Toyota primes baby Land Cruiser to take on Defender

At the other end of the expanded line-up will be the much larger and more luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser SE. It will be entirely unrelated – technically and visually – to the utilitarian, off-road-focused Land Cruisers that have gone before.

It was displayed as a concept at the Tokyo show as part of a line-up that previews a totally overhauled range of Toyota EVs arriving in the second half of the decade. Other vehicles in this reimagined line-up include production versions of the FT-SE sports coupé, EPU pick-up and FT-3E crossover.

At the heart of this new family of electric cars lies a ‘gigacasted’ chassis comprising three modular sections – front, centre and rear. This will dramatically improve manufacturing efficiencies by minimising the number of individual components used in each car while allowing Toyota to build models with very different proportions atop the same platform. The drivetrain and ancillary systems will be downsized as far as possible in a bid to reduce material usage, improve interior packaging and cut costs.

The Land Cruiser SE – which could launch in 2026 to mark the Land Cruiser’s 75th anniversary – will be equipped with Toyota’s new ‘Performance’ prismatic battery, which is said to be 20% cheaper to make than the pack in today’s bZ4X while potentially doubling the range and being substantially smaller. A ‘High-Performance’ battery option due by 2028 will cut costs by a further 10% and bump the range to as much as 621 miles in certain models.

Expected to be among the largest and heaviest cars in Toyota’s new-look line-up, the luxury Land Cruiser is unlikely to tout the loftiest range figures, but will no doubt still exceed the range of most electric SUVs on sale today.

Despite the SE’s radically different design and road-focused billing, Toyota remains committed to the core values of the Land Cruiser brand and says the SE will offer “highly responsible handling” in off-road situations, aided by the “high-torque driving characteristics of a battery-electric vehicle” and its modern monocoque, rather than ladder-frame, construction.

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