250 Series Worldwide, 70 Series Japan-only.
Believe it or not, the Toyota Land Cruiser is 72 years old now. Originally launched as the Toyota BJ in 1951, the Land Cruiser has been a staple of the rough and tumble worldwide. Aussies have a saying that goes something like, “if you want to head bush, take a Land Rover. But if you want to come back out again, take a Land Cruiser.”
Toyota’s legendary reliability and simplicity meant that the Land Cruiser rarely broke down, and when it did, it was relatively easy to fix with a rock and some string while deep off the beaten track.
And so, it is heartwarming to see a new Land Cruiser land in 2023. First up is the 250 Series. This is Toyota’s core Land Cruiser model, and is based on the same GA-F platform as the 300 Series to keep its off-road credentials intact and alive.
What most customers will purchase is the version with the rectangular headlights above, but the lucky few who hasten to plonk down the required moolah can enjoy a limited-run First Edition with the 70 Series-mimicking retro round headlights and two-tone paint schemes.
Being based on Toyota's GA-F platform, which is a body-on-frame platform that also underpins the 2024 Lexus GX, frame rigidity is increased by 50% while overall rigidity goes up 30%. The basic suspension performance is improved with greater wheel articulation, meaning more off-roady action in more demanding conditions.
The 250 Series also gains electric power steering with Lane Tracing Assist, and Stabilizer Disconnect Mechanism which disconnects the front sway bar for more wheel articulation and tyre contact with terrain while off-roading, and connects it for less body movement and more stability while driving on-road. Multi-Terrain Monitor and Multi-Terrain Select help ensure the most optimal settings for the driving conditions at hand, be it on tarmac or otherwise.
Powering the 250 Series Land Cruiser will be a 2.4-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder petrol engine, with and without hybrid assist. 281hp and 430Nm of torque, and 330hp and 630Nm of torque are available from the non-hybrid and hybrid powertrains respectively while mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. For those who prefer simplicity, a non-turbo 2.7-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission puts down 163hp and 246Nm of torque for select markets such as Eastern Europe, Japan, etc.
Additionally, a 2.8-litre turbodiesel with 204hp and 500Nm of torque will also be available, and will likely be the preferred engine in markets where diesel vehicles are not looked upon like leprosy.
On the inside, the 250 Series carries on the tradition of being rugged to withstand harsh usage conditions, simple and easy to figure out and use, and features good outward visibility that’s as crucial on-road as it is on the rough stuff. Not difficult to see why many off-road adventurers’ go-to vehicle is the Land Cruiser.
Added to that are some modern touches like the digital instrument cluster and updated infotainment to bring things into 2024. A capable off-roader should be simple and easy to use, but it doesn’t have to be monotonous. “Hey Siri/Google, play (insert preferred music source here)!”
This then brings us to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) portion of this article – the 70 Series Land Cruiser is making a comeback to Japan as a regular model in Toyota’s showroom line-up and will feature a 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine that puts down 204hp and 500Nm of torque to the road via a six-speed automatic transmission.
This 70 Series carries on the traditional Land Cruiser look and feel that most enthusiasts have come to love. The interior is lightly updated to keep up with the times but everything in here is designed to feel traditional and familiar.
Although JDM-only, we’re willing to wager that some units may turn up on Singapore’s shores as parallel imports.