The Toyota Land Cruiser has been hitting every type of terrain since the early '1950s and hasn't slowed down since. Spurred on by the Jeep's presence on Pacific shores during World War II, the Japanese military wanted a similar vehicle that could maneuver on various stretches of landscape without appearing too burly. First arriving as the Toyota Jeep BJ prototype, it didn't take very long for the model to gain some momentum. Through the years, the Land Cruiser has taken on various shapes and forms. In its earlier days, the vehicle was used mainly for industrial reasons, such as construction and militaristic purposes. It wasn't until Toyota began to export the Land Cruiser where it would take on a more civilian-friendly approach in both drivability and style.
The modern first generation Toyota Land Cruiser became available in 1981 and is known as the 60 series. It is essentially a four-door wagon and can seat up to seven passengers. It is also four-wheel drive with a four or five-speed manual transmission as well as a four-speed automatic. Right from the start, the Land Cruiser was recognized for its off-road capability that was superior to most models in its class. In 1984, the 70 series debuted. Dubbed the 70 Prado, this Land Cruiser displayed a 2.4L gasoline engine and was a lighter duty version of the ride. The dawn of the '90's ushered in the 80 series of the Toyota Land Cruiser. Engine options included a six-cylinder petrol engine, six-cylinder diesel, and 1HD-T direct injection turbodiesel. The 80 series Land Cruiser also showcased full-time four-wheel drive in North America and Europe. The 80 series would go on to include such standard Land Cruiser parts as airbags and anti-lock brakes in 1996. Special editions of the vehicle such as the Blue Marlin and 40th Anniversary Limited Edition were also unveiled, offering additional luxury amenities along with decorative interior and exterior trim.
In 1998, Toyota replaced the 80 series with the 100. This version of the Toyota Land Cruiser uses independent front suspension, four-wheel drive, and a 4.7L, 32 valve petrol engine. The 50th anniversary of the Land Cruiser marked the total number of models produced at over 3.7 million. The 90 Prado Land Cruiser was reinvigorated with Vehicle Stability Control, electronic brakeforce distribution, and active traction control. 2002 saw the debut of the 120 Prado as well as an updated version of the 100. The restyled 100 featured a lower-body stance for increased off-road stability and dual fuel tanks. Now sharing a platform with the Lexus LX, the current Toyota Land Cruiser (200 Series) is an extremely strong effort. With such technological features as the innovative Smart Entry system, Smart Start, Downhill Assist Control, and all-terrain anti-lock breaks, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a leader of the pack yet again.
The Toyota Land Cruiser has been a constant newsmaker, still leading the way on the scene after decades in service. When drivers think of this versatile machine, they are reminded of a time when functional performance on rocky, challenging terrain didn't necessarily mean a dull, bland presence. The Land Cruiser performs with dependable power, rugged yet responsive handling, and can get dressed up to take on the nightlife like no other model in its field. If that doesn't get attention, what does? When given the proper adjustments by its drivers, the Land Cruiser encompasses a look and performance level that takes no prisoners.
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