Since its release in 2007, the 200-Series Land Cruiser finally gained its highly anticipated successor. Toyota has unveiled the all-new LC300 series Land Cruiser on an online world premiere hosted in Dubai as the next generation and new flagship of the SUV range.
While automotive markets around the world await the release of the new 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser LC300, the United States won’t be getting this one. Toyota confirms that it won’t be able to bring the new station-wagon style SUV due to the unfavorable sales numbers of the previous generation.
Car and off-roading enthusiasts and even Toyota die-hard fans will be left disappointed. They won’t be able to persuade Toyota to change their decision after the LC200 series struggled to keep the number of units sold above 3000 per year during its production run from 2007 to 2020. Despite the popularity of three-row luxury SUVs, the Land Cruiser doesn’t sell in high quantity in the US Market.
Several factors behind the poor sales numbers may have led to the decision not to bring in the new Land Cruiser to the US market. The most notable reason is the hefty $85,000 price tag and the inclusion of a fully-loaded trim package regardless of your choice on this luxury SUV.
There’s no denying that it is both a dependable family vehicle and a capable off-road vehicle that does everything well. It lives up to its claim of “go anywhere and everywhere, and bring you back safe and well”. Although, it was hard for the consumers to justify the pricing given its decade-old existence leaving them to search for more affordable counterparts like the Lexus.
Another hurdle for its struggling sales could be the market for pre-owned vehicles which is its biggest competition. Anyone can easily find a fully loaded J200 Land Cruiser in mint condition and low mileage going for $10,000-$20,000 less.
Internal competition against the Toyota 4Runner and Sequoia also contributed to its low sales figures. These two are budget-friendly alternatives to the LC200 series that can satisfy demands and expectations.
The Toyota 4Runner is the community favorite when it comes to an SUV for camping and trail riding. It’s a ready-to-modify off-road vehicle that you won’t mind when it takes hits and dirt from crossing harsh terrains. For only $36,000, you still have plenty left to get your preferred wheels and tires and other off-road accessories to fortify the 4Runner compared to the $85,000 LC200. The 4Runner outsold the Land Cruiser for a ratio of more than 33:1 from 2016–2020.
On the other hand, the Toyota Sequoia is a $30,000 cheaper luxury SUV for those who are not worried about off-road handling. The top trim Sequoia is a good alternative if you don’t like to acquire a Lexus too. It offers more utility with spacious cargo capacity and an identical high-quality luxury interior. It also possesses the same V8 engine as the Land Cruiser. It is as capable as the aforementioned off-road vehicles. You can also make it look more stylish with a set of black Moto Metal wheels. It managed to outsell the Land Cruiser 3:1 over the past years.
Off-roading and luxury aspects of the automotive community rarely come together making the ergonomics of the LC200 series unnecessarily over-the-top. Anyone looking for a dedicated off-road SUV will consider its affordability. There’s always a need for extra cash for occasional damage repair, dirt cleaning, and new paint job. Expenses for replacement parts and upgrades such as installing a new suspension lift kit are also inevitable.
All the new tech development and design overhaul of the next-generation Land Cruiser can lead to higher costs. A Japanese press report said that the base price for the LC300 series will increase by 500,000 yen, which converts to approximately $5000. A corresponding price increase would see the base price climb to around $90,000 compared to the price of the previous LC200 series.
With the US market missing out on the LC300 Land Cruiser, other automotive markets worldwide that may be able to acquire this SUV will get to experience new features. Toyota made a complete redesign of the SUV from scratch. It showcases an all-new platform, a new look, and new engines to enhance performance both on-road and off-road environments.
The new LC300 Land Cruiser applied the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, specifically the TNGA-F or GA-F, that shares its underpinnings to body-on-frame vehicles. This GA-F platform retained the off-road capability while delivering new benefits in terms of durability, strength, and dynamic balance improving on-road performance. This platform allowed changes in its chassis and new design cues for the exterior and interior.
The new chassis decreased in weight by 440 lbs, creating a lower center of gravity and improving overall weight distribution. An upgraded suspension system has been introduced for better wheel articulation as well. The electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) was added to adjust and modulate anti-roll bars and react to dynamic forces applied across the suspension to optimize chassis performance both on-road and off-road.
Two new pieces of off-roading text were also added. The Multi-Terrain Monitor displays a real-time view of the road surface beneath and the vehicle's surroundings, including the obstacles at the front to improve visibility. The Multi-Terrain Select automatically selects the best driving mode depending on the road conditions.
The V8 engine of the LC200 series was replaced by a twin-turbo V6 engine. There’s a choice between a 3.5-liter gasoline model that can generate up to 409 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque or a 3.3-liter diesel engine boasting 304 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of the choice of engine, both can send power to all four wheels using a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The LC300 received a modern overhaul inside out. The cabin interior provides a high level of sensory appeal in space where drivers and passengers can feel comfortable, safe, and at ease no matter how tough the environment is. There’s also a massive 12.3-inch multimedia screen on the dashboard and a redesigned center console and a new digital gauge cluster with a dedicated display.
Toyota Safety Sense was also included for active safety and driver assistance, This Pre-Collision system helps avoid an accident by increasing detection of pedestrians and potential collision hazards day and night. It also has a new Parking Support Brake that recognizes obstacles on both front and rear when moving slowly and reversing out of a parking space.
There’s no doubt that the all-new LC300 Land Cruiser will become a good contender for one of the best SUVs out there. It’s an off-road vehicle extremely capable of handling any harsh road condition. Land Cruisers are much more affordable outside the US. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the US market. The slow sales of the previous generation can’t justify Toyota’s spending to bring the LC300 to the US market. Who knows what Toyota has in store for the US market in the future? We might get another three-row luxury SUV in another form.