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How Toyota Will Dominate The Off

Jul 04, 2023

Toyota's current off-road models feature top sellers, and its future models have major potential to outsell the competition

The growing popularity of off-road exploration has shown no signs of slowing down, as automakers continue to raise the bar in terms of capability, durability, and affordability. Toyota has been a relevant name in rugged, capable vehicles since the late-60s when the Hilux hit the market. Offering a tough and off-road-oriented workhorse, the Hilux became popular among various walks of life, from farm to worksite, and every place in between.

Toyota realized the need for such vehicles and has since produced numerous capable models, many of which are still very popular today. Not to mention, being an established automaker before the rise of recreational off-roading has allowed Toyota to grow with the trend and stay on the pulse of consumer pros and cons.

With more segment-first innovations, detailed tuning, and aftermarket upgrades, Toyota’s off-road line-up is stronger than ever. Competitive price range and accessibility are a key part of Toyota’s recognizable presence in nearly every class and segment, street and off-road. Toyota’s brand reputation serves as proof of the time spent evolving, as well as refining the brand as a whole to dominate the market.

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The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser recently returned to the line-up to no surprise, as the popular model has a strong reputation among the off-road community worldwide. Though Toyota took a hiatus with the capable SUV for a few years, it was much needed. The last model year the Land Cruiser saw production before the latest release was 2021, and when it arrived, it carried a hefty starting price of $87,030. Much higher than the previous model years, as well as other segment mates.

Toyota has now made great efforts to return the popular off-roader to its roots, and more so, to a more mainstream price point, and when the latest Land Cruiser Model hit the market, the price was teased to start around the mid $50,000 MSRP range. To much of the community's joy, the 2024 Land Cruiser looks much more like a capable trail-worthy SUV and less like an overpriced mall cruiser.

This serves as a great example of Toyota’s ability to listen and understand consumer preferences, choosing not to abandon the popular model, but instead to rework the internals to deliver a product that hits the mark. Toyota also expects the price drop to boost sales of the off-road SUV by a substantial amount, furthering its influence in the off-road community.

The 2024 Land Cruiser is to feature all Toyota’s modern tech and comforts including Toyota’s Safety Sense P (TSS P) advanced driver assist suite and JBL sound system, as well as performance upgrades and functions that make it highly capable and rugged, such as full-time four-wheel drive with locking center and rear differentials, a disconnecting front anti-roll bar, and available 33-inch off-road tires.

Toyota’s TNGA-F platform, a modular workhorse that underpins the Sequoia, Tundra, and Tacoma, also pins the 2024 Land Cruiser, andthe capable iFORCE hybrid 2.4-liter engine to produces 326-horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque.

Standard eight-speed transmission carries the SUV, and with optional low-range, high-range, and downhill crawl assist, the Land Cruiser provides urban explorers with a toolbox of functions to tackle any terrain. The powertrain featured in the 2024 Land Cruiser is the same as that employed in the high-end Tacoma models, most notably, the Tacoma TRD Pro.

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Assuming Toyota keeps with its tradition of raising the bar, a Land Cruiser TRD is expected in the future, though not confirmed. This would likely mean aftermarket upgrades and special TRD tuning for the Land Cruiser, extending its capabilities beyond those of the available trims.

Speaking of the Tacoma TRD Pro, and Tacoma in general, the off-road pickup segment has seen many upgraded base models from almost every pickup manufacturer. Ford’s Raptor and F-150 Tremor serve as off-road-oriented models. Featuring a locking differential and 33-inch General Grabber tires, the F-150 Tremor also comes with a standard crawl function and Trail Control.

That being said, the Tacoma TRD and Tundra are among the top-selling off-road pickups on the market. With standard Bilstein remote reservoir shocks, coil-spring suspension, locking differentials, large four-wheel disc brakes, and FOX 2.5-inch dampers, the 2024 Tacoma TRD Pro is a highly capable off-roader with a powerful iFORCE MAX hybrid engine.

The 2024 Tacoma TRD Pro is able to forge its own path, with standard Multi-terrain Select (MTS), crawl control (CRAWL), hill assist control (HAC), and forged BBS wheels, ensuring no terrain is left unchallenged. With a ground clearance of 11 inches, the TRD Pro oversteps the Colorado ZR2 Bison and Ranger Raptor.

Along with the advancements of their off-road features, Toyota made great strides in terms of comfort and ride quality. The 2024 TRD Pro features FOX IFP rear bumper stops to cushion hard landings, and segment-first shock-absorbing isometric front seats with adjustable air-over-oil shock built into the seat backs. Innovative forward-thinking is another staple in Toyota’s manufacturing process, allowing their various models to contain some of the industry's top specs.

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With a growing number of models, Toyota plans to maintain a tight grip on the off-road market in the coming years, as speculations revolving around a new 4Runner are floating around the internet. The fifth-generation 4Runner is one of America’s best-selling mid-size SUVs, and the 4Runner TRD Pro features some of the same aftermarket and TRD-tuned features included in the Tacoma TRD Pro.

The rumored 2025 4Runner would enter the market in its sixth generation and is predicted to migrate to Toyota’s TNGA-F global platform. With this platform upgrade, the 4Runner’s capabilities and powertrain options could greatly increase, as Toyota’s modern Global platform has proven to be a game-changer for the Japanese automaker.

The willingness to experiment has paid off greatly for Toyota, as their automotive innovations on the street, racetrack, and off-road have been received well. Toyota’s current off-road models all rank well among their classes, with each model year offering upgrades and tuning specifics that heighten their capabilities.

Toyota’s future off-roaders, like the rumored 2025 4Runner and Stout, show great promise and could potentially cement Toyota as a top off-road brand worldwide, showcasing segment-topping models across multiple classes.

Will is a young creative writer from Oklahoma, US, with a passion for cars that has lasted well over two decades. His first vehicle was a rebuilt 1984 Cutlass Supreme that he assisted in building from the ground up.