Could the Next Toyota Sequoia Wear the Land Cruiser Badge?

·3 min read
Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

Toyota is teasing the living daylights out of the upcoming 2023 Sequoia, the brand's full-size SUV. The all-new model is likely to be shown at a press event next week in Carmel, California, and there may be a surprise. Or at least, here’s some speculation about what that surprise may be.

There’s some evidence and some good reason to believe the next Sequoia will be branded as a Land Cruiser. Maybe it'll be "Land Cruiser Sequoia," or "Sequoia Land Cruiser"—somehow, Land Cruiser will be part of the name. And more importantly, the new vehicle will have Land Cruiser substance. Here’s some semi-informed speculation to back up that claim.

In October, Toyota invited the automotive press to Texas to drive the all-new Tundra pickup. Part of that event was a tour of the production plant where the Tundra—and the Sequoia—are assembled. For car writers, a plant tour is an event lifted on angelic wings across glistening glades of greatness. It was something we all looked forward to.

But instead of offering a full tour of the facility, Toyota restricted us to a sequestered area away from the assembly line, to go over some tech related to how the vehicle’s frame is constructed. We were studiously kept clear of what was going on in the main building.

There was no mention of the next Sequoia being anywhere in the building, but that may have been a reason to keep us away from seeing what was going on. And, well, maybe they didn't want us to know too much.

Also, as was made clear during the Tundra event, most of that pickup’s engineering is shared with the new 300-series Land Cruiser. The frame design is the same; the twin-turbo V-6 drivetrain is the same; and it seems likely that the Land Cruiser will also be offered with the same hybrid system now being built into the Tundra.

Photo credit: Dino Dalle Carbonare
Photo credit: Dino Dalle Carbonare

Beyond that, teaser images of the new Sequoia indicate that it's closely related to the new Lexus LX600. It’s not much more than the C-pillar, but that C-pillar looks virtually the same as the LX’s. And Toyota has not been denying that the LX is, in fact, a Land Cruiser. The most significant, substantive difference between the LX600 and the new Sequoia may be that the LX will be assembled in Japan, and the Sequoia in Texas.

Photo credit: Lexus
Photo credit: Lexus

If the next Sequoia is, for all intents and purposes, a Land Cruiser, why not brand it as a Land Cruiser? The name isn’t currently being used in North America, but it still carries plenty of marketing cachet. And while the last Land Cruiser started just below $90,000 and was hard to find with less than a six-figure price tag, a new one could be a major sales success at a more reasonable $60,000. In a tough competitive space dominated by the Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Ford Expedition, adding the Land Cruiser name may be just what the Sequoia needs to get noticed.

Against this, Toyota has always built Land Cruiser products (including sub-brands like the Land Cruiser Prado, sold here as the Lexus GX) in Japan. The company may be reluctant to open its fearsome reputation for quality to the Texans.

Yes, this is all rank speculation. But it makes a certain amount of sense.

Photo credit: Toyota
Photo credit: Toyota

Toyota will show the new Sequoia—or Land Cruiser Sequoia, or whatever it ends up being called—on Tuesday, ending this, our own conjured-up prediction. Your comments are both encouraged and welcome here.

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