New version of Toyota’s venerable off-roader receives design inspired by classic FJ60 LandCruiser.
After nearly 14 years on the market in its current form, the Toyota LandCruiser Prado has been drastically overhauled in a bid to steal sales from the Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler.
The model will launch in Australia in 2024 although it is unclear if one or both new bodystyles will be introduced here.
Designed with obvious influence from past LandCruisers and with a chunky two-box silhouette that nods to its “ability to withstand harsh conditions”, the model again majors on practicality, durability and dependability.
The go-anywhere 4×4 has long been one of the world’s most competent off-roaders, but the focus for this new fifth-generation car, codenamed J250, is on providing improved on-road refinement and competitive levels of technology.
To that end, the LandCruiser moves from the old J150 platform to Toyota’s new Global Architecture, following the larger J300 LandCruiser.
The new body-on-frame structure ensures the SUV is “easy to manoeuvre and more comfortable during on-road driving”, according to Toyota.
The chassis is said to be 50% more rigid than that of its predecessor and the entire body-on-frame assembly is some 30% stiffer. That, plus improved suspension, means the Land Cruiser promises to be more responsive and comfortable in all driving situations.
Measuring 4920mm long and 1870mm tall and with a wheelbase of 2850mm, the J250 is slightly larger than its predecessor, and its roomier, redesigned cabin is a world away in design and technical terms.
Chunky physical controls still abound and there is a clear emphasis on utility, but the full-length glass roof, multi-zone climate control, plush leather upholstery and wraparound digital display – hosting a new-generation infotainment system – hint at a bid to move upmarket to more closely rival Land Rover’s three-year-old Defender.
Staying true to its roots, the LandCruiser maintains a prevailing focus on all-terrain ability, with increased wheel articulation, an upgraded Multi-Terrain Monitor interface and improvements to the off-road driving modes among the headline upgrades that will boost its standing in this area.
Toyota’s rough-and-ready, old-school, unstoppable 4×4 gets a bit less rough-and-ready. Likeably simple and functional, and worth considering if you need a genuine dual-purpose SUV
It’s also equipped with a disconnecting front anti-roll bar, which can be disengaged via a switch on the dashboard to allow for maximum wheel articulation on especially challenging trails.
From launch in Australia, the LandCruiser Prado will use a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with 48volt belt-integrated starter motor producing Producing 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque.