low range here, locking the differentials there, disconnecting the stabilizer bar in certain places, you can really play with the settings to overcome all kinds of obstacles, from terrain strewn with large rocks to steep slopes with uneven surfaces, via small streams.

Of course, comparisons with other models with proven off-road skills are inevitable. We’ll avoid going into too much detail on this score, but the Land Cruiser's format and wheelbase reminded us of the experience of driving a Jeep Wrangler off-road. The sensation was that of being at the controls of a model with a wheelbase longer than that of a two-door Wrangler, but shorter than that of a four-door version (we did a little investigating, and in fact this is exactly what you get with the Land Cruiser.

On the road, the Jeep comparison no longer applies, the comfort level in the Toyota being far superior. This has to do with the recent history of this model, which has always played the luxury card at Toyota. In fact, the previous-generation Toyota Land Cruiser was offered in Canada under the Lexus banner with the LX.

In terms of power, as we said, it's sufficient, but the beast is heavy. Handling is solid, but don't forget that you're behind the wheel of a 5,000-lb. square box here; the laws of physics apply.

The final word
Toyota brings back the Land Cruiser name on an impressive model, but one that’s not for everyone. Some will prefer the 4Runner, which was also presented to us in San Diego, and which will make its debut before the end of this year.

It's obvious that the two are not aimed at the same clientele, and it will be interesting to see how they cohabitate.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, lower central console
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, lower central console | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, central console
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, central console | Photo: D.Rufiange
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, rear, on the trail
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser, rear, on the trail | Photo: D.Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists