The long-awaited Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series was supposed to launch this year. Now, its introduction has reportedly been delayed to next April.
Worse, Car Sensor reports this could be delayed further as Toyota has been restricted in the amount of overseas testing it can do due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has left development “at a standstill”.
Naturally, the launch of a new generation of LandCruiser is preceded by months of testing in extreme climates but travel restrictions have prevented a lot of this from taking place.
Extensive testing is a prerequisite as the 300 Series will feature some dramatic changes over the outgoing model.
It’s expected to debut a new body-on-frame platform that’ll be shared with the next-generation Lexus LX and the Toyota Sequoia, which is currently a full-sized SUV developed in North America and based on the Tundra pickup.
It is also expected to debut the first hybrid powertrain used in a LandCruiser, likely a hybrid version of the 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine used in the Lexus LS. The new powertrain will replace the 4.6-litre and 5.7-litre V8 petrol engines used in the current 200 Series in other markets.
A V6 diesel model is believed to be in development, too, displacing 3.3 litres. It’ll replace the 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 that’s the only powertrain available in the Australian-market 200 Series.
That’ll ensure it maintains its edge over its direct rival in Australia, the Nissan Patrol, which offers only a petrol V8 engine. And what an edge it has – the LandCruiser last year had just under 90 per cent of the two-vehicle segment in which it and the Patrol play, though the Patrol has made some incremental gains this year.
There may be some more competition coming for the LandCruiser. Jeep recently revealed its Grand Wagoneer concept which presages a production model due next year, though it hasn’t been confirmed for a local launch.
GMSV may also look to bring large General Motors SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL to Australia and convert them locally to right-hand drive.
The Chevrolet/GMC Suburban was previously sold in Australia under the Holden brand from 1998 until 2001, though it wasn’t a strong seller.