Japan’s biggest-selling car magazine claims the next generation Toyota LandCruiser will drop the V8 and have a choice of V6 petrol, V6 hybrid and 2.8 diesel power. Launch pushed back to mid 2021.
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The Toyota LandCruiser V8 diesel’s days appear to be numbered – which is likely to spark a stampede on the current runout model over the next 12 months – if the latest report from Japan’s biggest car magazine is a guide.

It is the second time serious questions have been raised over the future of the Toyota LandCruiser V8 – and what will power the next generation 300 Series – after CarAdvice reported in June 2019 the V8 will be axed.

This week Japan’s Best Car magazine – which has a reputation for its accurate scoops – reported on information from well placed Toyota sources who also claimed the next generation LandCruiser 300 Series will drop the hugely popular diesel V8.

A translated version of the Best Car report says bluntly: “The current 4.5-litre V8 power unit will be abolished” and instead a “2.8-litre clean diesel turbo will be deployed”.

The report adds: “The hot clean diesel is installed in the younger brother LandCruiser Prado, which is popular, so it will be ported to the newer brother”.

The report says the LandCruiser 300 Series will also be available with a 3.5-litre V6 petrol and a 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid.

The 2.8-litre diesel will be paired to a six-speed automatic transmission while the V6 petrol and V6 petrol hybrid versions will have eight-speed automatics, the report said.

All of the above claims are yet to be confirmed by Toyota Japan and representatives for Toyota Australia remain tight-lipped.

CarAdvice believes there is a possibility the above information refers to the Japanese domestic market, because the magazine said the sources were dealers rather than Toyota head office with access to global information.

While Australia may get a choice of V6 petrol and V6 petrol hybrid, the 2.8 diesel is believed to be planned for markets with more stringent emissions regulations and less demand on towing capability.

Toyota Australia executives have previously said the company is "not going to abandon the bush" and that the next generation LandCruiser "will be highly capable, we know what our customers want".

CarAdvice believes there is still the possibility of a mystery six-cylinder diesel or high-output four-cylinder diesel – with more power and torque and better fuel efficiency than the current V8 – planned for markets such as Australia, to be used in the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series and future LandCruiser 70 Series models.

If a six-cylinder diesel were to be offered, its configuration is unclear. Toyota has not built a turbo diesel V6 before (could it simply chop two cylinders off the V8?) and the LandCruiser had in-line six-cylinder diesels prior to the switch to V8 power 14 years ago.

CarAdvice believes there is next to no chance the current V8 will be carried over into the new generation Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series – even though it may be technically possible – due to the complexity of multiple engine options on the production line, and the inefficiency of manufacturing the V8 for a relatively small number of vehicles.

As CarAdvice reported last year: “While diehard LandCruiser fans will mourn the loss of the effortless towing ability and the lusty sound of a V8, it appears Toyota is unable to avoid the car industry's push to downsized engines that produce the same or more power from smaller capacities”.

The head of product planning and development for Toyota Australia, Bernard Nadal, told CarAdvice at the time: “You would see most brands are shifting down from V8s whether it be petrol or diesel configurations. It's generally in the pursuit of greater efficiencies and to reduce CO2 emissions, so that's the global trend.”

While LandCruiser fans would rightly be concerned about the prospect of a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel (130kW/450Nm) from the Toyota HiLux, Toyota Prado (pictured above) and Toyota Fortuner under the bonnet of the 300 Series – because it falls way short of the 4.5-litre V8 diesel output of 200kW/650NmCarAdvice understands the 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel is intended for the LandCruiser in other markets.

However, we may see a higher powered version of the 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel as updates arrive for the Toyota HiLux, Toyota Prado and Toyota Fortuner (see separate story here).

Although the 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine used in the current generation Toyota HiLux, Toyota Prado and Toyota Fortuner has been plagued with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) complications – which have led to numerous service campaigns, updates, and in some cases vehicle buybacks – CarAdvice understands Toyota has invested heavily in major revisions for this engine that respond to criticisms over power output and DPF issues.

Meanwhile, the Japanese magazine reported that the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series will continue to be offered in two-row, five-seat configuration and three-row, eight-seat configuration – the same options as today’s model.

The magazine also claims the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series has a roomier interior without blowing out its external dimensions.

One of the keys to the success of the current Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series is its go-anywhere ability, including shopping centre car parks, river crossings, off-road driving and heavy duty towing.

The body size of the current model is 4950mm in length, 1980mm in width, 1870mm in height – and has a 2850mm wheelbase that enables a tight turning circle of just 11.8 metres which is better than most double cab utes (which have broader turning circles of 12.7 metres and above in most cases).

As for the dimensions of the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, the magazine report speculated: “The height, if any, is slightly lower. There is a desire to comply with the restriction of 5 metres in total length and 2 metres in total width (while) maintaining a minimum ground clearance of 225mm (to) continue to ensure the best running performance of domestic rough road SUVs”.

The magazine also said the new LandCruiser would gain Toyota’s new “safety sense” package across the range; on the current model only the flagship LandCruiser Sahara gains all available advanced safety aids.

The magazine said there was no information yet about the next generation of the sister model Lexus LX, however it speculated it would follow “one to two years” after the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.