Toyota

The Toyota Land Cruiser has returned to the United States, and it’s not like the previous generation. Interesting mechanicals aside, it’s available—at the same time—with two different front fascias. Both are rugged and square-shouldered, but there’s more going on here than meets the eye.

The Land Cruiser we’re getting now is not the larger global model, which is still sold stateside as the Lexus LX. This is a smaller version, known globally as the Land Cruiser Prado. It has much in common with the Lexus GX, which was revealed earlier this year. It seems like almost all of the major sheet metal is shared between the Lexus and all trims of the Land Cruiser.

By far the most interesting visual aspect of the new Cruiser is the entry-level 1958 trim, which gets you a completely different front fascia than the regular car. 1958 was the year the Land Cruiser first arrived stateside, and as such the car bearing this name is a retro throwback, at least as far as its face goes. The front end of the 1958 features round headlights, which is the only major departure aesthetically from the regular car. The rear end and most other parts of the body remain the same. In contrast, the higher Land Cruiser trim features narrower rectangular lights and blinkers, which fill the same space.

A quick look side-by-side at either trim and the Lexus GX, which shares a platform with the Land Cruiser, shows just how much is shared between them. It’s almost everything outside of more easily swappable items like the fascias, wheels, and tires. Inside, though, the Lexus is very different.

That makes the design of this body style flexible, to say the least. One could imagine the truck going in a more vertical lighting direction like an Escalade or a Hyundai EV9 and it still working. Toyota isn’t exactly known for refreshing its models frequently, but if it wanted to, this platform is very much a blank canvas to work on.

This has implications beyond the GX and Land Cruiser, which is what makes it so cool. As car companies move towards selling more electric vehicles—most of which deliver power in the exact same way—design alterations like this, even with cars bearing the same name, may become more common to spice things up. The Land Cruiser is still powered primarily by a gasoline-fueled engine, but if this multi-design plan works out, we could see future vehicles from a variety of automakers offering more aesthetic choices for customers.

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The post The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser’s Flexible Design Is One of Its Coolest Features appeared first on The Drive.

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