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Toyota’s beefy new Prado and 70 series sibling set to cruise into SA in 2024

Toyota’s beefy new Prado and 70 series sibling set to cruise into SA in 2024
From left: Land Cruiser "300", Land Cruiser "70" (prototype), and Land Cruiser "250" (prototype). Image: Toyota

Toyota's two new Land Cruiser models – the Land Cruiser 250 (aka Prado) and the Land Cruiser 70 – are a blend of rugged reliability and durability.

It’s not for nothing that the flagship Toyota Land Cruiser is known as the Master of Africa among enthusiasts. The current Land Cruiser 300, launched in 2021, to replace the then 14-year-old Land Cruiser 200, has gained a reputation as the go-anywhere-do-anything car. On Wednesday, 2 August, Toyota unveiled an updated version of the no-nonsense utilitarian 70 series, as well as the Land Cruiser 250, a comparatively light-duty model of the Land Cruiser and a successor to the Land Cruiser Prado. While it will retain the Land Cruiser 250 moniker in its home country, Japan, as well as some other markets, Toyota is presenting the 250 as “the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado” in its announcement for the South African market. 

“Reliability and durability are built in, and performance over rough terrain is on par with the flagship Land Cruiser 300,” Toyota’s head of design, Simon Humphries, said during the unveiling. 

Besides the rugged and blocky new look, he went on to highlight some of the differences from the previous models. Key among those is that the new Prado will share the same GA-F (Global Architecture F) platform as the flagship Land Cruiser 300, which Toyota says will dramatically improve its basic performance as an off-road vehicle. 

To put that into numbers, the carmaker promises a “50% increase in frame rigidity and 30% increase in overall rigidity.” 

The Land Cruiser 250 features electric power steering. (Prototype image: Toyota)

There are two main styling options for the Land Cruiser 250. However, it is not clear if South Africa will get both. Prototype image: Toyota

A side view of the Land Cruiser “250” Prototype. Photo: Toyota

A side view of the Land Cruiser “250” Prototype. Photo: Toyota

A front view of the Land Cruiser “250” Prototype. Photo: Toyota

It will also be the first Land Cruiser to have electric power steering rather than hydraulic, which should improve on-road comfort, as well as reduce loss of control when driving off-road. As has become standard in this category, the car will also feature a terrain management system, specifically Toyota’s Multi-terrain Select, as well as the Multi-terrain Monitor, an array of cameras that gives the driver front, rear and side views of the area surrounding the car.

The car comes in various engine specifications including a hybrid with an electric powertrain, petrol versions as well as gas versions. However, at the time of writing, it was still unclear which will be available for the South African market. The price is also yet to be announced. According to Toyota, “local specification will be made available closer to the vehicle’s South African introduction in Q2 of 2024”. 

The Land Cruiser 250 features three-row sitting. Prototype image: Toyota

The Land Cruiser 250’s pared down interior. Prototype image: Toyota

The Land Cruiser 250 interior. Prototype image: Toyota

While looking very similar to the current model, the Land Cruiser 70 – the rough and rugged rural favourite – also received minor aesthetic updates. “This may be a workhorse, but it has become an icon …We received many comments from fans on social media, pleading with us not to let it go. ‘Don’t change a thing!’, they said. Well, we listened … Under the revised bodywork, we made just the updates functionally necessary: a new, more efficient engine and transmission, and advanced safety features,” Humphries said, adding that the car was proud to be raw and utilitarian. 

Land Cruiser “70” Prototype. Image: Toyota

The Toyota Land Cruiser “70” features some minor design updates. Prototype image: Toyota

Land Cruiser “70” Prototype. Image: Toyota

Land Cruiser “70” Prototype. Image: Toyota

The new model now features an updated 2.8-litre 1GD turbo-diesel engine powertrain, as well as a six-speed automatic gearbox. While the cabin still maintains the old-school look, the new interior will feature a 6.7 inch touchscreen, compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, as well as a range of modern safety features such as lane departure alert, speed sign assist, and automatic high beams. The car has been pegged for the South African market, but a launch date and price are yet to be confirmed. DM

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  • Rob Wilson says:

    The Legends continue. Market driven adaptations and sensible changes. Despite all the rhetoric, South Africa is just not ready for EV’s out of city limits, and even then it is dicey. There will be waiting lists building up.

  • Alan Jeffrey says:

    Magnificent vehicles. In the good old days many fancy vehicles were affordable for the middling classes. These days the prices in real terms, are just crazy-only affordable by the very wealthy.

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