Not in the immediate future, at least.
The Toyota Land Cruiser and its Lexus twin, the LX, are true SUVs with body-on-frame construction, a go-anywhere attitude, and off-road capabilities. The fact that both, particularly the Lexus, are serious luxury vehicles certainly doesn’t hurt, except when it comes to their respective base prices. But here’s the thing about them: they’re old.
The last time a complete redesign took place was 2008. Since then, the pair of SUVs has been facelifted three times to keep things fresh. But those facelifts can’t last forever. Earlier this week, a report from Japanese magazine Best Car claimed a next-generation Land Cruiser and LX will debut in 2020.
Although the report was in Japanese, help from Google Translate further revealed the naturally aspirated V8 found in both SUVs will be replaced by the LS sedan’s twin-turbo V6. Even a new hybrid system is supposedly being developed.
We reached out to Toyota North America for comment on the subject and a spokeswoman told us the following: "We had our Japanese staff take a look at the article and it’s just speculation.”
Needless to say, Toyota’s Japanese-speaking staff did not require the use of Google Translate to see the story is not true. In fact, looking at Land Cruiser and LX sales figures, we can see why Toyota is no immediate rush for a redesign.
A total of 3,235 Land Cruisers were sold in the US last year, a figure exceeded only twice over the past decade: 3,705 units in 2016 and 3,801 in 2008. The LX is actually selling better than the Land Cruiser, with a total of 4,753 units sold in 2018. That’s actually down from 6,004 in 2017. In 2008, an impressive 7,915 LXs were sold, and the yearly sales numbers fluctuated over the decade but still remained solid overall.
The models too face fresh competition from the redesigned and hot-selling Lincoln Navigator, while a new Cadillac Escalade isn’t too far off. Eventually, a new Land Cruiser and LX will arrive but it won’t happen in 2020.
It’s also worth noting that the overseas Toyota Land Cruiser is sold in the US as the decade-old Lexus GX; could the Best Car report have been in reference to that?
Possibly, but newly appointed Lexus general manager for North America, David Christ, told us at Detroit that the GX isn’t going anywhere just yet. "We feel both the GX and LX are well-positioned right now,” Christ said. "GX is little bit of an older product but it continues to sell well and (there’s) a consumer base that’s still trading them in to get new ones, so it still has a place in our lineup.”
A total of 26,724 GXs were sold in 2018, its second-best year since the current generation went on sale. Why bother replacing something if it’s still going strong? Toyota’s and Lexus’ existing body-on-frame large SUVs still have plenty of life left in them.