If it ain't broke.
When it comes to off-road vehicles, America is spoilt for choice. Cars such as the Ford F-150 Raptor and Jeep Wrangler are known for their mountain-conquering abilities, but few can match the legendary talents of the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Toyota Land Cruiser's career spans decades, and while classic examples can still be found bouncing up and down the off-road trails of America, Toyota is gearing up to bring a new model to market. The new 300 Series model will replace the outgoing 200 Series that made its debut back in 2007 and will ride on Toyota's new body on frame GA-F platform. The new Cruiser will feature tons of new tech, but Toyota recently revealed that it still benchmarked the new car against an old Land Cruiser 80 from the 1990s.
When development started on the new car, chief engineer Takami Yokoo embarked on a massive road trip around Australia in a J200 Series Land Cruiser and remarked that it was a chore to pilot the car along the 1,761-mile journey, which included some of the harshest driving conditions known to man. After the trip, driver comfort became one of his main focus points, but off-road performance remained a priority, and the Land Cruiser 80 was the chosen machine to use as a benchmark.
"We actually used the Land Cruiser 80 as a guidepost," Yokoo admitted. "Even 30 years after it first appeared, it has the best rough-road performance of any Land Cruiser. We want to surpass that rough-road performance."
Toyota started off by sticking to one of its key recipes: a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, a number which hasn't changed since 1990. Around this lucky number, the manufacturer built a reinforced frame that sheds 440 pounds off the 200 Series unit while offering more strength and stiffness. Weight distribution was also taken into consideration, and the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 which replaces the traditional V8 was shifted an inch lower and closer to the back of the vehicle, which translates into a front weight bias of only 53.5 percent.
The suspension geometry has also been improved to move more in line with the wheels during extreme articulation. The new vehicle should make it over to the US as the Lexus LX, but could possibly be sold under the Toyota name. The same platform will also be used in the 2022 Toyota Tundra and Sequoia.