Having experienced the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser twice now, I’m putting down my top five pros and cons for this electrified SUV. Get ready; the iconic ride will return to U.S. dealers with all-new looks and features in the coming weeks.
Hybrid power comes standard
I know some buyers in the U.S. are already skeptical about the idea of a hybrid-only 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser line-up, but I feel that this is where its ace lies. An SUV with the Land Cruiser’s heft and the capability that is built into it will inevitably make it thirsty, and the hybrid system is sure to add a pleasant surprise during roadtrips. I’m not expecting the same gas mileage as a Prius, but those who are used to Toyota frame SUVs will see a marked mpg difference, and more so when they drive with a light foot. I bet most folks will be doing 25-27 mpg on the freeway in their 2024 Land Cruisers.
Amazing all-round visibility
The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Hybrid offers an unmatched view of the road ahead. When I sat in the driver’s seat, I could immediately understand the benefits of having an almost straight windshield, thin A-Pillar design, and large front and rear windows, which greatly enhanced the outward visibility. This is made better by the fact that a Panoramic View Monitor (360º camera system) is expected in certain grades.
Manually-opening rear windshield
This is a very useful feature for this type of vehicle, which would at times be used to haul long items or at the campsite, where it allows quick access to lighting or heating equipment. I would be able to push a duffel bag into the cargo area without having to open the tailgate. When I worked the button, the windshield popped open smoothly, which would encourage me to use it more often, even during a trip to Walmart or Costco for groceries. As a bonus, I can imagine the cabin exuding the feel of a convertible with the windows, sunroof, and rear glass open!
Same wheelbase as the Land Cruiser 300
Auto buffs and hardcore LC fans would nitpick and point out that the 2024 Land Cruiser for the U.S. is the ‘Prado,’ and not the full-blown Land Cruiser 300, which is sold in other parts of the world. However, I think the difference for passengers and during everyday use would be minimal, as the wheelbase, or the usable space for occupants, is the same as the 300 Series. Sure, the Land Cruiser 300 is slightly wider and taller and gets the V6 engine, but it won’t be a day-and-night difference.
The 2024 Land Cruiser Hybrid will start in the mid-USD 50,000 range. In price positioning, that puts it bang in between the 4Runner (a new-generation model is expected later in 2024) and the full-size Sequoia. For me, the slight edge in size over the 4Runner and its impeccable Made-In-Japan build quality makes every dollar worth paying!
No TRD Pro/Trailhunter versions
Hardcore off-roaders or overlanders have to look to the aftermarket circuit to get their cars done up for the trail. In the launch line-up, Toyota is not offering its trademark TRD or the new Trailhunter trim (introduced in the 2024 Tacoma). It looks like Toyota’s U.S. division is prioritizing the standard volume models, but we expect these variants to be added eventually. On the plus side, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) or the e-KDSS isn’t offered, which, in my view, makes upgrading the suspension a whole lot easier for overlanders.
The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser Hybrid does not offer a seven-seat option in America, which, in my view, is a miss. I’m not keen on heavy seats hogging precious boot space, but if this were an option, I could see many American families going for it.
Tricky cargo loading
Due to the placement of the battery and electricals at the rear, the cargo load floor is set higher. This makes loading heavy items a bit tricky, but I must add that the manually-opening rear glass makes it easy to toss or grab smaller items in the cargo area. Weirdly, Toyota has cupholders and USB-C ports behind the rear seat, which I feel adds no real value in a five-seater.
Round headlamps reserved for the base grade
Toyota has announced 5,000 units of the First Edition grade for North America, which has the round headlamps, the heritage grille, and a full list of features. However, once stocks run out, which I would think wouldn’t take all that long, you either have to choose between the heritage design or a well-equipped Land Cruiser, as it’s only the basic ‘1958’ grade that gets the retro-styled exterior treatment.
Cloth seats and a small monitor in the 1958 trim
The nostalgic ‘1958’ is the base trim. Priced at around $55,000, most buyers aren’t going to be happy seeing the cloth seats and the smaller 8-inch touchscreen system when they peek inside. Toyota says that there will be a ‘premium’ package to add features like a 14-speaker JBL audio system, head-up display, etc, but that would be an optional extra. The cloth seats hark back to the classic Land Cruisers and would be an off-roader’s delight, but the average buyer might find it hard to digest the balance of price to features.
Why is it called 1958? Well, Toyota sold 1 unit of the Land Cruiser in the U.S. back in 1958, and while that was something the company would not wish to publicize too much, that year was the start of their journey selling trucks in America. And looking at where they stand now, I’d say that modest beginning turned into a massive success!
An automobile engineer by training, I’ve analyzed the global car market since 2005, with a keen focus on EVs since 2008. My journey in online automotive publishing spans 16 years, during which I have reviewed cutting-edge automotive technologies and interviewed leading CEOs and vehicle developers from around the world.