2020 has been a year that we'll never forget — though not for lack of wanting (or trying). But as nasty as this annus horribilis has been, we weren't quite ready for this latest report, and we're still hoping it'll be proven incorrect: it seems the 2021 model year may be not just the final model year for the 200-Series Toyota Land Cruiser, but the final model year that the Land Cruiser will be sold in the United States, period.
The news comes from a poster on the ih8mud.com forum who goes by the name Eric Sarjeant, who claims to be an employee at Ed Martin Toyota of Indianapolis. (The dealership does list a man by that name on their "Meet the Team" page, and lists him as a general manager there. The photo on the dealer site also matches the profile picture on the forum.)
In a post dated October 7th and brought to light via the sleuths at Reddit's r/cars forum, Searjeant wrote, "I apologize if there was a thread already on here, but the Land Cruiser has been officially discontinued. MY2021 is the final year. I know the Lexus will live with a turbo 6. Sad day."
Not surprisingly, this was met by both shock and sadness by the forum posters. In response to their cries for more details as to whether this meant the Land Cruiser was being axed worldwide, Sarjeant said, "I can only speak for US market. We'll have to wait on a press release to see it with our own eyes, but I heard it with my own ears from the source."
"I can't really address the [Lexus] LX questions," he said in response to another question. "I know it will live-on with a turbo 6. But to as if it's a 200 or 300 or whatever. I don't want to start a rumor mill, but I can't see them switching the motor w/o updating everything, but I can't confirm that in any way. All I can confirm is that the Land Cruiser is officially discontinued."
Previous reports have indeed suggested that the 300-Series Land Cruiser / Lexus LX would toss aside their venerable V8 for a turbocharged six-cylinder motor, much as the Lexus LS sedan did at its last model transition. (Reports have been less clear as to whether that new engine will also be hybridized.)
While previous versions of the LX and Land Cruiser have been largely identical apart from exterior and interior design differences, a recent report suggested the two models were set to diverge in terms of their missions with the next-generation vehicles. The Land Cruiser, reportedly, is set to return closer to its off-road roots and lose some of its luxurious trappings to focus more on its core mission (and, perhaps, bring down the price some), while the LX will reportedly go further upmarket to compete better against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and even the Bentley Bentayga.
We reached out to Toyota North America for more information, and a spokesperson replied with an extended "no comment," saying, "At this time we cannot comment on speculation of future product news, as there have been no announcements with regard to the future of Land Cruiser."