The Toyota Landcruiser is a four-wheel drive vehicle series that’s been around for more than six decades, making it the longest running series in Toyota’s lineup. It’s best defined by its rugged charm and utmost dependability. The earlier models back in the ‘50s resemble the Army Jeeps of the US. Equipped with a smaller 4-cylinder engine, these were mostly utilitarian in style and function. From the BJ type to the FJ20, Landcruisers later on got a 6-cylinder engine. Their rise to fame came when the FJ40 was launched, which cemented the Landcruiser’s status in history. Over time, Landcruisers became larger and got more sophisticated features. Despite the numerous changes in shape, body, and style, these iconic four-wheel drive vehicles never lost their rugged appeal and well-acclaimed dependability. Among their toughest rivals are the Land Rover Discovery, Nissan Patrol, and Jeep Wrangler.
1951: BJ and FJ
There used to be a demand for military-type utility vehicles. Through this, the Toyota Jeep BJ prototype was made in 1951. This was larger and more powerful than the US Jeep. It was equipped with a part-time four-wheel drive system but didn’t have a low-range transfer case. In 1954, then technical director Hanji Umehara came up with a new name for these vehicles. They were called Landcruiser. The same year, the FJ was introduced.
1955: 20 series
Compared to the BJ, the 20 series had a more civilian appeal. It came with more stylish bodywork, more comfortable interior, and more powerful gasoline engine. It was also designed with enhanced ride quality. Yet, it still didn’t have a low range.
1960: 40 series
The 40 series replaced the 20 series. The upgrade came with a good number of production changes. The FJ40, for instance, was equipped with a 93kW, 3.9L F engine. The Landcruiser also now had a low-range gear, though it still retained the three-speed main gearbox.
1967: 55 series
The 55 series became part of the Toyota Landcruiser lineup in the 1960s. Production began from 1967 and lasted through 1980. The FJ55G and FJ55V were considered to be the first real station wagons in the lineup. They had fully enclosed box frame members and a hatch and tailgate in the rear.
1980: 60 series
Production of the 60 series began in 1980 and lasted till 1990 for the majority of the markets. The 60 series was a four-door wagon with five to eight seating capacity. It was equipped with a front engine. It had impressive off-road capabilities and was also designed with an upgraded interior and other convenience features. It was meant to penetrate the SUV market.
1984: 70 series
The 70 series was launched alongside the 60 series. The 70 Light, a lighter duty Landcruiser, was introduced. During the run of the 70 series, new-generation diesel engines were used in its lineup. It was also updated through its suspension, drivetrain, and other features. The series was launched as a soft top, FRP top, hard top, Troop Carrier, and cab chassis.
1989: 80 series
This Toyota Landcruiser series was designed with swing-out back doors, although in 1994, they were replaced with a winch door. Throughout the 1990s, several engine upgrades were made. There were also some revisions in designs and features.
1998: 100 series
The preview of the new 100 series took place in 1997 at the 32nd Tokyo Motor Show. During its stint, the V8 engine was integrated in the lineup. The inclusion of this engine was meant to boost sales in North America.
2007: 200 series
As early as 2002, a 5-year development plan was already in place for the next series of Landcruiser. The redesigned model was eventually launched in late 2007. The 200 series has the same platform and design as the Lexus LX 570. The new series has a new frame, bigger brake rotors and calipers, heavier-duty front suspension, and safer roof pillars. Some revisions were done to come up with a more comfortable, more reliable Landcruiser. For the 2013 model, optional safety and luxury options are now a standard.
The more recent Toyota Landcruiser is designed as a large SUV with a more powerful engine and undeniable off-road capabilities.