For many years, Toyota sold the Land Cruiser in the United States — at least, until 2021, when Toyota axed the venerable, slow-selling model from our lineup. The Lexus LX — a rebodied version of the Land Crusher — seems all but sure to still be sold in America going forward, luckily. But the best-selling Land Cruiser variant in the U.S. isn't the LX; it's the Lexus GX, which is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. It's smaller, substantially cheaper — and typically outsells the aforementioned Land Cruisers four times over in America.
Still, the second-generation GX has grown dated; it entered production in 2009. And trademark filings for "GX550" uncovered in America by CarBuzz and in Costa Rica by Motor Trend suggest the current GX 460 could be set for a major upgrade.
Lexus model nomenclature has changed: the GX 460 stems from an earlier era where the three-digit number neatly tracked engine displacement. The GX 460 uses a 4.6-liter V8 engine. Lexus now uses the three-digit number to reflect relative output; 550 is higher than 450, which is higher than 350. So, the GX550 should be more powerful than the 301-hp GX 460, which has about as much grunt as a four-cylinder Ford Bronco.
We would bet that the GX550 will be a new third-generation model, not a revised version of the existing SUV. Rumors point to the new Land Cruiser Prado arriving sometime within the next two years, and Toyota has a new TNGA-F body-on-frame truck platform that will underpin the new Tundra pickup. It would be weird if Lexus were not giving the strong-selling GX a complete overhaul for a new era.
The question is which engine GX550 will refer to. We suspect Lexus would launch with a gas engine, perhaps the 400-plus horsepower twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 that's going in the new Land Cruiser. That said Toyota has said all models will have a hybrid option by 2025, including the GX. (Toyota's YouTube channel also recently dropped a still-mysterious explainer for diesel engines, leaving us wondering if an oil-burner is in the cards.)
Remember, Toyota told off-road enthusiasts to hang tight when it announced it was eliminating the Land Cruiser for 2022. Lexus has a new three-row crossover coming to carry the water for families. One could see the new GX leaning even harder into off-roading capability — and becoming the smaller, cheaper Land Cruiser option many in America has long wanted.