Toyota Cruisers, Trucks, & SUV History

Toyota Cruisers, Trucks, & SUV History (6)

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.

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)

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

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