The new Lexus GX and Toyota Land Cruiser are both chunky, rugged off-roaders. But which should you go for?
After three long years since Toyota disappointed off-road enthusiasts all over North America by killing off the 200 Series Land Cruiser, there’s a brand-new version for folks to get excited about. Actually, not only is there a new Land Cruiser, but the automaker’s Lexus division also debuted a new GX, complete with an even more rugged-looking Overtrail version. Both bring a similar boxy look to the mix as well as renowned off-road capability. Why would you want to consider the Toyota version over the Lexus, or vice-versa?
Let’s take a closer look at the major differences between the two.
Toyota Land Cruiser vs Lexus GX 550: Styling
While you’d expect the front clip and rear fascias to be different between the two (and they are), both the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus GX 550 share remarkably similar body styles. To my eye, the Toyota’s look brings a bit stronger no-nonsense vibe to the equation, but if you’re going on aesthetics alone, which one is better will ultimately boil down to your own tastes.
That said, these two are not exactly the same in terms of dimensions. Though they do ride on the same TNGA-F platform and pack the same 112.2-inch wheelbase, the GX is slightly longer than the Land Cruiser. In fact, at 197 inches, the 2024 Lexus GX is 3.3 inches longer than its Toyota counterpart, while it’s also just over 2 inches taller in height and an inch narrower in width.
Powertrains and capability
One key difference between the Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus GX 550 lies under the hood. The new Land Cruiser, for its part, packs a hybridized 2.4-liter four-cylinder shared across a wide range of models including the new Tacoma. In this application, the “i-Force Max” powertrain puts out 326 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of maximum torque. The Land Cruiser uses an 8-speed automatic transmission and can tow up to 6,000 pounds, according to Toyota’s official specs.
The 2024 Lexus GX 550, for its part, does offer a bit more grunt. Like the GX offered up more oomph than the old 4Runner, the new model has a higher output thanks to its larger engine. This new version uses the same 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6 as the Tundra, Sequoia and Lexus LX 600, with 349 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque.
Since the Lexus GX doesn’t have an electric motor as a wingman, the power level isn’t dramatically higher than the Land Cruiser, but one area where the GX does win out is towing capability. The V6-equipped Lexus uses a 10-speed automatic transmission and can tow up to 8,000 pounds, at least in its Premium and Overtrail trims. Keep in mind, though, that the Luxury drops that number down to either 6,990 lbs. and the Luxury+ is worse off still, at 6,780 lbs.
Both cars have full-time four-wheel drive systems with low-range as well as locking center and rear differentials (at least on the Overtrail, in the GX’s case). Toyota did not publish official fuel economy specs in their initial release, but their retail site suggests the LC could manage up to 27 mpg (Update: Toyota published that number on August 2). Lexus, on the other hand, says the GX should manage about 17 mpg (the Land Cruiser should do better than that, but it’s unclear how much).
The two trade off when it comes to their off-road specs, as well.
While Lexus did not officially publish ground clearance numbers, it did publish approach, breakover and departure angles of 26/24/22 degrees for the Overtrail model. Other versions of the GX 550 either gain or lose a degree, depending on which part of the car you’re talking about. The Toyota Land Cruiser manages 8.7 inches of ground clearance (which is actually slightly lower than the old 200 Series), and approach/breakover/departure angles of 30/25/22 degrees respectively.
On the angles, then, the Land Cruiser is the clear winner, especially with approach. The GX’s front and rear bumper design hurt its case a bit, though there’s not an enormous difference between the two in terms of breakover. Based on these specs, it’s fairly safe to assume the GX has a similar amount of ground clearance to the Land Cruiser.
Features and luxury
In a feature-to-feature comparison, it’s actually a bit tough to split the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus GX 550. They both pack similar safety features in terms of pre-collision assist, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control and Toyota’s “Proactive Driving Assist” that uses a driver-facing camera. Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 and Lexus safety System+ 3.0 bring exactly the same feature set, so you’re fine no matter which model you pick.
Unless you opt for the base Land Cruiser 1958, both cars bring a similar level of off-road kit to the game as well. Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control and Multi-Terrain Monitor are standard on the mid-level Land Cruiser and GX Overtrail, though Toyota does fit the Land Cruiser with the electronic locking rear differential across the entire range. If you go for the Lexus, you have to get the Overtrail if you want the rear locker.
Overall, the Lexus brings more luxurious ambience to the experience, as you’d entirely expect. Not only does it get a larger 14-inch touchscreen (to the Toyota’s 8.0 or 12.3-inch units), but the materials and generally “nice” feel of the GX should cut above the more utilitarian, few-frills Toyota.
Price and availability
When it does arrive next spring, the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser should land in the mid-$50,000 range, dealer markups notwithstanding. The 2024 Lexus GX 550 should arrive around the same time, though you will have to pay more if you want the more powerful and luxurious option. Lexus hasn’t announced official pricing either, but the general consensus is that the GX will start around $60,000.
However, that’s for the base Premium model — the Overtrail will cost a good bit more. Spring for the off-road version, and I suspect you’ll have to cough up about $75,000.
So, which one is the best option? It obviously depends on your tastes and budget, though either one will get you a cool-looking and solidly capable off-roader that should make a great adventure companion for years to come.
2024 Toyota Land Cruiser vs. Lexus GX 550: Charting the numbers
|Toyota Land Cruiser||Lexus GX 550|
|Engine||2.4-liter I-4 Hybrid||3.4-liter Twin-turbo V6|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic||10-speed automatic|
|Fuel Economy (mpg)||27* (Manufacturer estimated)||17* (Manufacturer estimated)|
|Towing Capacity (pounds)||6,000||8,000 (Premium, Overtrail)|
|Overall Length (inches)||193.7||197.0|
|Height (inches)||73.2||76.2 (Overtrail)|
|Width (inches) – with mirrors||84.2||83.2|
|Ground Clearance (inches)||8.7||TBA|
|Approach Angle (degrees)||31 (1958 trim: 30 deg.)||26|
|Breakover Angle (degrees)||25||24 (Overtrail; other models 23 deg.)|
|Departure Angle (degrees)||22||22 (Overtrail; Premium 23 deg.; Luxury 21 deg.)|
|Projected MSRP||~$55,000 (for base 1958 model)||~$60,000 (Overtrail: ~$75,000)|
Check out more on the 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser and the Lexus GX 550 in the videos below: