The 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition may be the last we see of Toyota’s longest-lasting model name.
It’s no secret the current generation Toyota Land Cruiser, which has been in production since 2007 and only received a mild refresh in 2016, is an outdated piece of machinery. At $85,000, it’s arguably overpriced as well. And, as of 2022, the Land Cruiser will be “exiting the market,” according to Jonny Lieberman at MotorTrend. And you know what? It’s about time.
Before the pitchforks are sharpened and the torches get lit, I want to make it very clear the J200 Series Land Cruiser is still a capable off-roader despite being a decade old. It does everything you ask of it fairly well, including hauling your family during the week and all your gear and off-road toys on the weekend. But when Toyota still insists on charging nearly $90,000 dollars for a ten-year-old SUV and sales don’t justify its existence, it should be no surprise the Land Cruiser is getting the ax. It also doesn’t help every J200 comes fully-loaded from the factory and you can find low-mileage examples from 2018 going for $10,000-$20,000 cheaper.
If the second hand market isn’t enough, internal competition from the 4Runner and Sequoia effectively make the Land Cruiser a completely obsolete SUV. That’s because if you want an SUV from Toyota for camping and trail riding, the community favorite is undoubtedly the 4Runner. If you’re looking for luxurious SUV from Toyota but don’t want to spring for a Lexus, the top trim Sequoia has you covered. In reality, the off-roading and luxury communities rarely intersect, making the modern Land Cruiser uselessly over engineered and designed.
Off-roading is all about affordability. Why? Because damage and dirt are inevitable and cleaning plush leather seats and carpets and paying thousands of dollars for a new paint job every weekend is insane. Take a walk around any overlanding or off-road get-together and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any attendees showing off their brand-new Land Cruisers. Sure, the J200 Land Cruiser is more than capable off-road, but so is the 4Runner TRD. And the $40,000 you save with the 4Runner goes a long way in upgrades to make it even more of a formidable adventure vehicle.
On the other hand, the car shopper looking for a luxury SUV from Toyota, who doesn’t want to shell out for a Lexus, probably isn’t worried about off-road handling, which is where the Sequoia comes in. The more suburban SUV sports the same V8 engine as the Land Cruiser, carries groceries just as well and comes with a nearly identical high-quality interior, all for about $20,000 less. However, as mentioned above, if you’re really still adamant about getting a J200 for its luxury and nameplate, and are on a Sequoia-budget, the used market is the place to look.
When people hear “the Land Cruiser is canceled,” there will be an uproar, but not over the J200. The backlash will be fueled by nostalgia for the iconic FJ40. The classic Land Cruisers are the models everyone lovingly associates with Toyota’s longest lasting nameplate, charmingly bare-bones amenities, and brutish off-road capability. The J200 is not that. Should the Land Cruiser name disappear? Of course not. It deserves to live on just as much as any other car with such a rich history, but not purely for name sake. If Toyota were to bring the Land Cruiser back to its roots and focused less on moving up market, stepping on toes at Lexus, I’d be all for it. But, until that happens and Toyota realizes the error of its ways, the Land Cruiser needs to be put to rest.