The Land Cruiser is Toyota’s flagship, and over its lifespan, it has undergone model changes approximately every nine years. It began with the globally offered station wagon Land Cruiser 60 series, which was manufactured between 1980 and 1989. The Land Cruiser 80 series was offered from 1989 to 1998, and the Land Cruiser 100 series was produced from 1998 until 2007. The Land Cruiser 100 has had more changes than any other in the Land Cruiser lineup.
V8 Engine and Independent Suspension
The Land Cruiser’s nine-year generational time frame is about twice that of other manufacturers. Because nine years is a long time for development, Toyota makes a lot of changes to the latest model when they introduce the next generation.
How much did the Land Cruiser 100 change over the previous years?
When you compare the 60 series, the 80 series and the 100 series side-by-side, you can see that there were significant changes to the 100 series when it comes to performance and comfort.
Until the Land Cruiser 100 series, the Land Cruiser was powered by an inline 6-cylinder for both gas and diesel power, but Toyota changed that by equipping the 100 series with a V8. The suspension was upgraded from a truck-like rigid axle to an independent suspension.
Between the power upgrade and the change in the suspension, the Land Cruiser 100 is a better performance 4WD with a smoother ride on the roughest roads. They transformed a vehicle built for off-road driving and made it into a multi-passenger vehicle that is at home on and off-road.
Changes from Land Cruiser 80
Premium upgrades in response to the needs from Russia and the Middle East
Why did Toyota make so many changes to the Land Cruiser 100?
It started because of the Land Cruiser’s global popularity. The Land Cruiser was a top 4WD internationally, but due to the rise of global living standards, thanks to oil production and manufacturing enriching many countries, Toyota recognized that they needed to make the 100 series a high-end luxury vehicle.
By the end of the 20th Century, just as the new generation Land Cruiser was being developed, the world saw significant growth and highway development in areas like the Middle East. The North American market for the Land Cruiser was already established, but countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE became wealthier and were looking for a luxury 4WD vehicle.
The foundation of the current Land Cruiser was laid by the 100 series
In countries like China, Russia and the Middle East, the Land Cruiser is considered a premium 4WD vehicle. Even before the Land Cruiser 100 series, a Land Cruiser was a status symbol not only in Japan, but around the world.
As the roads and highways improved due to a rising worldwide economy, so did the need for a 4WD that was not just an off-road vehicle, but a symbol of success. With the Land Cruiser 200 series, Toyota evolved the model even further with more high-tech performance and safety features, but the core 4WD is still under the hood. While the history of the Land Cruiser spanned more than half a century, it was the Land Cruiser 100 series that helped Toyota meet a major milestone when it came to global reach.