Does Toyota Want To Fight Both the Premium Defender and Bronco x Wrangler SUVs?

Toyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparison 6 photos
Photo: Toyota Motor Corporation
Toyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparisonToyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparisonToyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparisonToyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparisonToyota versus Land Rover Defender 110 comparison
The Japanese automaker seems to have allowed the potential overlap of the 2024 Land Cruiser with the 2025 4Runner to address more than one competitor niche – hear me out on this wacky theory.
As the week's novelties unraveled, I became a little too conscious of a troubling thought in the back of my mind. So, the past week has been ripe with novelties like the second-generation Opel Grandland, which is now a larger compact crossover SUV with mild hybrid, PHEV, and all-electric versions. There was also the 2025 Lamborghini Urus with a PHEV powertrain to show the BMW XM Label Red who's an Italian (electrification, not mafia) boss. Ford introduced the Coyote Gen 4 crate engines for a 'measly' $11,500, and if you want something expensive, the 2025 Porsche Cayenne GTS debuted with enhanced power in SUV and Coupe form starting from no less than $124,900.

Over in Europe, Aston Martin killed off the DBX ultra-luxury performance SUV, but fans need not worry about it – the DBX707 remains on offer and comes upgraded with a completely new interior. More stuff happened around the world, like the Auto China 2024 press days (April 25 and 26), and Toyota finally announced the spring arrival at nationwide dealerships of the hybrid Tacoma with models equipped with the 326-horsepower i-Force Max powertrain starting from $46,300. But I'm not here to discuss all of the week's novelties, as a thought crept into my mind when I saw the latest spy photographers for the upcoming Land Rover Defender Octa V8 flagship – what if the Japanese automaker secretly pitted the 2024 Land Cruiser as well as the 2025 4Runner to square off not just with the Bronco and Wrangler, but also with the premium Defender 110.

Yes, I know it's kind of a wacky theory. But hear me out on it. So, if we sit down and think straight, the returning 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser makes sense as a Land Rover Defender 100 foe, even if Land Rover wants us to believe its L663 generation has become premium enough actually to square off with the 2024 Lexus GX 550. However, the Defender starts in between the Land Cruiser and GX but can also end up in Lexus LX territory, without a doubt. More precisely, the all-new 2024 Land Cruiser starts from $55,900 and goes up to $74,950 with the First Edition grade, but it only has one 326-hp hybrid powertrain under the hood. Dimensionally, it's 4,925 mm (193.9 in) long, 1,980 mm (78.0 in) wide, and 1,870 mm (73.6 in) tall while also sporting a 2,850 mm (112.2 in) wheelbase.

The third generation of the Lexus GX, meanwhile, is also larger than its predecessor and has almost the exact same dimensions as the 2024 Land Cruiser since they're twins based on the TNGA-F platform, with the sole variation being the Overtrail models that are 2,000 mm (78.7 in) wide. Its prices also kick off from $64,250 and go up to just $81,250 with a sole powertrain option in America – a 3.4-liter V35A-FTS twin-turbo V6 hooked to a ten-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission sending to the wheels up to 349 horsepower and 649 Nm (479 lb-ft), slightly more than the i-Force Max in the Land Cruiser. On the other hand, the current Land Rover Defender 110 is only slightly larger (197.5 inches long or 5,018 mm, for example) than both across all dimensions, including the 3,022 mm (119 inches) wheelbase.

Its prices kick off at $60,600 without destination fees for the Defender S with the 2.0-liter Ingenium inline-four P300 engine variant that churns out 296 horsepower. So, it's slightly larger than both the Land Cruiser and GX but has less power in the base configuration and sits squarely in between them in terms of pricing. However, the comparison becomes harder to achieve when you switch to inline-six options – the Defender S with the 3.0-liter P400 MHEV rocks a mild hybrid system and 395 horsepower, much more than the Land Cruiser and GX offer. The situation becomes even clearer when opting for the 5.0-liter models – the Defender SE P500 (493 hp) starts from $93,300, and the Defender V8 with 518 horsepower is no less than $111,500. Alas, the real deal breaker that could send you away from the Land Cruiser and GX right into Defender's arms is the fact that you can't go any further than five seats inside both of them.

On the other hand, Land Rover made sure to profit from Defender's versatility with five-seat configurations plus six-seat (front jump seat, $900) and seven-seat (third row, $2,200) options right off the bat – meaning you can take them home in combination with the 2.0-liter Defender S. Frankly, that's a genius move from Land Rover because that way you don't really need the much larger Defender 130 and with the 90, 100, and 130 models the company covers almost the entire SUV spectrum with compact, mid-size, and full-size offerings. However, it suddenly occurred to me that Toyota not only gave the all-new N410 4Runner all-rounder SUV the option for seven seats to further set it apart from the 2024 Land Cruiser but to also secretly allow folks to choose it over the seven-seat Defender 110, too. I know it may be an apple versus oranges comparison, but it could also be a genius move to try and steal buyers not just from the direct Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco rivals as well as from the 'premium' but not equally reliable Land Rover Defender. Plus, the 4Runner will probably be much cheaper than all its friends and foes – especially the Land Cruiser, GX, and Defender.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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