Morning, class! Does anybody know when Toyota, the world’s biggest, wealthiest and by far the most respected automobile company was established? A hundred years ago or so? No, that’s not the right answer.
Listen up: Japan’s pride and joy, #9 in the Fortune 500 list as of 2014, was officially founded in 1937, August 28th, to be exact. Yep, it’s been around for 78 straight years, keeping the highest bar of quality, customer support and that whole no-BS attitude that made it what it is today.
Alright, next question, and this one’s easy: name the company’s longest-running nameplate. Camry? No. Corolla? Nope! Come on, people, get your stories straight! The right answer is the Land Cruiser, or, rather, the legendary and iconic SUV that’s been around since 1951 and is still one of the greatest offerings in the segment of big-bad and luxurious family haulers.
Hey, every single word I just said is true, so, you better show some respect. Excuse my enthusiasm, I just get really hyped up every time I decide to write about the next legendary vehicle because a model like that represents a whole era, a lifetime, you could say, not just some clever marketing moves and talented engineering work. In order to stay afloat in a harsh environment like the car industry, you gotta go in – big time. To be honest with y’all, I didn’t know much about the Toyota Land Cruiser, simply because I never cared enough to seat myself for a couple of hours and learn about all the ups and down that it’s been through over the years. Folks today don’t really think they need to read that kind of stuff, you know, something like boring Wikipedia details or long-*ss videos, explaining the differences between the tiniest and nerdiest details.
Keeping It Casual, Classy And Entertaining
Don’t worry, you won’t find any of that here. In today’s article, I’ll give you a quick run up the ladder and tell y’all about all the important facts that you need to know about if you want to be a hip and cool person who can tell interesting stories about boring stuff. I promise I’ll keep it casual, practical and won’t bury you in a pile of unnecessary information. Trust me, I’ve been through articles like that and the last thing I want to do is put you through that.
Obviously, given the fact that the Toyota LandCruiser has been around for quite a few decades, even if we keep it as brief as possible, the ride is gonna be a long one, so, buckle up, make yourselves a nice cup of that Indian tea, take the garbage out, turn the lights off and let’s get cracking! As my grandfather used to say, “The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish, Jonny. With a smile on your face”. Can’t argue with that, now can we?
Ok, we’re talking about a series of FWD (four-wheel drive) vehicles, built by Toyota, a Japanese mogul of epic proportions. Official production of the very first gen started back in 1951, with only 90 units made. The LandCruiser has been available as a station wagon, a hardtop, a convertible (!), and, of course, a utility vehicle (that’s the SUVs). The model is known for class-leading reliability, durability, longevity and safety, and that is why it’s been super-popular all over the world, especially in Australia (it’s the best-selling body on frame FWD vehicle over there!) By the way, make sure to check out my review.
Available In Almost Every Corner Of The Earth
And, the company really loves to test the new editions over there – in the Australian outback, to be exact, which is internationally known as one of the roughest-toughest operating environments in terms of the terrain and temperature. Bottom line is, you won’t have any problems finding a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale in the Commonwealth of Australia (that’s just the official, fancy name :)). In Japan this bad-boy is only available at the Toyota Store dealerships (yep, it’s exclusive).
Speaking of world domination, I’m happy to say that since 2014 this beast is available in pretty much every corner of the Earth, except for friendly Canada, Hong-Kong (it’s Ok, though, because they’ve got the Lexus LX, yet another exceptional full-size SUV from the Japanese manufacturer), South Korea and North Korea (even though I bet they do have a couple of dozen units over there, they’re just too proud to admit it).
I know I just mentioned that you’ll get tons of Land Cruiser for sale offers in Australia, but, as it turns out, it’s monopolized the global markets and you can purchase it in every American State, European city and the majority of the Asian/South-American countries. That’s quite impressing!
It needs to be said that the automobile industry today has turned into something of a chess game, and you can’t just infest the whole world with your favorite model and expect it to sell huge numbers just because you think it’s an exceptional vehicle. There’s this thing called market analysis, and – as surpising as it might sound – it really works!
Toyota Land Cruiser For Sale – The Art Of Negotiation
True, Toyota is pushing the Cruiser in every available corner, but that doesn’t mean they never went through countless conferences, consultations, meetings and, again, analysis before they decided it was the right move for this handsome monster. Now, as we just started talking about the Land Cruisers for sale in world-wide markets, let me tell you a few words of wisdom on how to successfully buy a modern-day vehicle here in America. First things first, you gotta have a clear picture in your head of what is it exactly that you want. All the solid reviews you’ll find in the Internet will tell you the same thing, because the majority of folks don’t really pay much attention to it, when they should.
If you’re going to the nearest dealership thinking something like “I want that cool Toyota from the ad” or “The salespeople got it covered, they’ll help me out”, you’re running the risk of being robbed of your money in broad daylight. I’m not saying they’ll put a mask on your face and keep you hostage in some old construction side at the edge of the city, but they will trick you into buying non-vital stuff like a winter package during summer, all kinds of fancy (and expensive) technological features and safety equipment you won’t actually need in your day-to-day commute…that sort of thing. And you can’t blame them, because that’s their job, you know?
By the way, I recommend you to read my article “The Art Of Negotiation – How To Beat The Sweetest Deal Out Of A Car Salesman”
Buying A Used Toyota Land Cruiser – The Hidden Dangers
On the other hand, if you’re going with a used Toyota Land Cruiser all you need to worry about is getting the vehicle inspected before you pay for it, because, chances are, it will be an old piece of junk with like a million miles behind its rusty back. I say this in pretty much every article about the art of buying a pre-owned car, and I’ll say it here too, real quick: if you wanna play it out safe, go with the Toyota Certified Program. The vehicles from that line-up are all being thoroughly checked-up and kept in excellent conditions. True, you’ll have to pay up a bit, but the price is more than fair. Plus, they’ll give you at least a year-long warranty, which will help you sleep better at nights :).
And remember: there are tons of lease/loan options on a used vehicle (yep, not only on the brand-new and shiny ones), so, make sure to check them out too! Note: you won’t get any of that if you decide to buy a Toyota LandCruiser for sale from a private owner.
As a matter of fact, the government won’t lend you a helping hand neither, not to mention you’ll have a hard time finding an insurance company that will agree to take care of your new ride (simply because they don’t know where it came from, so to speak). Yeah, you’re right, it will be cheaper that way, a lot cheaper, actually, but come on, are you really ready to put your trust into a strange dude who posted his “iconic SUV for sale, in an excellent condition”? I’m not trying to scare you off, I’m just saying you need to be vigilant. However, if you do manage to find a decent seller, a Toyota Cruiser used model will serve you for a lifetime (remember I said it’s one of the most reliable and dependable vehicles in the industry?) Alright, enough sales talk – let’s focus on the history class, shall we?
The LandCruiser Origins – Borrowing From The Americans
Fun fact, folks, listen up: back in 1941, during World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army seized control over Philippines and found an old and beat Bantam Mk II Jeep (also known as the Willys) and immediately sent it back to Japan for some “quality studying”.
Next, the Japanese military officials ordered Toyota to manufacture a similar model with a mighty powertrain and off-road-friendliness but a different design (appearance, to be exact). Back then Toyota was just starting out, so, they were more than happy to do that (besides, who could say no to the government, right? As a result, the Japs got their first own SUV, the Model AK, which later turned into the type 4 compact cargo truck (that was the boring official name, but we all know that it was the direct predecessor to the now-legendary Toyota Cruiser).
Later that same year the company received yet another order: to build a lighter truck for the military to use during the ongoing war. Next year, in ’42, the AK10 prototype was produced: it was a 1/2 tone truck with an upright front design, the head-lights mounted right above the wheel arches and the back looking a lot like the contemporary FJ40. Under the hood the team hid a 4-cylinger engine (2259 cc), paired to a 3-speed manual transmission. Get this: unlike the Jeep vehicles that were successfully used by the American army, not a lot of AK10s made it to the battlefield and there are not that much photos of them, either. Next, in 1950, when the Korean War happened, the army folks requested a light utility vehicle for quick “crusin’ down the block”. Yep, the world just couldn’t go on without yet another war for at least a decade, could it?. It’s a horrible thing, but let’s focus on cars, OK?
The Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep – The First Steps
Fun fact: This terrible conflict actually brought the original Jeep and Toyota closer to each other, as the US government ordered 100 units with the brand-new Willys specs and the Japanese manufacturer was asked to build them. Funny how war can bring different nations together, huh? This was the first Land Cruiser off road model, specifically designed to work in the field, as the military folks say. In ’51 the Toyota-Jeep BJ conceptual prototype was developed (in January, to be exact). Again, the order came from the Army that had a large demand of sneaky and tough utility vehicles on the front (you had the Land Rover Series 1 running the show back then). The BJ was actually bigger than the American cousin and even more powerful, thanks to the 3.4-lit 6-cylinder engine that was good for 84 Horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque (which was awesome 5 decades ago). Fun fact: in July that same year Toyota drove the next-gen BJ prototype to the 6th stage of Mount Fuji, and that was something that no other car had done before. Furthermore, this glorious moment was witnessed by NPA (the National Police Agency), and they were so impressed by the performance that they ordered 289 units for their own fleet. So, yeah, you could say that the first-ever Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep became a huge success in the community. By 1953 regular production was established, with the company introducing three new editions, including the BJ-T (Touring), BJ-R (Radio), and BJ-J (Cowl-chassis for a fire-engine).
Evolving Into The Cruiser – Without The “Jeep” On The Nameplate
Next year was a pretty big one, as the team’s technical director, Hanji Umehara came up with the now-iconic nameplate – Land Cruiser. Yep, that’s when the first official Toyota Cruiser for sale became available, folks, so, remember that date! Mr. Umehara said back then that with the Land Rover doing great on the world-wide market, they had to come up with a strong enough name that would have its own character and at the same time sound good and have a certain effect on the potential shoppers. And that’s when they thought that switching “Rover” with “Cruiser” was a good idea. Well, today we know that it actually WAS a good idea! That same year the company introduced a 3.9-lit Type F gasoline engine that was capable of pumping out as much as 125 Horsepower. I guess it’s safe to say that 1954 marked the year when the Land Cruiser Jeep evolved into something independent, something good enough to carry its own nameplate. The second generation arrived in 1955, with the J20. The main goal with this one was to create a more civilian appearance that would be appealing to the export markets. Furthermore, this new thing had fancier bodyworks and better handling. The engine was moved forward, which made the interior more comfortable and enjoyable. In ’57 a four-door station wagon was introduced (the FJ35V) and the Land Cruiser first stepped onto Australian soil, which automatically made it the first Japanese vehicle to be regularly exported in. A year later Toyota established production in Brazil, making it the first model from the company to be built outside Japan. I gotta make a quick confession: this is the off-road-friendly series we’re talking about. The comfort-oriented series will follow next.
The Arrival Of The Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40
The now-legendary Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 was introduced to the world in 1960, with a new engine under that hood (3.9-lit F unit, good for 125 Horses). This edition pretty much put the model on spot and it became the best-selling nameplate from the Japanese manufacturer here in the United States, with global production surpassing that 50K in ’65. So, bottom line is, the Land Cruiser sales were on point, and that means the company heads were super-happy with it and ready to invest even more bucks (or Yen). By ’68 they sold the 100 thousandth Cruiser world-wide. In 1972 they reached the 200K mark; the 300K mark was achieved a year later. Furthermore, with the 1972 Land Cruiser the engineers introduced the first diesel edition for export with a 6-cylinder engine. A 4-cylinder 3.0-lit diesel unit was offered in ’74. Fun fact: in ’77 the Irish Army received the first “package” of the FJ45 Cruisers. Now, even though they were fast, dependable and reliable, not to mention amazing at off-roading, they were never tested in a harsh environment like the wet Irish climate, and that’s why they got rusty pretty quick :). Next year West Germany received a bunch of diesel/petrol-powered FJs. By the way, with the 76 Toyota Land Cruiser the Japanese mogul founded the Toyota Land Cruiser Association in California (aha, I’m not even kidding). And the last FJ40 vehicles imported to America were the models from the 1983 line-up.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 – A Living Legend
Nobody really knows how many actually made it to the Land Of The Free, but the critics say the number is around 300. Therefore, because they’re so rare and all, these babies are pretty expensive at the auctions and folks are ready to pay a pretty penny for them. The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 was introduced in 1984 in a soft/hard top, utility, cab chassis and a bunch of other editions, with a new 4.0-lit 3F engine replacing the outdated petrol unit. Wait, how did we jump from the J40 series to the J70? Well, it’s simple: remember I told you we’ll talk about that big-boy stuff first (I mean the off-road series) and only then move on to the civilian line-up? Well, this is us doing that! 🙂 Alright, let’s proceed: later on the 70 Light saw the light of day, which was essentially the smaller and more maneuverable version of that same vehicle. In some markets it was known as the Bundera and/or the LandCruiser II. A few years later it was renamed to Prado. Next, when it became popular among the regular folks, it transformed into the 90 series. Furthermore, the team behind it packed it with an automatic transmission, which made it the first FWD Japanese model to come with that. So, that’s the 1984 Land Cruiser for y’all, my friends, in a jiffy, as a buddy of mine likes to say. In 1999 the company redesigned the 70 series and made it more suited for the new market that was all about making it look cool and feel great on the road. That’s because the Land Rover was doing the exact same thing, and Toyota didn’t want to fall behind the line, so to speak.
Countless Editions, Configurations, Specifications And Options
First of all, the front axle got a coil-sprung suspension, while the rear sprungs were lengthened for improved ride quality. In addition, tons of other minor updates/modifications were made to the powertrain in order to make it more reliable and dependable. In 2007 the Land Cruiser J70 received the first turbo diesel V8 from Toyota (only available in some countries, though). In 2012 the 79 Double Cab pickup was added to the Australian and South-African line-ups. Fun fact: the 6th and 7th generations of the Cruiser are still being manufactured and sold in the African and Latin-American markets, which means they’re still pretty much capable of getting the job done. However, production was ceased in Venezuela in 2008. What can I say – the Land Cruiser 70 is a true legend, nothing more, nothing less. And it’s still marketed over in Australia as a four-door wagon. Fact: the 2014-2015 30th Anniversary edition was sold in Japan as a four-door wagon or a four-door pickup with that V6 petrol engine under the hood and a five speed manual transmission to keep it company. Alright, folks, I can spend hours telling you about the off-road-friendly editions, but the truth is we don’t have much time left and it’s time to move on. I told you pretty much everything you need to know about the 70 series LandCruiser. If you want to learn more, Wikipedia got you covered (but don’t get lost in there – I know I did :)). Moving up with our story, let’s take a look at the “comfort-oriented” series, starting with the J50 that debuted back in 1967.
The J50 Series – Going For Mass Appeal And Scoring Big
Ok, here comes the fun part: the J50 was in production for the 1967-1980 period and the company refers to it as the first true station wagon in the Land Cruiser line-up, thus starting the branch from scratch. So, it was a 4-door wagon (or wagooon, as me and my friends used to call it back in the day), known as the “Moose” (don’t even ask; other folks called it the pig, or the iron pig). The FJ55 came with a longer wheelbase of 2.7K mm and was specifically designed to appeal to the customers here in North America and in Australia. The 1977 Land Cruiser was only available in Japan, exclusive to the Toyota stores. It wasn’t a super-cool edition or anything, just one more in the line-up of many. The truly cool times began when J60 Land Cruiser arrived in 1980 and stayed around for one straight decade, until 1990. Fun fact: the plant in Venezuela continued production until ’92, for some reason, so, they had 2 more years to enjoy this beautiful new thing. The 60 series LandCruiser is considered to be an epic one, simply because it finally let go of that fancy-but-retro look and switched to a contemporary SUV design that was already pretty hot on the market. However, it still had all that off-road edge and hunger that it was (and is) known for, rivaling the best of the best on every step of the way. And it came with tons of color choices, too, eleven in total. On the inside the lucky shoppers got comfort goodies, including an updated cabin with better materials, a rear heater and air-conditioning. The previous petrol engine from the 40 series was still there, plus, two new units were added – a 4.0-lit 6-cylinder and a 3.4-lit 4-cylinder.When the customers here in the States got the new Land Cruiser for sale they fell in love with it and made it one of the best-sellers.
The 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser, The 1990 Cruiser And The 1999 Edition
Get this: by 1981 the vehicle celebrated the one millionth unit sold and introduced a high-roof version for all the fans. Next, when a stock edition competed in a 1K kilometers Desert Race, it became available in South Africa. Fact: with the 1984 Toyota Land Cruiser the 40 series was taken out of production, but folks still remember and cherish it. Hey, boys and girls, are you tired already? Come on, we’re almost at the finish line! So, the 80 series LandCruiser took its rightful place in history in early 1990 with a 1989 reveal at the Tokyo Motor Show. In 1990 the new station wagon arrived, replacing the 60 series, and all the 80 editions sold in America and Europe were now packed with a FWD system. Plus, a new line-up of diesel engines was introduced, adding up to the already-impressive collection. So, you had a choice between a naturally-aspired petrol 6-cylinder, a naturally-aspired diesel 6-cyl and a turbo diesel with direct injection. In ’93 Toyota made a 4.5-lit 6-cylinder petrol engine available. Thanks to its rounder form, the new generation was called the Burbuja in Venezuela and Colombia (that means Bubble), while the official name was Autana. Regardless of the nicknames it was given, by 1994 sales reached a solid number – 2 million vehicles, baby! Remember, it was a world-wide release and you could even get a Land Cruiser in India. In 1995 the company introduced driver/passenger airbags and switched the old “Toyota” badge with the modern-day logo. Fun fact: in ’96 two Cruisers took the number 1 and number 2 spots in the Dakar Rally; that same year the model was replaced in Canada by the friendly Lexus LX 450. With the 1997 Toyota Land Cruiser the public got the Collector’s Edition, which boasted exclusive paint job, exterior/interior details and minor differences here and there. That same year the 40th Anniversary Limited Edition was issued. So, if you’re in the market for a used Land Cruiser, you might start with 1997 – a lot of exciting stuff happened back then.
The J100 – One More Step To Climb
The 100 series LandCruiser hit the market in 1998. With the previous gen hanging around for 8 straight years, it was about damn time. Development began in ’91, with the final design being approved in ’94. I gotta say that there were 2 different editions of the same series – 100 and 105. They looked almost identical, but there were tons of differences under the skin. However, despite the differences, they’re both known as the 100 series, period. The 105 took the majority of the drivertrain/powertrain from the 80 series and was available only in the Russian, Australian, African and South-American markets (sounds like the whole world, I know). In 1998 The 100 series Land Cruiser introduced the WFS (World First Suspension) system that included AHC, TEMS and other cool and fancy tech. Furthermore, the 2002 Land Cruiser revealed the Night View, the first world-wide series production active automotive night-vision system. The models from the 100 series were packed with a wider chassis, 2 brand-new engines and independent front suspension (by the way, this was the first time the suspension was tweaked with). However, I gotta say that these in-city-friendly changes limited the Cruiser’s off-road capabilities, and that is why Toyota decided to go with the mud-friendly 105 edition along with the on-road-happy 100 line-up. And get this: when the V8 was introduced to the North-American market, people started comparing the Land Cruiser vs Sequoia, another full-size SUV from the Japanese mogul, but they’re pretty different, even though it doesn’t seem that way at first. Fun facts: the 100 series heavily influenced the entry-level luxury LX470 from friendly Lexus; in UK and Ireland it was called the Amazon; by 2000 the company sold 3.72 units; the series remained in production up until late 2007.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series – The Current Gen
Believe it or not, but the development process for the current gen started in 2002, with the final production design being approved a couple of years later. Since 2004 to the 2007 release the team conducted tons of tests in order to make the model a true work of art. So, the brand-new, redesigned and shiny Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series was introduced with the 2007 edition, sharing the exterior design and the platform with the friendly Lexus LX 570. The frame was brand-new as well, “borrowed” from the 2nd-gen Tundra (but a bit shorter and a lot stronger). A lot of controversy followed the 200 line-up, though, and some folks were claiming that Toyota kinda lost the original charm somewhere along the way and that they needed to bring it back. I never agreed with those claims, simply because I think the modern-day Cruiser looks pretty cool. The biggest achievement of the new series was, of course, the introduction of a HUGE number of techy stuff, all shiny and fancy. Aha, the new LandCruiser for sale had tech savvy like no other SUV on the market, and that played a vital role in its success. And, an all-new Toyota Land Cruiser V8 Diesel engine became available, too. In the Middle East the new vehicle arrived in late 2007. Here, in America, it’s only offered with one trim level and one engine, a 5.7-lit V8, capable of 381 Horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is pretty impressive as well (8.2K pounds), while a 14-speaker JBL sound-system comes standard. With the 2013 edition the team behind the new 200 series decided to make all the previously optional luxury/safety features standard, which was pretty cool.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 2015
However, the 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser was a 100% copy of it, so, no point in paying up for it, in case you were wondering. As funny as it might sound, same goes for the 2015 Land Cruiser, which was, again, almost identical to the 2013 edition. Still, you got a smooth ride quality, amazing off-road performance, class-leading reliability and durability, impressive towing capacity, seating for 8 grown-up passengers, gorgeous, premium-class looks and a mighty engine to go along with all that great stuff. On the other hand, it’s got its week sides, too, and they include bad fuel-efficiency, an outdated infotainment system and 3rd-row seats that are a bit cramped, even though it’s a huge full-size SUV. For example, the latest Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is superior when it comes to interior comfort. Hey, if you’re really into comparisons, check out my review “Toyota Highlander 2015 vs Toyota Land Cruiser 2015: What Do You Choice?”. Don’t scratch the Toyota Land Cruiser 2015 off your list, though: it’s a mean hustler, especially when out in the wild, and you better believe that. It comes with 18-inch wheels, keyless entry/ignition, 4-zone (automatic) climate control, top-class leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, front/rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, navigation, Bluetooth/USB/iPod connections, the aforementioned 14-speaker sound-system, High Def. radio, an 8-inch touchscreen, and tons of other dope stuff. I told you it’s one of the best in the class! The 2016 edition was – aha, you guessed it – the same in almost every way, so, you can scratch that one out, if you want :).
Land Cruiser 2016
If you’re into something exotic, check out the Land Cruiser Prado 2016. This handsome fella is available in pretty much every corner of the world, except for the States, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. They’ve got the 4Runner and the Lexus GX running the mid-size SUV show. The 4th generation hit the markets in 2009 and is still the last one to date. You’ve got two versions to pick from – 3-door and 4-door. If you’re a fan of 5 doors, go with the TXL & VXL trims that come packed with tons of optional features. So, if you’re from Europe or just want some of those export goods, check out my review on the Prado 2016!
The Toyota Land Cruiser 2017
As a famous cartoon character used to say, “It’s coming, I just don’t know when exactly”. There are a lot of unconfirmed rumors, but I just don’t want to get into all that right now. If you’re into the brand-new stuff, make sure to check the post. Alright, I believe this concludes my hefty review, my friends! No matter what you type in Google, like Toyota Land Cruiser Colorado, Minnesota, New York, ATL or whatever, you’ll always get tons of offers, because this is a legendary SUV, the real deal. You can even buy it in South America, in Philippines, in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Russia, the ex-Soviet countries…in pretty much every region and city. The Toyota Land Cruiser South Africa edition is quite a popular one, too, because folks over there appreciate its off-road supremacy, reliability and towing might. Oh, I almost forgot – if you want to see the legendary FJ40 make a comeback, check out my article. Ok, people, this is goodbye – pack your bags, put your seatbelts on and drive safe! I’ll see you next time!
See this video: 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser Review – First Drive: