The Retro-Cool Land Cruiser We Really Want Has Cloth Seats and a Stick Shift

Toyota’s other Land Cruiser Heritage Edition is less of a luxury barge — and offers something American buyers haven’t seen in a Cruiser since 1988.

Last year, Toyota launched a Land Cruiser Heritage Edition in the U.S. as a 2020 model. As we found out when we drove it, it’s enjoyable; indeed, even charming. But those heritage bits weren’t enough to cover up for the fact that that the U.S. version Land Cruiser is a bloated and dated luxury barge.

Then we learned that Toyota launched a separate Land Cruiser Heritage Edition in the United Arab Emirates, which pays tribute to the Land Cruiser’s more-utilitarian heritage in other countries.  And we can’t stop swooning over it.

This Heritage Edition delivers one novelty Americans aren’t used to when it comes to the Land Cruiser: choice. The UAE heritage edition comes with two engine and transmission options. There’s a 4.0-liter V6 base engine with a six-speed manual — Americans haven’t been able to buy one with a stick since 1988 — as well as a 4.6-liter V8 version with an eight-speed automatic.

This Land Cruiser gets some heritage we love, such as rad 1990s-spec decals and rear barn doors. It’s also simpler, and oriented for off-roading over luxury. It has practical touches like a rear-mounted spare and a factory air compressor to refill your tires after hitting the sand. This Cruiser also has light-colored cloth seats, which are more practical and comfortable for a desert trek.

What may shock Americans even more than the refreshing utility is the price. The American Land Cruiser comes fully loaded; the Heritage edition starts at $87,745. The UAE version is much cheaper, with the V6 Land Cruiser Heritage starting at the equivalent of around $46,000. The V8 model comes in a little above $60,000.

Sadly, Americans will have to wait for decades to import these two forbidden fruit SUVs. Fortunately, all reports indicate the Land Cruiser Toyota sells in the U.S. will be lighter, cheaper, less fancy, and more off-road focused.

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