Toyota Land Cruiser SUV could return to U.S. as revamped Prado

The GX, the Prado’s platform mate, is getting its first redesign in more than a decade. The overhaul, expected to feature a rugged, boxy exterior design, will debut Thursday.

The GX is expected to get a hybrid drivetrain option, signaling a possible direction for the Prado.

According to Japanese car buff site Clicccar, the Prado will share the same F1 platform as the full-size Land Cruiser 300 series, allowing it to grow a little longer, wider and taller. And at least for Japan, the Prado is expected to offer a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain.

The Land Cruiser, developed in Japan in 1951 as that market’s answer to the Willys Jeep, is Toyota’s longest-running model line and linked to the brand’s very first days in the U.S.

The Land Cruiser’s starting price was often higher than that of many competitors. Its U.S. sales ebbed and flowed over the decades as other rugged overlanders proliferated, and eventually the Land Cruiser was even outsold by its LX sibling.

The U.S. market’s tilt to light trucks over the past decade has also prompted some automakers to revive revered truck brands and nameplates, such as Hummer (General Motors), Bronco (Ford) and Grand Wagoneer (Jeep). Volkswagen of America, aiming to capture a slice of America’s love for authentic, rugged trucks, is reviving the Scout brand once owned by International Harvester.

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