Could one be the new Land Cruiser?
The Toyota Land Cruiser is being retired from the US market after the current model year and it remains unclear whether its 300 Series successor will arrive stateside. This doesn't mean the Japanese automaker is abandoning the segment entirely for SUV-loving Americans. Quite the opposite. Toyota has just announced plans to introduce two all-new, three-row SUVs in the US and they'll be built here too, at the Princeton, Indiana plant.
These SUVs are aimed directly at the "active Gen Y American Family" and one will be badged as a Toyota, the second a Lexus. In fact, this will be the first Lexus model made at this facility. It's a fair assumption these SUVs are corporate twins but what we can confirm is they'll have electrified drivetrains.
Toyota didn't specify whether they'll be hybrids or plug-ins, but they're definitely not pure battery electrics. They'll both be technology-packed with semi-automated driving enabling hands-free driving in certain conditions and a remote parking system capable of letting the driver park and unpark from outside the SUV using a smartphone. Preparations to get the plant ready are already underway with an $803 million investment and the need for another 1,400 jobs.
Chances are, this mystery Toyota SUV is not the Land Cruiser but rather a direct replacement for the aging Sequoia. It dates back to the 2008 model year and, mechanically speaking, has changed very little since. Basically, it's an SUV version of the Tundra that fits up to eight passengers.
The Sequoia remains a strong enough seller to justify a successor, unlike the extremely expensive Land Cruiser, which only begins at $85,000. The Sequoia has a far more reasonable $50,000 base price. A direct Sequoia successor sounds like the more likely scenario because, like the upcoming redesigned Tundra, this new SUV has a confirmed hybrid setup.
But the current Sequoia does not have a Lexus counterpart. Instead, there's the GX and LX. The latter is a rebadged and more expensive Land Cruiser while the GX is built on the Land Cruiser Prado platform that also underpins the 4Runner, whose own future remains uncertain.