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Don’t Expect Hardcore Off-Road Versions of the New Land Cruiser

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The new Toyota 4Runner and Land Cruiser are closer than ever, sharing a platform and a ton of components. But Toyota very clearly defines these as different vehicles, and where the 4Runner is supposed to be the fun off-roader for the outdoorsy among us, the Land Cruiser is a bit more serious. It’s a reflection of the Land Cruiser’s heritage as one of the most dependable trucks ever made. So, don’t expect a Land Cruiser TRD Pro or Trailhunter. The 4Runner has that base covered.

“Especially the [4Runner] TRD Pro, is very symbolic as an American truck, like the Tacoma, Tundra,” Ketia Moritsu, chief engineer for the Land Cruiser and 4Runner, explains to Motor1 via an interpreter. He says it’s more appropriate to make hardcore off-roading versions of those trucks. The Land Cruiser is a different thing. 

“At this point, the Land Cruiser is the Land Cruiser, it has its own identity,” Moritsu says. “The Land Cruiser is a car that’s loved globally…it’s a vehicle that has been honed on the most rugged and treacherous terrain, so in that sense, it’s an unmatched, unrivaled, unique identity for a vehicle. We want to be able to relay the pride of being in a vehicle like that for customers, and so that would be their experience for the Land Cruiser, that trust, that confidence, that faith they put in that vehicle.”

Put another way, the Land Cruiser is the truck of choice for humanitarian organizations around the world; the 4Runner’s home is by the beach, at trailheads, and on fire roads. Despite the similarities underneath, they’re different trucks for different people.

Of course, you can make your Land Cruiser hardcore if you’re so inclined. Toyota tells us it brought out the bare-bones Land Cruiser 1958 Edition for those looking to make the new LC their own. It doesn’t get the sway-bar disconnect and other fancy features of the more expensive “Land Cruiser” model, which makes it better suited for aftermarket upgrades. There’s also the Land Cruiser’s Lexus sibling, the GX550, which comes standard with 33-inch tires and other off-road goodies in the Overtrail version that provides another option for consumers wanting more stuff on their LC. 

So if you’re looking for a factory Toyota rock crawler or dune jumper, go for a 4Runner Trailhunter or TRD Pro. If you want the global icon, get a Land Cruiser.

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