The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Utility

This Is the Stripped-Down Land Cruiser We’ve Always Wanted


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Depending on your propensity for torturing yourself emotionally with things you aren’t allowed to have knowledge of non-US-market cars, you might be familiar with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. If you aren’t, it’s essentially a smaller version of the standard Land Cruiser sold in virtually every area of the globe (both as a four-door and two-door) except for North America. On the bright side, I guess, we get the four-door version in the form of the Lexus GX, a leather-and-wood-swaddled luxury variant, but in other areas of the world, the Prado is a much more humble machine. Toyota, however, just announced this week that the Prado is about to get a lot humbler, with the introduction of the Prado Utility Commercial.

So how humble is it? Well, it comes rocking steel wheels and a cloth interior, while the torquey, 2.8-liter diesel engine sends its power to the wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Meanwhile, the rear seats have been removed, offering up a cavernous cargo area for hauling mulch or, I don’t know, maybe a pack of bandana-wearing golden retrievers? The only limits are your imagination and the 78 cubic feet and 56 cubic feet of cargo space in the long-wheelbase and short-wheelbase versions, respectively.

Ostensibly, these Land Cruisers are made for commercial purposes, but being stripped of their luxuries, they’d make a great blank slate for an overland build. The short-wheelbase version is an especially lust-worthy machine, seeing as smaller off-roaders are easier to wrangle into tight, off-road spaces. Given that Ford is bringing back the Iconic Bronco (potentially in two-door guise) and the next generation Land Rover Defender will be making its ways to our shores, Toyota could certainly use a small, capable and simple two-door off-roader like this to satiate America’s growing lust for such a thing. Bringing it over here is probably just wishful thinking on our part, but it’s okay to dream.

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