The latest generation of Toyota's flagship off-road SUV is lighter, smarter and more capable, but won't make its way to American roads and trails.
Toyota revealed the latest generation of its flagship luxury off-road SUV during a global online premier Wednesday. The 300 Series Land Cruiser aims to merge new technologies and construction methods with the legendary on- and off-road performance we've come to expect over the nameplate's 70-year history.
Externally, the changes are subtle. In fact, the 300 Series Land Cruiser (or J300) boasts near-identical overall exterior dimensions, wheelbase, ground clearance and approach/departure angles to the current 200 Series. However, it is all-new and beneath the sheetmetal is a new GA-F platform based on the Toyota New Global Architecture that underpins most of the automaker's modern unibody vehicles, but retaining the frame structure that is the foundation of the Land Cruiser's legendary off-road capability. The new platform is said to save an impressive 441 pounds of mass compared with the current Land Cruiser series, improving the SUV's weight distribution and lowering the center of mass.
Wheel articulation is also improved with a new electronic version of Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS) that allows the stabilizer bars to be disconnected for maximum independent wheel movement off-road and reconnected for a stable ride on smooth tarmac. The new Land Cruiser also now employs the automaker's Multi Terrain Select system, which automatically adjusts system settings and performance based on the road surface, and the Multi Terrain Monitor, a camera that aids in accurate wheel placement on trails and avoidance of obstructions.
One of two new twin-turbocharged V6 engines can be found under the new Land Cruiser's hood. There's a 3.5-liter gasoline engine that makes 409 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque or a 3.3-liter diesel motor good for 304 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Either way, there's a 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission on the other side of the flywheel and standard four-wheel drive.
Though best known for its off-road prowess, Toyota acknowledges that its flagship SUV needs to also perform around town, so it's outfitted the new Land Cruiser with its Toyota Safety Sense active safety package. Expect precollision braking with pedestrian detection, emergency steering assist during evasive maneuvers and lane-keeping steering assist on the highway. There's also Parking Support Braking, Toyota's name for automatic braking for pedestrians, cross-traffic vehicles or other obstructions at the front or rear of the vehicle while parking.
The 300 Series Toyota Land Cruiser rolls out globally this summer, building on over 10.4 million units sold in 170 countries since its 1951 launch. Unfortunately, the United States can no longer count itself as one of those countries; the next-generation Land Cruiser isn't coming here and the current model is set to be discontinued later this year. Bummer.