Toyota FJ-40 Land CruiserHistory of the Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser has a vast history dating back to the 1950's. In the last 60+ years, it's morphed from a rugged utilitarian 'Jeep' like vehicle to a modern, sleek, luxury SUV. The entire time the LC has kept the ability to take us well off the beaten path. The Land Cruiser (and his many descendents) are some of the most dependable, rugged, and iconic vechicles in the world.

Instead of re-hashing some of the great stories that are already published on the LC, we've listed summaries of a few key resources we've found on the web. Explore the links below to learn more about this living legend, the Toyota Land Cruiser

TCT Magazine Outdoor LifeLike most Toyota Cruiser & Truck owners, you probably started exploring these amazing vehicles because you enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. Whether your love is camping, cooking, skiing, or wheeling, our Outdoor Life section is all about how to make everything you to with your vehicle better. From gear & gadgets to recipes, organization, and best practices, the TCT Magazine Outdoor Life section has you covered.

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Millions of Toyota vehicles are in use on every continent on earth. By many estimates Toyota is the top selling vehicle brand on the planet (switching with General Motors on a regular basis), and the brand that started with the first Land Cruiser is known to produce some of the most reliable vehicles in history. Toyota is 100% an international brand.

Toyota Land Cruisers, Trucks, and SUVs have ventured to every corner of our world. They've climbed mountains, crossed deserts, explored both the arcitc and antarctic ice caps, and perhaps most importantly, serve as faithful daily drivers for countless families around the world.


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Image Courtesy: Bretthn from forum

Lexus GX 470 Expedition Build - courtesy of Marten M from Expedition PortalWhether you're surfing Expedition Portal, hanging out at Overland Expo, or reading any given issue of Overland Journal - it's clear that Toyota Trucks, Cruisers, and SUVs are a top choice as an overland platform.

The iconic Toyota brand is known for reliability, dependability, and ease of repair when needed, so it's no coincidence it's one of the top choices for overland travel. Also, since Toyota is an international brand, you're likely to find parts around the globe. In recent years Toyota has focused on using the same parts for multiple vehicles, increasing the chances you'll be able to find what you need on the rare occasion that a repair is necessary.

The Hilux & Tacoma truck platforms are among the top choices for those needing the added utility of a truck bed, while in many countries the 70-series Land Cruiser is the perfect Overland Vehicle (see Expeditions 7). In the United States, all models of Land Cruiser (especially the 80 & 100 series) are at the top of the list, with the newer 4Runner and FJ Cruiser good options for those looking for a smaller platform. Of course Lexus variants of the Land Cruiser (LX Series) and Prado (GX series) are increasingly being used to build dependable overland rigs.

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Lexus GX 470The Lexus GX was introduced to the North American market in 2002 as the GX 470. The original GX was based on the J120 (Land Cruiser Prado) platform, while the second generation is based on the J150 Land Cruiser Prado platform.
Upon introduction of the 5th Generation 4Runner in 2010, the GX became the only Toyota/Lexus mid-sized SUV available with a V8 engine. In fact, the V8 (4.7L/4.6L) is the only engine available in the GX in North America.


The Lexus LX was introduced in 1996 as Lexus’ first entry into the SUV market. Based almost completely on the Toyota Land Cruiser, the LX is a great full-sized vehicle that combines Lexus level luxury with Land Cruiser capability.

First Generation LX-450 / J80 (1996-1998)

Lexus LX-450

Second Generation LX-470 / J100 (1998-2005)

Lexus LX-470

Third Generation LX-570 / J200 (2006-Present)

Lexus LX-570

The Toyota 4Runner was introduced in 1984 as a slight modification to the Toyota (Hilux) Pickup. Modern 4Runner SUVs (5th Gen) are one of the major players in the US market for those wanting a durable truck-based SUV that's as comfortable on the road as it is on the trail. While plus Limited versions of the 4Runner have no place in the dirt, the utilitarian Trail Edition includes many off-road worthy features.


If you’re new to Tacoma trucks, please allow us to make a quick introduction.

First produced in 1995, the Toyota Tacoma continued a history of compact trucks produced by Toyota. Although larger than the original Toyota pickup, the first generation Tacoma (1995-2004) was still considered a compact truck. This original model originated from the venerable Hilux truck, which is still available worldwide (See Hilux clip from Top Gear). This first generation also underwent two facelifts, one in 1998 (1997 for 2WD Trucks) and the other in 2001. Both were minor and didn’t change the mechanics of the truck much.

  In 2004 the current second generation of the Tacoma debuted. This version of the truck is much larger than the previous model and is also much more powerful. Perhaps the biggest change was the new 1GR-FE V6 engine. With this engine the 2004 Tacoma maxed out at a 6,500lb tow rating – making this a great truck for the growing OHV crowd. The current generation Tacoma is also available as an X-Runner, which is a high performance model. The key features of the X-Runner include a 6 speed manual transmission, 18” wheels, a lowered suspension, and an upgraded X-Brace suspension package.

In 2009 Toyota announced that it would consolidate its American truck manufacturing by building the Tacoma in the same Texas factory as the Tundra instead of the factory in Fremont, California. The Tacoma also got a minor facelift in 2009 which included a slight modification in grill design, LED taillamps, and smoked headlamps on the TRD models.

For 2011 Toyota made quite a few major changes to the truck. First, they dropped three manual transmission models from the lineup in favor of five four cylinder, four speed automatic models. The manual trans is still available on some packages with the V6 engine. The Tacoma is expected to be completely redesigned for the 2012 or 2013 model year.

All Current & past TCT Magazine, FJC Magazine, and Tacoma Magazine Issues

2016 | Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine

Spring 2016 | Toyota Fortuner, BJ Baldwin Trophy Truck, Overland Expo WEST   Winter 2016 | Big Bend, Baja, White Rim, MORE!

2015 | Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine

Year In Review 2015 | SEMA Show, Holiday Gear Guide, TCT Trooper, VOR 2015, TCT Staff Trucks  Fall 2015 | TCT Explorer Tundra, 4Runner Mods, Cruiserfest, FJ Summit, Mungo Australia July 2015 Toyota Cruisers & TrucksApril 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 2 January 2015 | Volume 8 | Issue 1

2014 | Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine

Year in review 2014Oct14CoverRotatorJul14CoverRotatorApr14CoverRotatorJan 2014 TCT

2013 | FJC Magazine

October 2013


July 2013

July 2013 FJC Magazine

April 2013

April 2013 FJC Magazine

January 2013

January 2013 FJC Magazine

2013 | Tacoma Magazine

December 2013


September 2013


June 2013


March 2013


2012 | FJC Magazine

October 2012


July 2012


April 2012

April 2012 FJC Magazine

January 2012

January 2012 FJC Magazine

2012 | Tacoma Magazine

December 2012


July 2012


June 2012

cover web Jun12



2011 | FJC Magazine

October 2011

October 2011 Issue - FJC Magazine

July 2011

July 2011 Issue - FJC Magazine

April 2011

April 2011 FJC Magazine

January 2011

January 2011 Issue

2011 | Tacoma Magazine

December 2011

cover web Dec11

September 2011

cover web Sep11

May 2011

cover web

February 2011


2010 | FJC Magazine

October 2010

October 2010 Issue

July 2010

July 2011 Issue

April 2010

April 2010

January 2010

January 2010


2009 | FJC Magazine

October 2009

October 2009

July 2009

July 2009 Issue

April 2009

April 2009

January 2009

January 2010

2008 | FJC Magazine

October 2008

October 2008Issue

July 2008

July 2008 Issue

April 2008

April 2010

January 2008

January 2008

Published in Features

Since you may not be familiar with the FJ Cruiser, we’ll start with little history.The creation of the Toyota FJ Cruiser was inspired by the original Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 that was launched in 1960 . This iconic off road vehicle was sold in the United States until 1982 and has an amazingly large following. After the FJ-40, Toyota continued the Land Cruiser tradition with great models like the 60 Series, 80 Series, and 100 Series Land Cruisers. Today the Toyota Land Cruiser (200 series) has evolved into a luxury SUV, but it still maintains very good off road prowess. For more on the history of the Land Cruiser, visit these great sites:
The Toyota and Land Cruiser Association (TLCA)

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