Toyota Land Cruiser (2024) review: better in every way

Published: 01 April 2024 Updated: 02 April 2024
Toyota Land Cruiser front
  • At a glance
  • 3 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Ted Welford

Senior staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers. Loves a car auction. Enjoys making things shiny

By Ted Welford

Senior staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers. Loves a car auction. Enjoys making things shiny

► First new Toyota Land Cruiser in Europe for 15 years
► Retro styling and usefully modernised interior
► Better on-road, but even better off it

The word icon is so overused when it comes to cars. But one car that truly deserves the title is the Toyota Land Cruiser

It’s a 4×4 that has been 72 years in the making and is renowned for its unstoppable and reliable nature which has made it the car of choice in some of the harshest climates on the planet, from the Australian Outback to the deserts of Dubai. 

But the Land Cruiser’s achilles heel has always been its on-road performance, with a jiggly ride, and slow steering making it almost too compromised for those not looking for a farm hack or to cross the Sahara. Toyota is now back with a new version that aims to change that and brings some big differences. But can it take the fight to the new Land Rover Defender? To find out, we’ve been up in the Scottish Highlands to test the latest Land Cruiser in prototype form. 

At a glance

Pros: Still monstrously capable off-road but now much better on it, retro looks

Cons: Fuel economy, doesn’t ride as well as a Defender

What’s new?

By the time the new Land Cruiser arrives in the UK at the back end of 2024, it’ll have been 15 years since the current-generation model has been on sale, and in the car world, that’s an awfully long time. 

Toyota Land Cruiser off-road

So for this new generation, now known as the ‘250’ or Prado depending on where you’re based, all has changed. Toyota says it looked at previous Land Cruisers while coming up with this new car while retaining its ‘simple and sturdy character’. 

In terms of looks, it’s very different, with a new modern-retro design harking back to past versions introduced. It will likely go down a storm with buyers – think new Suzuki Jimny and Land Rover Defender (and how well they’ve done) and you get the idea. There’s minimal overhangs, classic ‘Toyota’ badging, lots of glass and characteristically tough styling without being too try-hard. Depending on trim level, it also gets round or square headlights. It’s properly cool. 

Toyota Land Cruiser rear

Under the surface, it retains the body-on-frame structure but uses a new platform shared with the larger Land Cruiser 300, while accommodating various mechanical changes. A key one is adopting electric power steering for the first time, replacing the old hydraulic setup. This provides less kickback while off-roading, and importantly allows lane-keeping assists to be introduced to meet the latest safety requirements. 

What about the specs?

Toyota has stuck with the Land Cruiser’s 2.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine for this new model, but with extensive modifications that include a redesigned turbocharger. There’s a new eight-speed automatic gearbox too, bringing two more gears than before. 

Its 201bhp and 369lb ft of torque figures remain the same as before, but courtesy of the new turbo and gearbox, it feels considerably quicker than the old Land Cruiser’s 12.9-second 0-62mph time. The Land Cruiser is still in prototype stage, so various stats remain ‘tbc’ until it’s properly homologated, but we anticipate a couple of seconds being shaved off that 62mph sprint time. 

Toyota Land Cruiser

Efficiency figures remain under wraps as well, but we averaged around 28mpg on our test route. Expect CO2 emissions to be well above 200g/km too. 

You will be able to buy a (lightly) electrified Land Cruiser in 2025, though, with a 48-volt mild-hybrid setup. Toyota is being clear it’s about making the SUV ‘smoother and quieter’, rather than boosting fuel economy.                                                                   

How does it drive?

The on-road manners of the previous Land Cruiser were previously the main weak point, but Toyota has worked hard to address that. Ride comfort is a real step up, and it feels far more settled and less jittery than the previous car, albeit not as silky-smooth as a Land Rover Defender’s ride. 

Toyota Land Cruiser front dynamic

The new electric power steering is another major advancement, and makes a real difference to how it behaves on the road. It feels more planted, settled and responsive, with the old Land Cruiser’s steering being slow and often unpredictable. 

Remember the old Land Cruiser and Hilux’s shake and general racket it made when the engine started? Well, it’s massively more refined and quieter now, to the point it feels like they’ve started from scratch with this engine. 

Toyota Land Cruiser off-road

But what about off-road performance? Well, don’t worry as Toyota hasn’t neglected this. Four-low and four-high ratios remain, with a button now used to switch between the two, rather than a mechanical lever. There’s also a new feature that can unlock the front anti-roll bar for increased wheel articulation for proper off-roading and various modes and features to play with. But even left to its own devices in the default auto setting, the Land Cruiser’s off-roading ability is nothing short of remarkable. 

What about the interior?

On our Scottish test drive, Toyota had a previous generation Land Cruiser for us to look at, and – having not been near one for a few years – it’s staggering how old the interior looked and felt. Poor quality, a myriad of buttons (yes, we’re now complaining about too many buttons, you just can’t please us!) and a general look and feel like it’s from a bygone era. 

But Toyota has just about nailed the new Land Cruiser’s interior. There’s a large new touchscreen and digital instrument cluster, both of which work well but aren’t the most cutting-edge. The quality is a real step up, with a decent number of soft-touch materials but without the pretences of being luxurious and usefully chunky controls that are perfect for working hands with muddy gloves. Stick with a Range Rover if you want your semi-aniline leather. 

Toyota Land Cruiser interior

In terms of space, there’s the choice of five or seven seats, with our car being the former. At just shy of five metres long, it’s similar to the Land Rover Discovery and offers a vast interior with a huge amount of space in the second row. As a utilitarian family car goes, it’s ideal. 

Before you buy (trims and rivals)

Toyota won’t open Land Cruiser orders in the UK until much later in 2024, so pricing and specs are very much still under wraps. 

Expect a range of versions, from rougher-and-ready trims to much plusher models, with a limited-run First Edition kicking things off. Limited to 3,000 examples across Europe, this will bring an impressive list of equipment and classic Land Cruiser details such as round headlines and bespoke paint finishes of Sand (beige) and Smoky Blue. 

Toyota Land Cruiser side profile

You can expect the Land Cruiser to start from around £55,000, putting it in a similar ballpark to the Land Rover Defender and Discovery


The previous Land Cruiser was always a well-loved but fundamentally compromised 4×4 that offered limited appeal to those outside of farming or rural circles, at least in the UK.

But the new Land Cruiser’s cool new design and overhauled interior show it can be successfully modernised. The greatest improvement has to be the way it drives on the road, which no longer has to be a case of ‘I’ll put up with it because it’s great off-road’. While our cars were prototypes, and one of only four cars Toyota has in Europe, it felt more than showroom-ready, and signals a brilliant reincarnation of this icon. 


Price when new: £0
On sale in the UK: October 2024
Engine: 2755cc 16v turbo 4-cylinder diesel, 201bhp, 369lb ft
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, four-wheel-drive
Performance: 10sec 0-62mph (est), 106mph, 30mpg (est), 230g/km (est)
Weight / material: 2330kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):

Photo Gallery

  • Toyota Land Cruiser front
  • Toyota Land Cruiser (2024) review: better in every way
  • Toyota Land Cruiser (2024) review: better in every way
  • Toyota Land Cruiser rear
  • Toyota Land Cruiser off-road
  • Toyota Land Cruiser front dynamic
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Toyota Land Cruiser (2024) review: better in every way
  • Toyota Land Cruiser off-road
  • Toyota Land Cruiser interior
  • Toyota Land Cruiser side profile
  • Toyota Land Cruiser (2024) review: better in every way

By Ted Welford

Senior staff writer at CAR and our sister website Parkers. Loves a car auction. Enjoys making things shiny