Toyota launched the new J300 Land Cruiser earlier this year without mentioning it coming to the United States. But in a statement confirming the Land Cruiser would be discontinued in 2021, Toyota affirmed that it is "committed to the large SUV segment" and instructed enthusiasts to "stay tuned for future developments." A photographer may have spotted one of those future developments.
TFLTruck received spy shots of a large SUV with heavy camouflage testing in California. That vehicle had Texas manufacturer plates — Toyota's American headquarters is in Plano — and a Toyota Yaris behind it as a chase vehicle. Evidence suggests that it would be a new Toyota or Lexus-based sport utility vehicle under the cloak. And it has six lug wheels, like the new J300 Land Cruiser, suggesting it's a heavy-duty, body-on-frame off-roader. But which one?
The flagship Lexus LX SUV — a very close relative of the J200 Land Cruiser — is definitely returning to America for the next generation. The LX could be heavily based on the J300 Land Cruiser. And since the LX emphatically outsold the Land Cruiser, bringing only the LX version to America would make sense. However, the lighting and grille in the TFL spy shot look different than the more Lexus-like mug teased under a sheet during the NX reveal.
Toyota also should have some form of full-size SUV coming. The new Tundra is arriving very soon and will likely run on the same TNGA-F platform and may use one of the same engines as the J300 Land Cruiser. An SUV variant of that truck should follow to replace the aging Sequoia. That SUV could have space to become more of an off-roader if Toyota launches a larger three-row Grand Highlander family crossover.
If Toyota were bringing the J300 to America but only as a Lexus LX, debuting a new cheaper Toyota full-size, American-built off-roader based on the Tundra and not wanting to reveal the launch of either vehicle yet, it would explain Toyota's lack of a straight answer to whether the Land Cruiser was returning.