Could the Next Toyota Land Cruiser Get a Badass Off-Road Version?

Don’t rule out a more rugged trim of the Land Cruiser, at least if you live in Australia.

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Toyota is finally about to retiring the ancient J200 Land Cruiser, which has been in production since 2007. The 300-Series Land Cruiser should debut in the coming months, potentially with a new hybrid powertrain. And, according to an Australian report, the new SUV could also spawn an even more rugged, off-road-tastic version.

Asked about the possibility of a more rugged Land Cruiser, Toyota Australia’s marketing chief Sean Hanley told Carsales that Toyota could try to capitalize on the current trend toward luxed-out, highly-accessorized off-roading vehicles. “You’d never rule anything out in that area, given the popularity of that market segment,” Hanley said. (One of the Land Cruiser’s main rivals in Australia, the Nissan Patrol, will be gaining a more off-road-ready version called the “Warrior,” which prompted Carsales to ask about an equivalent version of the Toyota.)

That proposed version of the Land Cruiser 300 Series, it seems, would be sort of like a TRD Pro trim, with a suspension lift, off-road wheels and tires, and reinforced underbody protection — which would be outstanding. However, that would be for Australia, which is the Land Cruiser’s best market. There’s no way to know yet whether such a version would come to the U.S.

Still, reports have been suggesting that Toyota will be differentiating the Land Cruiser and its twin the Lexus LX. The former may become more of a pared-down off-roader, while the latter would aim for performance and luxury, challenging SUVs like the Bentley Bentayga.

But recent comments from Toyota’s new North American CEO suggest the 300 Series Land Cruiser may not come to America at all. He noted that American dealers wanted the Land Cruiser nameplate, but he was cagey about what vehicle would carry it. Of course, if the new “Land Cruiser” in the U.S. is just a more capable version of the 4Runner, that would pretty much the smaller, more attainable Land Cruiser everyone has been pining for.

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