2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado announced for Australia

Three 2024 Toyota Landcruiser Prado vehicles on a desert plateau

Toby Hagon

Posted August 03, 2023

The new Prado goes back to LandCruiser basics but won't deliver the hybrid model available in overseas markets. 

Toyota has revealed its all-new fourth-generation Prado four-wheel drive that is due in Australia in 2024 and will one day have a hybrid or electric drivetrain.

For now, though, the boldest and most rugged-looking Toyota Prado to date only gets very mild hybrid assistance as part of its increased emphasis on fuel efficiency.

The early focus for the crucial family-focused version of Toyota’s large off-road wagon is on going further off-road in more style.

A 2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado

The 2024 Toyota Prado takes inspiration from the LandCruiser basics. Image: Supplied.


Back to basics

Toyota describes its new Prado 250-Series as going back to basics.

Whereas the traditional LandCruisers have got bigger, heavier and more luxurious, the new Prado 250-Series is partly about embracing the love for iconic models such as the LandCruiser FJ40 as well as the 60-Series and 80-Series.

Toyota describes it as going “back to the origin and essence of the LandCruiser” and “returning to the origin of the LandCruiser”.

Think of it as a modern day 60-Series or 80-Series, the latter still one of the most loved LandCruisers ever built.

Dressed to thrill

The new Prado 250-Series looks tougher and more stylish than ever.

Instead of a generic look, Toyota has added some retro infused LandCruiser touches and squared the edges for a more robust and utilitarian flavour.

Gone is the stylised T logo on the grille and in its place the Toyota branding spelled boldly across the grille.

Form and function

Inside, the Prado adopts a digital instrument cluster and more stylish interior. There are still traditional buttons for commonly used functions – such as audio controls and ventilation – as well as a sizeable central screen.

A broad covered centre console and grab handles on the windscreen pillars are indicative of the efforts put into comfort and functionality.


Interior of 2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado

The Prado might be tougher than ever, but it doesn't sacrifice style either. Image: Supplied


Looking to LandCruiser

The all-new Prado 250-Series leans more heavily than ever on Toyota’s LandCruiser heritage.

While the LandCruiser is a bigger, more expensive vehicle, Toyota is keen to leverage the marketing goodness that comes with the LandCruiser name.

It’s also leveraged plenty from underneath the LandCruiser 300-Series, including its ladder frame architecture.

Plenty of the old

Yes, the new Prado 250-Series still rides on a truck-like separate chassis platform that is seen as the weapon of choice for proper off-road vehicles.

While full details are yet to be released, expect it to still get independent front suspension and a live axle rear-end.

Plus there’s a four-cylinder turbo diesel engine making the same 150kW and 500Nm as today’s car.

However, Toyota has also included a 48-Volt electrical system that can provide assistance to improve performance and reduce fuel consumption.

Toyota doesn’t refer to the Prado as a hybrid, instead referencing its 48V motor and the mild benefits that promises. Expect something like 10 per cent improvements around town, while retaining the heavy duty towing capability crucial to the Prado.


Dashboard and console inside a 2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado

The 2024 LandCruiser Prado is expected to include independent front suspension plus a live axle rear-end. Image: Supplied


There’s a hybrid, but not for Australia

The new Prado will be available with a petrol-hybrid system – but not for Australia.

The 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo is paired with electric motors to make a combined 243kW and 630Nm.

It’s unclear why, but that engine won’t be offered in Australia, instead reserved for China and North America.

EV models are coming … eventually

Toyota has promised a hybrid or full electric version of its core models by 2030. That includes the Prado and LandCruiser.

Down the track then, expect the Prado to pick a full EV system for zero tailpipe emissions.

The big question is whether it will be a pure battery electric vehicle or a hydrogen fuel cell EV (FCEV), the latter capable of performing a chemical reaction to turn hydrogen into electricity.

Toyota has been pushing hard on FCEV tech and clearly sees it as a viable longer term zero tailpipe emissions solution in Australia.

The benefits are obvious: five-minute refuelling and lighter weight hydrogen tanks. The challenge for hydrogen is the lack of refuelling infrastructure.

Battery electric technology is available now but is not always well suited to towing over long distances or visiting remote areas, two things buyers expect of a Prado. Better battery technology could address that; Toyota is working hard on solid state batteries that would do just that, while improved charging infrastructure could also provide a solution to long-distance touring.

Either way, expect better solutions for long distance touring with battery electric vehicles in the not-too-distant future.

So, how far off are electric 4WDs?

Off-road vehicles powered purely by electricity are either available or under development – but they’re like a few years away from dealerships in Australia.

Car makers such as Ford, Nissan and Toyota are currently developing off-road vehicles powered purely by electrons.

And in the United States there are various options currently on sale. They include the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado, two large pick-up trucks that have proven popular in their early sales phases.


A 2024 Toyota LandCruiser Prado

Australians will miss out on the hybrid models offered in China and North America. Image: Supplied.


A quicker solution

That said, there will be EV conversions sooner.

Already companies such as Roev, Zero Automotive and Tembo 4x4 are selling EV converted versions of rugged utes such as the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.

The locally-based companies will remove the diesel engines and fuel tanks and replace them with battery packs and an electric motor.

Toyota has also committed to locally engineered electric conversions of its rugged LandCruiser 70-Series off the back of demand from mining giants keen to use the technology in their fleet vehicles.

However, the project is many years away from Toyota dealerships.

Why 4WDs should benefit from electricity

Clearly there are challenges in engineering four-wheel drives to tackle the terrain we expect them to.

Chief among those is ensuring they can get you there and back on a single charge.

But once the charging and range issues are solved – one likely to be partly solved by fast-improving battery technology – the switch to EV looks set to improve the capability of four-wheel drives.

Regulating drive to each wheel to reduce wheelspin is a lot easier with electric motors, for example. Instead of having to apply the brakes or reduce engine power – each of which takes fraction of a second – the electrical system can adjust how much power is delivered to the wheels in a fraction of the time.

Access to easy pulling power – or torque – is also a plus for those heading off-road.

Having a heavy battery pack low in the vehicle can also help lower the centre of gravity, helping with stability in hilly terrain.

Plus electric motors don’t need oxygen, so once the electrical components have been sealed from water there’s no need for snorkels to feed fresh air into the engine.

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