The photos above show several Toyota Landcruisers, both truck and SUV, that are not available for sale in America, but are currently sold over most of the rest of the world. Why not in America? Surely something to do with probably no airbags or catalytic converters or the like. These vehicles are more simplistic than what the American market is being offered, and as a longtime Toyota owner (4, including one current), I am offended.
Surely there are tons of folks in America like me, who harken back to the days of an affordable and rugged SUV or truck. Something, like this Landcruiser truck, that is just a little on the ugly side. When I think back to all of the excellent 4x4 vehicles I've been in, most were a little ugly. So ugly that they were cool.
You know what I'm talking about. Old international Scouts. The Jeep J10 pickup. The pre-1978 Bronco. Old Jeeps. And of course, the FJ40 and the FJ60 Landcruisers.
Indeed, these foreign made Cruisers, except for the one shown in the middle picture, are based on the FJ60. I especially like the truck, because it is obviously a REAL off road vehicle. The truck has all kinds of possibilities. It's a right hand drive. It has hand crank windows, which means they last for a long time. It is a basic vehicle, but as the top picture shows, it is far from spartan on the inside. The snorkle, for most of America, might be overkill, be here on the Gulf Coast (and indeed, many other flood prone areas), would be a godsend for flooding either due to hurricanes or tropical storms.
It goes without saying that the truck could easily ford shallow rivers or creeks and would have no issues in shore line areas doing a quick traverse of water should that become necessary in an emergency situation, like if a tide comes in whilst out on a penesula in the bay or beach and you have to scoot through a foot or two of water to make your escape.
There are many innovative camper tops and pop-up tops for these trucks also sold in other locales.
The cost of converting a vehicle such as this to be "American legal" is so prohibitive as to even consider for a guy like me. Yeah, a rich guy can afford to have any number of foreign vehicles worth hundreds of thousands made legal for import into America, but that ain't me.
But Toyota could easily keep the spirit of these no frills but highly functional 4wd vehicles and manufacture versions for export to the USA. Make them US compliant. Charge a reasonable price for them. And sell hundreds of thousands of them to folks looking for a highly durable ride that will last them 15 or 20 years as the FJ line is known to do. It's a time tested vehicle, and it's a damn shame that the FJ60 line has not been available in America since 1990 and that a truck version was never available.
Toyota, you're in business to sell cars. Surely your genius engineers and manufacturing gurus could come up with a way to cheaply redesign only the things needed to get past American laws for imporation. Keep the hand cranked windows. Keep the simple features. Make it just like you're making them overseas and just make them American compliant.
The nearest thing that's been available in America for the last 20 years since the demise of the FJ60 line has been the Land Rover Defender, a great vehicle that even used is out of reach of most of us here pricewise. That, plus a history of electrical and pricey engine problems and a need for high maintenance makes the Defender a car for a guy who has a 'vette in his four or five car garage along with his normal family cars, and not a normal fella like me.
Maybe this is my version of a middle age crisis. Wanting a durable 4x4 that will last for years and years. I remember well that back in the 70's and 80's, long before Toyota sold 4 door small pickups (the current Tacoma line) in America, that you could easily get nice 4x4 4 door extended cab pickups by Toyota as close as Mexico and most all other foreign countries. Once in a blue moon, you'd find one that had been imported and titled for sale either new or used at a toyota dealer. I remember that in 1978 I saw one and thought it was a great idea.
Draw from that error now, Toyota. You surely know that since you began selling the smaller 4 door trucks, particularly in the TRO and/or 4WD versions, you've sold a lot of them. I see them all the time on the road. Very popular.
But I want something that has a bit more oomph to it's drivetrain and torque than your standard truck that's been made into a 4x4, albeit with some heavy duty components added.
I want a Landcruiser truck. A new one, or at least newish. Having driven Landcruisers back in the day before they became another heavy luxury out of my price range SUV, they were a vehicle for serious off-roading. And in my middle age, that's what I'm wanting. Something you already make.
Are ya listening, Toyota? Other manufacturers who obviously have a google alert for their products running have responded in comments and emails over the past year to some of my posts, businesses such as Orvis, Daiwa, Shakespeare and others.
I'm joe consumer who enjoys the outdoors and appreciates a well designed vehicle that will last a long time. Sell me what I want because no one else is making a vehicle this good.
Are you listening also, Jeep? Why haven't we had a quality serious 4x4 J10 sort of truck in nearly 30 years?