The Toyota Land Cruiser is the Last Great SUV

Connor Struyk ’20

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With my last article focusing on the rebirth of one of the most influential off-road vehicles of all time, I suppose it’s rather fitting that this article focuses on the likely imminent death of another. The Toyota Land Cruiser for those who don’t know is one of the best and most reliable cars on sale today. The Toyota Land Cruiser model series has been in continuous production since 1951 with the current J200 model in production since 2007. Its name has become synonymous with unparalleled reliability and build quality.

Despite all of this heritage, I wouldn’t blame you for not knowing about them or at least not knowing they were still on sale. Toyota, in their infinite wisdom, has seemingly decided that the best way to sell their most expensive vehicle is to simply not advertise it at all. Don’t let the obscurity fool you however, as the land cruiser is quite possibly one of the best SUV’s on the market today. For most car manufacturers, the industry standard for how long an average car is designed to last is 15 years. Toyota has designed the Land Cruiser so that it is supposed to last 25. Each of these SUV’s are hand built in a separate factory from other Toyota vehicles The level of engineering that has gone into the Land Cruiser is simply astonishing and likely what makes it such a hard sell. All of that engineering is extremely costly and starting at $85,315, the Land Cruiser competes with many other high-end SUV’s which offer nicer, if less reliable and less engineered, experiences.

Despite the high price, lack of marketing, and abundance of competition, the Land Cruiser still managed to carve out a niche for itself. If you need to absolutely get somewhere in any of the most inhospitable environments on earth, a Land Cruiser will get you there. The Land Cruiser has a dedicated fan base who have helped keep the Land Cruiser name alive for well over half a century despite the car’s relative obscurity. Still, the Land Cruisers days may be numbered, at least in the United States. Rumors have swirled since August that in 2022, the current generation Land Cruiser will be discontinued in the US and there will be no replacement. Toyota has somewhat added fuel to this fire as they have refused to comment on the future of the Land Cruiser while also stating that they have made no decision as to whether they will stop selling Land Cruisers in the US. No matter their ultimate decision, no one will deny that the current Land Cruiser is starting to look a little long in the tooth.

The current model Land Cruiser has been on sale since 2007 with no major updates so it is unsurprising that a major redesign would occur sometime around 2022. The Land Cruiser is what you get when an automotive manufacturer already known for quality allows its engineers to create the best SUV they possibly can. It is outdated, ludicrously expensive, and poorly marketed. Yet despite all of that, if you were to go into a Toyota dealer today and buy one, I would wager that you would never regret that purchase. Even as I write this, I can’t help but wander off to the car classifieds and gaze in longing at still stupidly expensive used Land Cruisers. There really is something truly indescribable about how great this SUV is and I for one will be devastated if it does disappear.