While the current Toyota Land Cruiser has become something of an expensive status symbol like many big off-roaders before it, it’s still one of the best in its class, even if this generation’s been around since 2007. It also has something the next generation might not: A V8 engine.
Citing “well-placed” sources, the folks at Australian site Car Advice report the next Land Cruiser will drop a V8 engine option in favor of a turbo V6 and an eventual hybrid:
Toyota says it’s too early to discuss technical details of what will be the first completely new LandCruiser in 14 years, however CarAdvice understands the current 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel and 4.6-litre V8 petrol will be phased out due to tougher global emissions standards.
Despite repeated requests for clarification on the future of the LandCruiser V8, Toyota says it cannot discuss future model plans.
However, at the recent launch of the new Toyota Hiace van, the head of product planning and development for Toyota Australia, Bernard Nadal, told CarAdvice: “You would see most brands are shifting down from V8s whether it be petrol or diesel configurations. It’s generally in the pursuit of greater efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions, so that’s the global trend.”
You may be thinking, “What the hell does Australia have to do with me, an American?” I also was thinking that. But Australia’s emissions standards are just as behind Europe’s as America’s are, so if the V8 can’t survive in that market, it likely won’t stick around for ours either.
And then there’s this bit, also from Car Advice, emphasis mine:
Although a shift to V6 power – and eventually hybrid technology – is apparently inevitable, Toyota insists the LandCruiser won’t lose any of its off-road or towing capability.
“I think that will well suit us for customer needs,” said Mr Nadal. “The current hybrid take-up [of Toyotas] is amazing. It’s going very, very well for us, not just in Australia but also in key European markets and in America. That’s a fair sign of where we’re going,” he said.
Toyota has previously claimed it will offer a hybrid variant in every model range by 2025.
“We’re confident enough to say that if we were to implement hybrid technology variants [they would have] advanced towing requirements, no compromise,” said Mr Hanley. “We understand that hybrid technology should not compromise capability. This is our clear thinking going forward.”
So, looking at it from Toyota’s perspective, the V8 engine option is an emissions headache, people are buying hybrids, and there’s no compromise in the sort of capability, on paper, expected from an off-roader. Looking at it like that, it makes sense that they would ditch the V8 for a hybrid.
But it doesn’t make it any less sad. There’s no word on when exactly Toyota plans to unveil the new Land Cruiser, but if it’s promising a hybrid version of every model by 2025, and the hybrid Land Cruiser is coming a few years after the car’s introduction, we probably won’t be waiting too much longer.
Toyota declined to comment on future product when approached by Jalopnik.