The lighter platform allows for a lower center of gravity and a better front-rear weight distribution. The new suspension also delivers better driving dynamics on-road and off. Up front, the Land Cruiser gets a high-mount double-wishbone setup.
In the rear is a new trailing-link, rigid axle system, with better shock absorber positioning to improve comfort and steering.
A Torsen Limited Slip Differential from Toyota Group supplier JTEKT Corp. helps improve rear wheel traction by automatically distributing torque between the left and right wheels.
The Land Cruiser also has an expanded multi-terrain select function to better tailor driving in six modes, including dirt, sand, mud, deep snow and rock.
At the same time, a multi-terrain monitor allows the driver to check blind spots around the SUV with four cameras – including an "underfloor view" that combines previously taken images to show what is beneath the vehicle.
Under the hood, the new SUV drops the long-running V-8 powerplants for two V-6 options – a 3.5-liter V-6 twin-turbo gasoline engine and a 3.3-liter V-6 twin-turbo diesel. The gasoline power plant achieves about 415 hp, while the diesel delivers around 309 hp.
Both are mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota said the downsized turbocharged engines achieve better performance and fuel economy than the outgoing V-8.
In the Japan-specification Land Cruiser, for example, fuel economy over the previous generation was improved approximately 18 percent for the gasoline engine grades and about 45 percent for the diesel engine offerings.
Toyota’s figures were drawn from the European standard -- the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure, which is less stringent than the U.S. standard set by the European Union.
A host of new safety technologies are among other updates.
They include a fingerprint sensor on the start switch. It is the first application in a Toyota vehicle, and the system ensures that the person trying to drive off is a registered driver. Also, pedestrian and bicycle detection abilities have been added to the pre-collision system.
The 300 Series also comes in a GR Sport edition that incorporates lessons learned from the Land Cruiser’s participation in the Dakar Rally – a grueling cross-country race the Land Cruiser has been running in since 1995.