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Are We Too Soft For The 70 Series?

Proffitts Recent Blog Post: Are we too soft for the 70 Series?

Are we too soft for the 70 series?  And Jeremiah visits the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum to check out the new Land Cruiser 250!

Photo by "Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser
A rare photo of the Land Cruiser 250 not flexed up on a rock gives us a look at the stance. The oversized wheel wells begging for bigger tires. Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser

Since Toyota announced the coming of the new Land Cruiser 250 about a month ago, I’ve been asked by many what I thought of it.  Truthfully, I’ve been waiting for it to sink in a little before I even formed an opinion.  There is a lot to absorb, both visually and technically.  Plus, without actually getting some hands-on time, It’s impossible to get a real feeling for a vehicle.  Toyota uses the phrase “Genchi Genbutsu” to describe the necessary act of actually going to the location and seeing the real thing in order to size up a situation.  I was waiting for the opportunity to do just that, and then I got it. 

Last weekend, Chandra, Atlas, and I made the journey to Salt Lake City, Utah, for an evening with the new Toyota Land Cruiser and its designer, Jin Won Kim.  Toyota had placed a shiny new 1958 model of the Land Cruiser in the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum for the lucky attendees of Cruiser Fest 2023 to be able to practice Genchi Genbutsu for themselves.  Having the opportunity to view it in a more intimate setting and visit with the designer the night before really gave me the time I needed to solidify my opinion about it.  But first, here is what I learned. 

The design team in charge of the project has been working on this for a long time.  True to other Toyota principles, they did a lot of research before even getting started.  They were present at FJSummit in 2019, I think, and I remember them talking with Land Cruiser enthusiasts and riding trails.  They visited the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum and spoke with Dan and Greg, who can both speak at the highest levels about what “Land Cruiser” really means to us.  They also consulted designers of the previous Land Cruiser models to make sure their vision was going to stay consistent with that of the fathers of past versions.  It was crucial to them that they kept true to the brand, and the team was on a mission to “get it right.”

Jin Won Kim LC250 Proffitts Resurrection Land Cruisers
Jin Won Kim sketching his creation in front of onlookers at the museum.
Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser
CruiserFest 2023 Jin Won Kim Proffitts Resurrection Land Cruisers
An incredible opportunity, attendees of CruiserFest 2023 got to hear first hand, the thought, reasoning, and effort behind the design for the new Toyota Land Cruiser from the designer himself, Jin Won Kim of Calty Design Research. Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser
Land Cruiser Heritage Museum Proffitts Resurrection Land Cruisers
Our friend and Land Cruiser expert Kurt Williams giving a tour. The Land Cruiser Heritage Museum is home to the largest and most complete collection of Toyota Land Cruiser in the world. It’s a must see next time you’re in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser

While we were checking out his work, Jin Won Kim got to see some of ours. He took a liking to this patina restomod we built a few years back, and even gave it the 1st ever Jin Won Kim Toyota Designer’s Award. 

Jin Won Kim Proffitts Blue Bomber 2 Proffitts Resurrection Land Cruisers
Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser
Jin Won Kim Proffitts Blue Bomber Proffitts Resurrection Land Cruisers
Photo by “Christopher Garcia” @033landcruiser

Other than my obvious elation (and relief) that the Land Cruiser is back in the first place, I’m happiest with two things about the model.  First of all, I like that Toyota steered the new design away from the luxury market.  The 200 series is an awesome and capable vehicle, but it had strayed away from what Toyota originally intended the Land Cruiser to be in the first place—a simple, affordable, reliable, and rugged 4X4 vehicle.  The second thing I like is the subtle homage the new design pays to previous models.  If you look closely, there are 60 series design elements in the crisp, squared-off body lines, as well as the front clip and headlights.  There’s even a lettered TOYOTA badge like a 60/62.  The 250 shares the same wheelbase as the 80 series, with good approach and departure angles, and there’s a very similar feel to the cabin design.  There’s also a little splash of 70 series in there, with the down-sloping door line and the chiseled, lower, and narrower front clip (for visibility). To me, it looks like a Land Cruiser and even feels like one when you are sitting in it.  I like the drive train choice, too. Even though I didn’t get to drive it, I imagine the 4-cylinder hybrid will make the 250 feel similar to what I’m used to on earlier models with “about the right amount of power.”

Now, to address the question I’ve heard hundreds of times.  “Why not just bring the 70 series to the US?”  I’ve listened to many guesses on this, ranging from “It would be too much work to make the 70 series EPA and safety compliant in the US” to “Toyota is already building the 70 series to capacity all over the world, so why add another market?” It might be a combination of those things and more, but I’ve got my own idea.  I’ve traveled to many other countries where the 70 series is used for its intended purpose, and I can say that in every case, the end users of the Land Cruiser are using their Toyotas in far more extreme ways than most of us in the United States do.  I’ve seen them carrying everything from towers of coffee bean sacks to Brahma bulls through the mountains of Central and South America.  I’ve seen them traverse Australia’s relentless terrain with enough supplies, fuel, and water to last for weeks on board.  They are used and abused in extreme duty all over Africa and even more so in the Middle East.  In all those cases, and even though I’m intimately familiar with their ruggedness, I’ve always been amazed at how well they can survive in those environments.  Toyota knows all of this too.  They designed the 70 series for those uses, and they know we (Americans), with our superior highway systems and infrastructure, really don’t need what the 70 series offers.  Of course, we enthusiasts “think” we need it, but would enough people here be willing to sacrifice the comfort provided by decades of engineering improvements for the durability (and looks) of a 70 series? And are there really enough buyers to make it worth the work that Toyota would have to do to jump through the compliance and capacity hoops necessary to bring the model to the US?  I bet Toyota thinks not. 

What do you think?  Are we too soft for the 70 series Land Cruiser?  What do you think of the new Land Cruiser 250?  We will make commenting on our website available for a few days to let you share your opinions. 

8 thoughts on “Are We Too Soft For The 70 Series?”

  1. I think the 70 series would be great for going over County Road 25 and through Little Blue Canyon, and the occasional mud slides each year on Highway 149. lol

    Thank you all you do,


  2. Happy to hear your take on the new 250 Land Cruiser. I was skeptical at first, but reading your response put my mind at ease.

    Thank you

  3. I for one, cannot wait to view the new 250. In the next year or so, I hope to buy my next 4WD which will probably be my last before my driving years wind down. I currently own a Jeep Wrangler and an 80 Series Land Cruiser. I have been leaning toward a Jeep Gladiator, but the recurring complaints from owners concerning the dual battery system, axle leaks, and paint bubble issues and general quality control issues have me leery of a Gladiator. I don’t view Stellantis’ acquisition of Jeep as a positive thing either. (I will say though, my current Wrangler has been just as reliable as my Cruiser). I have owned many Toyota 4x4s and Toyota Quality is what has kept me as a long term customer.

    So, all this being said, the new Land Cruiser intrigues me and is a very strong possibility. I am curious how the aftermarket will come along after sales begin. I want to see how the 250 looks/performs with a mild lift, bigger tires and an ARB front bumper. So far, no mention of the possibility of a “Trail Hunter” package for the 250 which I would definitely consider. I think the 250 will be a comfortable travel and exploring vehicle for my me, my wife and our Cruiser Dog, Haddie.

    So, the wait begins.

  4. Hello, I liked the new 250, and really like the 250 with the round headlights. I don’t think we are too soft for the 70 series. I would’nt mind seeing them here. I’m sure they would be expensive,too much for my wallet,but it would be neat to see them here. Hats off to Toyota for the new Land Cruiser 250, they look great.

  5. I’m pretty happy with most of what Toyota did with the LC250. I think the best trim is the 1958. I would have liked a v6 option as I’m not completely sold on the hybrid power train. I’m concerned about the rear cargo area height as it’s raised for the battery. I would have liked to see a split rear hatch. I’m not going to line up for one. But might consider it in the future. I’m pretty bummed that the 70 series isn’t available. I would have put a deposit down on that. I think the 70 series would also differentiate it between the 4Runner.

  6. I find it disappointing that Toyota has never brought a diesel to the US market. The rest of the world yes, but US no. I am curious about the serviceability in the Wildlands, the advantage of the LandCruiser in the wild was that it didn’t break, and if it did there was a good chance it could be fixed. What about the 250?

  7. I won’t touch the new Prado, it’s an abomination in my opinion. I agree it’s good to have something at a lower price point, but hybrid is a no go for me and as far as I’m concerned, goes against what the Landcruiser is. A simple, robust, reliable tool. The track record of hybrids can be promoted anyway anyone likes, but it’s adding another layer of complexity which adds fault points.

    With regards to the 70, importing them en masse wouldn’t work for Toyota.
    Even if there wasn’t a backlog, or if it met emissions, or if it met safety standards. It doesn’t fit in the American market for the general consumer. Way too much money for too few cup holders.

    BUT. It doesn’t take up any more space on a ship than anything else Toyota sends from Japan. It would be sweet if you could order one. They wouldn’t sell many but they would sell some. It would give some of us the opportunity to own one.

    The sales manager at the local Toyota dealership lives 5 minutes from me and has a 40. If I read that ordering one was an option, he’d be getting a text saying I’ll be in the showroom in the morning to get mine coming.

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