It’s amazing to think that two or three years ago, when we first caught wind that the Toyota Land Cruiser was on the chopping block here in the States, it seemed completely inevitable and — though I take no pleasure in saying this — entirely deserved. Sure, enthusiasts were sad, but clearly average buyers weren’t willing to pass up all those German brands and Land Rover just to drop $90,000 on a Toyota. Even one with an international reputation for rock-solid engineering and off-road chops.
Then the pandemic happened, people suddenly yearned to get outside and, out of nowhere, the Land Cruiser’s story changed. The SUV’s age became something to venerate, not deride. Couple that with the eternal human condition of only caring about something when it’s gone, and Land Cruiser prices have unsurprisingly shot up in the past year or so.
A reader sent us a listing to a new-old 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition available for sale in San Francisco for $108,399. “Seems a little high,” they remarked. Perhaps, if you consider that these initially went for $89,000 new. But then there’s the whole inflated market to consider, plus the fact the nameplate’s just been discontinued on our shores. The result is a perfect storm for dumb Land Cruiser prices.
The funny thing is you don’t have to look far to find new-ish Land Cruisers that are way more expensive than even that particular example. Here’s a 2021 Heritage with 6,401 miles on the clock for $129,960 in Salt Lake City, and here’s one with basically the same mileage in Illinois for $119,870. There’s a 2020 not-Heritage example that’s actually been driven by someone on Cars & Bids right now with 35,500 miles. There are five days left to bid on it, and it’s already sitting at $75,000.
This is just the way it is now, and every time I see a large Lexus SUV, the occasional Sequoia or even a 4Runner, I wonder if Toyota has been kicking itself for the past year. Who am I kidding? I know it has.
Given the way that the current everything has supercharged prices for some models in particular, I always find myself asking the question “how high is too high?” Then I realize, it doesn’t matter. The market will tell us how high is too high, and the market has told us there’s pretty much no ceiling.