Style review: The Toyota Land Cruiser might now be the boxiest SUV in the business

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by Drei Laurel | 3 days ago
PHOTO: Toyota
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So, Toyota has a vendetta against curves now?

Very funny. But yes, the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser is now arguably the boxiest it’s ever been, and it’s easily one of the boxiest, squarest models currently available—perhaps even more so than the Land Rover Defender. Hard surfaces and straight edges are nothing new to the nameplate, though. Flowing lines have never been its strong suit.

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Yes, even the last one was boxy—but not like this.

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We agree. And a lot of that has to do with the beefy new face.

Headlights? They’re a subtler now, also squarer. Grille? Bigger and unmistakably Land Cruiser—and again, squarer. Even the wheel arches and the windows are. The only roundness you’ll find on this exterior are the wheels this thing is running on. None of this is a knock on the aesthetic, mind you, as these design decisions pay off in dividends when it comes to how tough the vehicle looks.

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Out back? You’ll find smaller, squarer taillights, and that Toyota has done away with the fancy chrome strip tucked between them. The rear is much cleaner and more minimalist to look at now.

It looks bigger. But is it?

Impressively, the answer is no. Toyota has managed to achieve the burlier look without changes to the new model’s length, width, wheelbase, and, perhaps more crucially (especially for the off-road going lot of you), departure and approach angles. Maintaining the SUV’s dimensions was a target during the LC300’s design in order to prioritize off-road capability.

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We see three different looks here. Explain.

Ah, yes. One is called the LC300 VX-R and will be exclusive to the Middle East, while the other is clearly a unit Toyota Gazoo Racing has gotten its hands on. The latter gets darker wheels, more rugged plastic, and blacked-out side mirror housings, as well as ‘GR’ badging.

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And finally, what about the interior?

The first thing we noticed is that everything appears much more snug. There’s a clearer divide between the driver and front passenger thanks to a higher center console. Speaking of the center console, there’s more space between controls, and there’s now a nicer floating touchscreen infotainment system.

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There’s a more minimalist dashboard design, as well as a new instrument cluster that houses a considerably larger information display. Nice. You’ll also notice a chunkier steering wheel with more soft-touch material, too.

Verdict?

It’s a looker, but how much the design appeals to you will depend largely on how boxy you like your SUVs. Shape aside, though? The all-new Toyota Land Cruiser manages to toughen up the model’s appearance while at the same time sticking to the tried and tested ruggedness that has attracted buyers for generations.

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And, perhaps most importantly, it appears to have succeeded in doing this without losing any bit of its premium appeal.

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PHOTO: Toyota
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