Home Editors' Picks Toyota Land Cruiser 250 presented to the world

Toyota Land Cruiser 250 presented to the world

Brand New

Hybrid powertrain to make debut in iconic model

LAST WEDNESDAY, at exactly 10 a.m. Japan Standard Time, Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) unveiled the all-new Land Cruiser in an event streamed online via YouTube. This model is affixed with a “250” appendage on its moniker and, hence, shouldn’t be confused with the previously launched (and selling like hotcakes) Land Cruiser 300.

TMC is still officially calling the LC250 a prototype, with a launch “planned for the first half of 2024 in Japan,” according to a company release. TMC Director and Operating Officer Simon Humphries presided over the 20-minute introduction of the LC250 (and Japan-exclusive LC70), noting that the Land Cruiser nameplate is already 72 years old.

It was, he narrated, “the time of Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of Toyota Motor Corp., (when) the company was only 14 years old, a disruptive start-up in the automotive world.” Today, Mr. Humphries continued, the Land Cruiser is sold in 170 countries and regions around the world. “(It) literally put Toyota on the map.” The nameplate has cumulatively sold about 11.3 million units worldwide.

“From prairies to deserts, from the North to the South poles, it is safe to say, Land Cruiser has seen more sides of life than any other automobile in history,” he boasted.

The Land Cruiser has been traditionally divided into three iterations: the station wagon “that always showcases the latest technologies and has evolved into the flagship model” (currently the 300 Series); a heavy-duty version “with outstanding durability and off-road driving performance (the 70 Series),” and a light-duty model “that provides ease of handling and comfort on an off-road base as a lifestyle and practical choice for customers (Prado).”

Enter the 250 Series, which is said to be a result of instructions from former TMC President (now Chairman) Akio Toyoda. “The Land Cruiser should be a car that supports people’s lives and local communities, so the light-duty model must return to the true form that customers are looking for,” he had said to the development team.

The group interpreted the directives as “returning to the origin of the Land Cruiser,” resulting in a “simple and sturdy vehicle that can be trusted by customers to fulfill their lifestyle choices and practical needs.”

Mr. Humphries described the 70 as the “essence” of Land Cruiser, the 300 as its “pinnacle,” and the 250 as its “core.” While sharing a GA-F platform with the 300, it will banner for the first time in an LC a hybrid powertrain (among others) and electric power steering, while improving on a “basic performance as an off-roader.” Versus the current-generation Prado, the LC250 is 100 millimeters longer (at 4,925mm); 95mm wider (at 1,980mm), 20mm taller (at 1,870mm), and with a wheelbase 60mm longer (at 2,850mm).

The executive shared that TMC sought the opinion of Dakar Rally champion Akira Miura in developing more intuitive cockpit controls. “We designed (these) to be easy to identify and operate by feel alone,” said Mr. Humphries.

Meanwhile, the 250’s overhangs have been kept short, “proportions are calculated for maneuverability in extreme environment,” and the vehicle gets a low beltline, slim A-pillars, and an angular construction for better visibility.

Significantly, TMC will be marketing the Land Cruiser 250 to the North American continent (the 300 isn’t). Although it’s too early to tell, there’s a good chance that the Philippines will get that (aforementioned hybrid) variant, powered by a 2.4-liter Hybrid Direct Shift (eight speed) delivering 330ps and 630Nm. Other options include an exclusively ICE (internal combustion engine)-powered trim, one fitted with a 2.8-liter turbo with 48V generator, a diesel, and a 2.7-liter six-cylinder gas grade. — Kap Maceda Aguila