Updated Toyota Land Cruiser 70 now available in short-wheelbase variant

These days it seems that Toyota Land Cruisers are being launched with dizzying frequency. The venerable SUV may have just relaunched in the U.S., but elsewhere in the world off-road enthusiasts are celebrating the return of yet another variant. The short-wheelbase 70-series has just debuted in the United Arab Emirates.

As you may know, the 2024 Land Cruiser we get here is based on the 250-series Land Cruiser Prado. That’s different from the 300-series Land Cruisers that the rest of the world gets, which is the true successor to the luxurious but rugged 200-series that left the U.S. market in 2021. (Both the Prado and the 300 are sold here as the Lexus GX and LX, respectively.)

The 70-series, on the other hand, is a tough, utilitarian variant that has been sold continuously in various parts of the world since 1984. It’s been in production for nearly 40 years, seeing a return to its home market of Japan and a major update earlier this year identified by its return to round headlights. Thus far it has been offered in 5-door, single-cab pickup and double-cab pickup body styles.

Now, a short-wheelbase variant is available in the UAE. Chopping 16.5 inches from between the wheels, it is only available in 3-door format. The options list is as spartan as the synthetic leather interior. Only one trim level, four exterior colors, and one interior color are available. 

Why would anyone want a smaller Land Cruiser? A shorter wheelbase makes for a more nimble off-roader, with smaller breakover angles and lighter weight. Remember, most Japanese SUVs like the Mitsubishi Montero/Dodge Raider, Isuzu Trooper, and previous versions of the Land Cruiser offered this body style. It’s also why Jeep Wranglers resisted expanding to four doors for so long.

It does look a bit goofy in the side view, but think of the SWB 70 as a more powerful Suzuki Jimny. Speaking of power, there is only one powertrain option. That would be a 4.0-liter  gasoline V6, making 228 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, and mated to a six-speed automatic.

Sadly for hard-core off-roaders, we’ll almost certainly never see this version in the U.S.

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