At the world premiere of the new "250" Series, Head of Design Simon Humphries spoke about the Land Cruiser's true value.
Redesigned from the ground up
So what do you think?
As a member of the development team, and a long-term Land Cruiser owner myself, it was a dream come true!
We re-assessed every past aspect of Land Cruiser for its relevance and redesigned it ground-up to embody Land Cruiser values for the modern day.
It’s honest. It’s lean and agile. It’s fit for purpose.
Let me take you through the five key areas that make this model the true soul of Land Cruiser.
Number 1... capability. At the heart of this is the GA-F platform. Reliability and durability are built-in, and performance over rough terrain is on par with the flagship Land Cruiser 300. This capability is now more practical and accessible than ever: This is the first Land Cruiser to have Electric Power Steering, rather than hydraulic. This improves ease and comfort on-road and reduces kickback off-road.
Number 2... choice. The powertrain lineup reflects diverse regional requirements. For the first time, this includes a hybrid powertrain in a Land Cruiser. This tried-and-tested technology increases fuel efficiency, as well as performance, with no comprise in durability. It was an extremely difficult task, but has allowed customers, in all corners of the world the chance to participate in the journey toward carbon neutrality.
③ Intuitive operation
Number 3... intuitive operation. Vehicle control is fundamental to building trust between driver and machine. We designed the cockpit controls to be easy to identify and operate by feel alone. Here we sought the expertise of Dakar Rally champion Akira Miura, no stranger to driving under pressure in extreme environments. He told us it’s crucial that the interfaces support the driver, with maximum accuracy, and minimal effort, whatever the conditions.
That brings me to number 4.
④ Beauty is function
Beauty is function. Every aspect of the design is based on the premise that beauty comes from functionality. Proportions are calculated for maneuverability in extreme environments:
The sides are kept slim, the overhangs short, the corners carefully sculpted. The low belt line, narrow A pillars and angular structure are designed for visibility and easy, accurate orientation. Customers also reminded us of the importance of damage mitigation and repairability. The high-mounted headlights are designed to rise above debris - and long savanna grass. The segmented front bumper is designed to be easy to repair.
But the objective approach to design and functionality is not the whole story...Great effort was placed on creating a subjective feeling of trust. For example, the wheel-to-body offset imparts a feeling of strength and stability, giving the driver confidence in the capability of the vehicle...it has to “look” the part. Everything has a story and a reason.
⑤ Reach ever more people
And finally, number 5...The new Land Cruiser will reach even more people...That’s right, Land Cruiser is coming back to America!
Mobility as a lifeline
So, we went back to the origin, and we came out looking towards the future. This Genten Kaiki journey was a soul-searching exercise in many respects.
As a mobility company, we believe that freedom in motion is a universal right. One to be enjoyed by everyone in the world, wherever they live.
The Land Cruiser development process reminded us that in many parts of the world, individual mobility is not a luxury but a lifeline.
Our customers trust in us to keep Land Cruiser relevant and thriving toward the future.
This could mean anything from carbon-neutral approaches...To ensuring that the Land Cruiser brand is more affordable, and within reach of even more people around the world...
or it may even mean exploring new approaches to mobility that enhance not only the Land Cruiser experience, but also further people’s freedom in motion.
Suffice it to say, there are lots of exciting paths to changing the future of cars.
Kuruma no mirai wo kaete ikou.
*In Japan, the new Land Cruiser 250 Series, including a special First Edition, will be available in the first half of 2024, with the Land Cruiser 70 scheduled for release in winter 2023.