CONTINUING A LEGACY
Street Trucks|Yota Winter 2021
Lexus LX Takes Reign As New Model Land Cruisers Cease To Be Sold In U.S.
JOHN PANGILINAN

The Lexus LX has big shoes to fill with the recent announcement that the Toyota Land Cruiser will not be offered in the U.S. after this year, ending its 60- plus year run for the manufacturer. While new Land Cruisers may not be made available in the U.S., its rich cousin, the Lexus LX, will continue the off-road legacy. Both vehicles share the same basic architecture and powertrain and the LX is recognized as a capable flagship SUV in its own right. The Lexus marque is perceived as a premium luxury brand, but with roots planted in performance, it is every bit as capable as its respected family member.

Toyota’s Off-Road History

Toyota is no stranger to the off-road world. The company’s rich history began in 1950 after World War II with the Toyota BJ, the original Land Cruiser, which was built for military use. A few years later and after the growing demand for domestic Toyota vehicles, the now-iconic Land Cruiser was born. Since 1955, the Land Cruiser has had the longest-running history in the Toyota lineup. Its venerable nameplate earned a positive reputation for dependability, off-road capability, and overall toughness.

Toyota’s emergence in the U.S. market came in 1957, with the first 20-series Land Cruiser sold in 1958. Later in 1960, the 40-series Land Cruiser is introduced and becomes the best-selling Toyota from 1961-1965. The Toyota mini 2WD truck came stateside in 1968, which many modified to be 4WD, but the first factory 4x4 pickup appeared in 1979, which helped increase Toyota's 4WD momentum in the U.S. Since then, Toyota proved its performance capabilities in motorsports with several off-road championships from the Baja 500 to the Mint 400.

Later on, the 4Runner emerges to add another 4WD option in 1984. Then the FJ Cruiser was introduced as a nod to the classic Land Cruiser in 2007 and became a notable vehicle in off-roading. Unfortunately for fans of the FJ Cruiser, the vehicle was taken off the market in 2014. However, Toyota has continued with their off-road lineage with the widely popular Tacoma, Tundra, and 4Runner.

Lexus entered the U.S. market in 1989 with two sedan options, but didn't produce an SUV option until 1995 when the LX 450 was announced. The second generation LX 450 more closely resembled the equivalent Land Cruiser in 1998 and the mid-sized GX 470 followed later in 2002.

Introducing the J201

As Lexus continues to push forward with performance, technology, and exploration, the company introduced the Lexus J201 Concept. Based on the Lexus LX 570, the J201, has re-imagined what is possible for the flagship SUV. The J201 Concept further showcases the limits for enhancements, functionality, and progression for the brand.

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