Toyota's Land Cruiser Grounded After 2021

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

Toyota’s Land Cruiser is soon to be a casualty of technological advancement, after rumors of the venerable SUV being dropped were confirmed by Car and Driver when they spoke with a partner in a large dealer franchise who said that 2021 would be the end of the road for this premium SUV. This seems to confirm some earlier reporting we shared from Motor Authority.

The Land Cruiser utilizes a 5.7-liter, DOHC 32-valve V8 with dual independent variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, versus a turbocharged, inline-six-cylinder with an integrated electric motor in the BMW X5, with an additional nine hp and 32 lb-ft more than Toyota’s flagship SUV. Combined city/highway MPGs are 14 in the Toyota. For funsies, we compared that to the 78 city/77 highway MPGe in an Audi e-tron, just as a reminder how far new tech has come.

The 200 Series, as the Land Cruiser is known to aficionados, has been around since 2007, a 14-year run that has seen a lot of other SUVs come and go. Its body-on-frame construction is common only to a handful of other utes, with more headed the way of unibody construction for their lighter weight and greater fuel efficiency. Simply put, it appears the Land Cruiser’s time has come.

That same source said that we should not mourn the loss of the Land Cruiser for too long, and that he thought it would be reprised in a more modern, luxurious version, much like the Ford Bronco. Let’s hope Toyota retains the same rugged, utilitarian spirit embodied the original Land Cruiser, and not become another crossover like the Chevrolet Blazer.

Styling and fuel economy aside, do we really need another crossover in a field as crowded with them as there are now? If a new Land Cruiser doesn’t possess the same third-world-conquering capabilities of the current model, why bring it back? For the fashionistas, there’s already the Highlander and the new Venza. If adventure travel is your thing, there’s the 4Runner, or the Sequoia. Come to think of it, maybe Toyota is simply thinning the herd, content to work with their other existing platforms.

[Images: Toyota]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

More by Jason R. Sakurai

Join the conversation
5 of 41 comments
  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Dec 29, 2020

    What exactly makes a $90k Toyota so much better than a $50k Expedition, $78k Escalade, or the soon to be released Bronco? And I thought the $50k Supra was a bit much!

  • Markf Markf on Dec 29, 2020

    The Land Cruiser is only being discontinued in the US market, it lives in the rest of the world. The number one LC market is Australia where it is available in numerous engine/trim configurations. I have to wonder why the US only got one version (the most expensive owner) Seems Toyota is content to sell buckets of Camrys and 4Runners (with it hopelessly outdated engine/trans combo) I own a 200 series LX and it is a nice truck but I always get flamed in the 200 forums when I point out it's shortcomings. The hardcore owners have their entire being tied up in these trucks, it's weird. I pointed out how woefully outdated the infotainment system is and wondered why my 8 y/o Sienna had a better system than my 7 y/o LX. I also pointed out that a new 35K Sienna has a better system than 100K LX. I was told to sell my LX because "I don't understand who the vehicle is intended for" I think the plan is to keep selling the LX after dropping the LC so there will still be a "Land Cruiser" sold in the US, just the Lexus version.

    • See 1 previous
    • Markf Markf on Dec 29, 2020

      @28-Cars-Later Same 4WD on both trucks. The only real differences (styling aside) were a few more "luxury" features and the LX has Active Height Control (AHC) hydraulically controlled suspension that can be raised/lowered with a switch. LC has a tradition suspension. Aside from that they are identical.

  • MaintenanceCosts It's not really much of a thought in the buying process. I would think twice about a vehicle assembled in China but other than that I really don't care. Looking at my own history, I've bought six new cars in my lifetime (I don't think choice of used cars says anything at all). I think the most patriotic of them were mostly Japanese brands. (1) Acura, assembled in Japan (2) Honda, assembled in U.S. (3) Pontiac, assembled in Australia (4) Subaru, assembled in U.S. (5) Ford, assembled in U.S. (6) Chevrolet, assembled in Korea
  • ToolGuy News Flash: Canada isn't part of the U.S.
  • Dave M. My Maverick hybrid is my first domestic label ever. It was assembled in Mexico with US components. My Nissan and Subaru were made here, my Toyota, Isuzu and other Nissan had J VINs.
  • ToolGuy "and leaves auto dealers feeling troubled" ...well this is terrible. Won't someone think of the privileged swindlers??
  • ToolGuy "Selling as I got a new car and don't need an extra." ...Well that depends on what new car you chose, doesn't it? 😉