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4Runner vs Land Cruiser sales
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Toyota selling the new 4Runner and Land Cruiser together might be shooting itself in the foot

History loves to repeat itself. Watching A New Hope and then seeing The Force Awakens decades later? Spanish Flu became H1N1 then COVID, and who knows what’s next? Fans of World War I? Wait ’til you learn about the sequel. In the late 2000s to early 2010s, there was the venerable Toyota 4Runner and a throwback-retro off-roader that shared DNA selling alongside one another. And today, it’s the same story on repeat. Toyota just launched the all-new 2025 Toyota 4Runner to accompany the downsized, downmarket Toyota Land Cruiser.

Fun! We get two off-roady family haulers that just so happen to be based on the same platform, share the same engines, occupy nearly the same niches, and will probably be priced within a stone’s throw of one another… Wait a minute.

Oh shit. That’s not good, is it?

Now there are two of them?

We live in an age where the crossoverfication of a brand’s model lineup is now common practice. Ford banks almost entirely on trucks and SUVs, while the Mustang stands as the last pony in its car lineup. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are locked in a wee-wee measuring contest to see who can pump out the most turtle-shaped SUVs. And Toyota, while still leaning heavily into its car lineup, has been doubling down on filling every possible crossover and SUV niche with curiosities like the Venza, Corolla Cross, or Grand Highlander.

Toyota 4Runner
Image credit: Toyota

Now, it has two mid-size off-roadsters in its ranks, the recently launched 2024 Land Cruiser and the brand-new 2025 4Runner. Both run on the same Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA platform (TNGA-F to be specific) that also underpins the mechanically similar Tacoma. Both feature four-wheel drive and run the Tacoma’s 2.4-liter i-Force MAX turbo-four hybrid powertrain. Both are being touted for their ruggedness, dependability, off-road prowess, and strong heritage. Sound familiar here? It sounds like the old 4Runner-FJ Cruiser story. And last I checked, only one of them is still standing.

Toyota Land Cruiser
Image credit: Toyota

How 4Runner sibling story last played out

The last-gen Toyota 4Runner launched in 2010, while the generation before that persisted from 2003 to 2009. Both generations rocked the mighty 4.0-liter “1GR” V6. The FJ stuck around from 2007 to 2014, although Toyota continued to manufacture and sell it in some Asian and South American markets until 2022. Like the outgoing 4Runner, the FJ is often criticized for archaic driving dynamics, which ironically also garnered praise from those who found it endearing and authentic to trucks of old. Paired with its hot retro styling, the FJ quickly became a modern classic, as used FJ prices have likely proven, even before the pandemic price booms. So why did it go away in the first place?

Well, in case we forgot, a certain economic crisis from around that time frame didn’t do so well for car buying. Gas guzzlers were out of style! How the hell were we supposed to drool over the latest and greatest Jeep fighter when some people couldn’t even guarantee they could keep their homes? It was rough on everyone, and its aftershock was felt for years to come.

As a result, new FJ sales never quite reached Toyota’s expectations, likely due to buyers swaying to the more practical 4Runner, which didn’t have its fun but silly suicide doors or atrocious blind spots. Not everyone could get on board with the dedicated off-roader, but they may just hop aboard its sibling with more space, conventional doors, better visibility, and more luxurious trim levels. They did what they had to after seven years of parading the FJ around and pulled it from the U.S. market.

What does the duo look like now?

They boast 6,000-pound towing ratings. Neat. They both feature the base i-Force MAX hybrid engines pumping out the same 326 horsepower and 465 pound-feet, although the 4Runner will get a base i-Force powertrain pushing 278 ponies and 317 pound-feet. Alrighty then. Both rock double wishbones in the front and a multilink setup in the rear with disconnecting sway bars. Badass! Except, well, if you make them this damn similar, they’re bound to cannibalize each other’s sales. Or are they?

In the words of a little birdie in the car industry who gave me his two cents, there are two key sentences he told me: “Pricing is critical,” and “This is why product planners can be fucking stupid sometimes.”

Most people will gun for the presumably more affordable 4Runner, which would logically start anywhere between $40,000 and $45,000 and likely ship with the base non-hybrid i-Force engine. In theory, it can do everything the Land Cruiser can do and then some, especially once you step up to the TRD Pro and Trailhunter, which will feature a hot widebody wrapping over 33-inch all-terrains not offered on the Land Cruiser. But where does that leave the Land Cruiser, which now occupies nearly the same niche at a higher price (starts at $55,950) and doesn’t currently offer any such trim level?

“What they’re [Toyota] trying to do is cutting their cake into smaller slices,” says my anonymous industry insider. “The 4Runner buyer will be younger. Less affluent. More hardcore. The Land Cruiser buyer is someone who probably occasionally goes off-road but only to the campsite or the Grand Canyon, if that. Or they’re probably the buyer who likes the styling but doesn’t want to make that leap to the Lexus GX Overtrail.”

Of course, as he had mentioned, pricing is key to negate any overlap the two siblings will clearly have, as it will dictate who’s really buying them. “Realistically, we’re probably not going to see too many of the TRD Pros and Trailhunters for how much they’re going to cost. There is going to be some overlap, and I don’t know who a 4Runner Platinum is even for.”

In its own bid to stand apart, the Land Cruiser is seemingly leaving its old ultra-hardcore off-road image to the 4Runner. The rock crawlers, the mud boggers, and the Baja prerunners can have their fill, even without the fancy trims as it can be presumed they’ll be as easily modifiable as the last gen. The Land Cruiser appears to take a more relaxed approach in a similar vein to the far pricier Land Rover Defender, meaning it may ride plusher, be more friendly on the street with its more street-oriented tires, and be more refined with its more upscale interior. The Land Cruiser is also i-Force MAX only and features a full-time four-wheel-drive system not offered on the 4Runner, which uses a more traditional and rugged four-wheel drive with manual selection for rear-wheel, four-wheel, Hi, and Lo. The Land Cruiser has a more expansive greenhouse, whereas the 4Runner appears to be the same hunkered-down machine gun nest the old one was but now with the new Tacoma’s mug.

Interesting that they’re playing the practical card yet not offering the Land Cruiser with a third-row seat while the new 4Runner can be specced with one and the new Lexus GX has it standard. Weird.

Even so, you can still tell Toyota is trying for an SUV that may not cost much more than a mid-grade 4Runner. As my source says, it’ll be for the casual hikers, campers, or overlanders who don’t need something as riotous as a 4Runner Trailhunter and greatly appreciate the old-school boxy styling that old Land Cruisers were famous for and is making a comeback in modern SUVs. Also being a Land Cruiser, it’s not like its old-timey styling is a compromise on practicality. There are normal doors and big, expansive windows FJ owners could only dream of.

How the Land Cruiser and 4Runner will get along

Will the inevitable price and performance delta be enough to separate the two? I love both of them, and I wish for the success of both of them. There’s still plenty of overlap but also plenty of room for separation to let each truck shine on its own merits, and then the next question is, will buyers see that? Perhaps base model to base model, yes. But I’m skeptical as buyers start hiking up their respective trim levels. Those who don’t want a super hardcore 4Runner can just buy a lower trim level, sure. At the same time, the ambitious few who are especially into off-roading but may not need the likes of the TRD Pro or Trailhunter will buy one anyway because Americans love excess capability in case the universe catches us with our pants down on a leap year with all the stars aligned to create a situation where we might need it.

In the end, once the two meet on showroom floors, Land Cruiser will have its clear buyers. It will be remembered as a lovable, exemplary vehicle as the FJ once was, true to its heritage but with the added usability that not only makes it a great off-roader but a damn good car, as journos are just now finding out. But so will the 4Runner for similar, if not less, money thanks to its zealous, younger, and more adventurous fanbase. But what do I know? After all, the Land Cruiser banks on a far more prestigious heritage than a Venza and will be more refined and usable than any FJ before it. I could be proven totally wrong, and it and the Tacoma-with-a-bed-cap 4Runner will learn to live in harmony.

Anyway, I’ll take a base Land Cruiser with the round headlights, please. Thank you.

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Buying Guides

Here are five great used SUVs for family hauling on a budget

New SUVs are expensive! You can thank dealer markups and cost of living expenses for that terrible news. However, not all is lost. If you want to get yourself or your family a nice SUV, you just need to look at a good used SUV that can do what you need without robbing you at the dealer. Now presenting our round-up of five great used SUVs that you can get in 2024 year that will help you find and choose the best soccer practice shuttle for yourself. 

Subaru Forester

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Comes standard with all-wheel drive 
  • The Forester comes standard with many EyeSight driver assists 

What’s not?

  • Lackluster performance from the engine
  • “Meh” CVT

Subaru is often overlooked when it comes to buying cars, but that does mean the price of the Forester is often much lower, and you can get your money’s worth when buying one used. That does not mean the Forester is a bad SUV. In fact, it is beloved by people who like to overland and who love to explore the wilderness. 

The inviting size of the cabin and the features that come standard on the Forester make it an ideal family SUV. With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto being a feature since 2019, the infotainment functionality of the Forester is up with there with other premium cars, even if its appearance is a bit dated.  The engine and transmission of the Subura Forester is what many people complain about as the engine feels lackluster and the CVT introduced in 2014 is, well, a CVT. Even the best ones can make an engine drone and moan like a complaining brat. If you don’t mind the age, older variants with more conventional autos would do nicely, and you may even be able to find a turbocharged XT with a stick! However, the easygoing handling and impressive all-weather and all-terrain capabilities of the Forester make it an easy pick, nonetheless. 

Honda Pilot

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Tons of cargo space and interior space.
  • The Pilot is reasonably fuel-efficient with its V6 engine. 

What’s not?

  • The third-row seats are not comfortable for long-distance
  • The infotainment system isn’t the most user-friendly in older generations

The Honda Pilot follows in the footsteps of Honda’s reputation of being practical and reliable but still has that premium feel. The Pilot shares the same platform as the Honda Odyssey but loses the interior space due to it being limited to becoming an SUV. This means that the Pilot does have a third row like the Odyssey, but the seats are not as comfortable for long distances. 

The exterior looks of the Honda Pilot are nothing special, and you can easily forget what the Pilot looks like when you compare it to rival cars. Even the driving experience is nothing special. This does not mean it is a bad thing, especially if you want an SUV that can easily tow between 3,500 to 5,000 pounds, is reliable and you do not want a flashy SUV.  The Pilot does come with many driver assists that come standard on all trim levels of the car, making it a very practical SUV to drive.

Ford Explorer

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • The rear-wheel drive improvements help with towing
  • Abundance of interior and cargo space 

What’s not?

  • Wind noise can be harsh at highway speeds
  • The interior material, build quality, and the seats weren’t that great

By owning a Ford Explorer, you can be seen as one of the most hated SUVs on the road, but you can have fun with it. I’m talking about how the Explorer is used by Police, and many people may mistake your SUV for a police Explorer (psst, get one in silver or dark blue for that near-universal Highway Patrol cosplay).

With the 2020 redesign of the Ford Explorer, you can get the SUV either in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This is an improvement over previous versions that offered the front-wheel drive version. The interior of the Ford Explorer wasn’t always up to par with rivals such as the Honda Pilot or Santa Fe. The infotainment systems and the safety technology inside the Explorer are very competitive when you compare them to rivals, especially in newer generations. It just the materials of the interior is that bring down this SUV, particularly in generations past. 

Hyundai Santa Fe

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Some powertrain choices of later years are a hoot
  • The infotainment system is top-notch.  

What’s not?

  • There are a lot of hard plastic interior bits 
  • Some model years don’t have third-row seating

The 2.5-liter turbo inline-four in the Hyundai Santa Fe boasts impressive figures, making it a strong performer. Plus, the dual-clutch eight-speed transmission is just as willing to play along with you as it will happily downshift to get into the torque range of the engine. This means that you can surprise many unsuspecting cars at the stop light when you take off. 

While being a bit playful due to the power figures, you still get a great family SUV that is reliable and has infotainment systems that all modern SUVs and cars need to thrive in today’s modern world. One possible issue with the interior is the abundance of hard plastics that can make the interior feel cheap when you compare it to rival SUVs. Some used Santa Fe options may come with the upgraded premium quilted Nappa leather seats, but they are not as good as full luxury seats in more premium vehicles. 

Toyota RAV4

Image credit: Carpixel.net

What’s hot?

  • Easy to drive with excellent handling
  • Exciting powertrain in the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid

What’s not?

  • Interior can suffer from wind noise gruff engine noise
  • Ride quality can be harsh in more adventurous off-road variants

As the world’s first urban SUV (or so Toyota insists), the RAV4 has become a popular choice for people to buy. Due to it being parked in nearly everyone’s driveway for a very long time, it has become the standard on which many other SUVs are judged. And for good reason. RAV4s have always been reasonably efficient. Reasonably spacious. Easy to drive and easy to live with, all backed by that reputation of Toyota reliability.

The RAV4 has excellent features, as some of the later models come with wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay. You also get great safety systems that include automatic braking and automatic high-beam headlights. Adventure and TRD Off-Road variants, if you can find them used, score standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, and hybrids offer an efficient yet lively driving experience, especially the Prime plug-in.

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The front grill of a Cadillac Escalade IQ EV SUV is seen in darkness. The headlights are shining through.
FeaturesNews

The 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will indulge your appetite for excess, down to the price

GM is going all out with electric vehicles in the next few model years. As proven by the exciting Hummer EV SUV, massive Chevy Silverado EV, and (uhh…) elusive Cadillac Lyriq, the American auto giant fully intends on making its Ultium battery platform the gold standard for EVs. The 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ is GM’s latest Ultium EV SUV, and it promises to make a splash — with experts and auto-spies across the internet speculating about its design and features.

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade IQ was announced at a grand event in New York City on August 9, 2023. Like the Hummer EV SUV and Chevy Silverado EV, the Escalade IQ will be assembled at GM’s Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center. For some reason, GM is promoting this event with the tagline “Built in Detroit. Revealed in New York City,” which, let’s be honest, doesn’t really mean anything.

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ price and release date

A Cadillac Escalade IQ EV SUV is silhouetted against the New York Skyline.
Image credit: Cadillac
  • Price: $130,000 – $175,000 minimum
  • Release date: Summer 2024

As is expected from the EV version of an already pricey full-size luxury SUV, the 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ starts at a cool $130,000. While we don’t know much about the pricing apart from that, GM has shown off one configuration that adds up to around $175,000.

There will seemingly be four trim levels including Luxury 1, Sport 1, Luxury 2, and Sport 2. Based on what we’ve seen from Caddy models, we suspect these names will change to something a little less generic as we get closer to the Escalade IQ’s summer 2024 launch. GM has teased that there may eventually be an Escalade IQL trim with a longer wheelbase and an Escalade IQ-V trim with boosted performance, according to GM Authority — but this will likely come later.

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ specs

Although much information about the various Cadillac IQ trims are still behind closed doors, GM has its overall dimensions as well as a handful of options.

Exterior color options

  • Flare Metallic (available with optional black roof)
  • Black Raven
  • Black Cherry Tintcoat (available with optional black roof)
  • Deep Space Metallic (available with optional black roof)
  • Summit White (available with optional black roof)
  • Midnight Steel Frost (available with optional black roof)
  • Luna Metallic (available with optional black roof)

Interior seating options

  • Sheer/medium dark cinder gray
  • Backen black / Santorini

Wheels

  • 7-spoke alloy wheels with mask/polish with machine face and high gloss black pockets and inserts
  • 7 tri-spoke alloy wheels with deep night metallic
  • 7-spoke alloy wheels with mask/polish with high gloss black pockets and chrome inserts

Exterior dimensions

  • Height: 76.1″
  • Length: 224.3″
  • Width: 94.1″ (including mirrors) 

Interior and tech

A close-up on the new, tech-forward Cadillac Badge from a Cadillac Escalade IQ EV SUV
Image credit: Cadillac

As we mentioned above, one of the primary benefits of the Ultium battery platform is that GM’s designers have unprecedented freedom when it comes to the interior of their vehicles. This remains true for the Escalade IQ, as the combustion-engine version’s cabin would probably be considered a “spacious studio apartment” in some major cities.

With this massive cabin space comes even more real estate for tech, screens, and all sorts of bells and whistles (probably not literally, but who knows?) The Cadillac Escalade IQ will have luxury-level technology including GM’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving capabilities as well as other premium trappings like HD Surround Vision that have been announced for its other luxury-level vehicles.

Interior dimensions

  • Cabin cargo space: up to 119.2 cubic-feet
  • eTrunk cargo space: up to 12.2 cubic-feet

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ electric range and charging times

We see the side emblem of a Cadillac Escalade IQ
Image credit: Cadillac
  • Electric range: up to 450 miles
  • DC fast charging time: 100 miles of range in 10 minutes

Assuming it lives up to its own internal estimates in the real world, the Cadillac Escalade IQ packs some seriously impressive electric range – 450 miles to be exact. And because it gets 100 miles of range from 10 minutes of charging, it would only take a little over 30 minutes to charge from 10% to 80% capacity, or in a less realistic and unadvisable scenario, 45 minutes to reach 100% from 0.

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ powertrain and 0-60 performance

A close-up of the grill of a Cadillac Escalade IQ EV SUV
Image credit: Cadillac
  • Horsepower: 750 horsepower
  • Torque: 785 lb-ft

GM’s mantra with its latest line of EV SUVs seems to be “bigger is better,” and the Cadillac Escalade IQ is no exception. With 750 horsepower and 785 lb-ft of torque under its belt, you’ll certainly never miss a meeting, even if using all that power in such a hefty machine means putting pedestrians at risk, not to mention other drivers. Though GM hasn’t said a whole lot else about its performance, the 8,660-pound Hummer EV SUV can accelerate from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds – a terrifying thought!

2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ design changes

Unsurprisingly, the Cadillac Escalade shares many of its design elements with the Lyriq – such as the chevron-hatched “black crystal shield” grille and “vertical light blade” smart headlights, but with the Escalade’s even more extravagant styling. It does have a lower stance, thankfully, which is being advertised as a feature to improve its aerodynamics, but in reality, the floor-mounted battery allows for a lower center of gravity.

Otherwise, the 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ pretty closely resembles the Escalade of old, so if you liked how it looked before, you’ll appreciate the more conservative approach the folks at GM took with this gargantuan block of wealth on wheels.

FAQs

When will the Cadillac Escalade IQ be released?

While the exact date has yet to be confirmed, GM has confirmed the 2025 model year Cadillac Escalade IQ will arrive at your local dealer no later than summer 2024. We’ll see.

What will the Cadillac Escalade IQ cost?

As the flagship of GM’s luxury all-electric offerings, the 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ will start at $130,000 for the base trim with no options. Beyond that, the Escalade IQ website shows a $175,000 spec, suggesting the price will go much higher depending on the spec you (or the dealer) decide to order.

What is the Cadillac Escalade IQ’s electric range on a single charge?

See above.

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