This is a sad day for off-road fans.
Nowadays, the list of vehicles sold exclusively with a V8 (as opposed to having a smaller engine available) is fairly small, and the majority of examples left are SUVs. Think models like the Nissan Armada, Infiniti QX80, Cadillac Escalade, and, of course, the Toyota Land Cruiser. But as time passes and emissions regulations get stricter, each of those vehicles will eventually fall out of the running.
And according to what inside sources at Toyota told Car Advice, the Land Cruiser’s V8 will be the next to get the ax. Being a global vehicle, the Land Cruiser is already available with a wide range of engines, but in America, it’s only sold with the same 5.7-liter V8 that the Tundra gets as an option. That engine makes 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, and of course, figures like that also mean the Land Cruiser gets dismal fuel economy ratings.
And though previous reports have indicated that Toyota is in no rush to redesign the 14-year-old Land Cruiser, the current generation of which is known as the 200, Car Advice claims a fully redesigned 300 series is due out in 2021.
But instead of a V8, it will pack twin-turbo V6 diesel and gasoline engines, though we’ll probably only get the gas version in America before a hybrid Land Cruiser hits the market a few years later. Toyota’s reasoning is obvious, too. "You would see most brands are shifting down from V8s whether it be petrol or diesel configurations,” said Bernard Nadal, head of product planning and development for Toyota Australia. "It's generally in the pursuit of greater efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions, so that's the global trend.”
Some Land Cruiser fans might point out that the car is offered with smaller engines, like the 4.6-liter gasoline V8 that the base Tundra gets, in other markets and that Toyota could just use that engine in the 300 Series. Toyota, however, doesn’t see much reason to invest in redeveloping an old engine that may not meet emissions standards later in the 300 Series’ lifespan. And considering how long the 200 Series has been on the market, that’s a fair point.
So what powertrains could Toyota use? To speculate with some accuracy, it’s best to look at the Tundra. Rumor has it that the next generation of Toyota’s full-size truck could be getting a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 mated to a hybrid drivetrain, similar to the setup on the Lexus LS 500h. And if Toyota thinks that’s good enough to power its biggest truck, chances are it feels pretty safe about putting that power plant in the Land Cruiser.