Published on February 19th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


Toyota Land Cruiser, Prado, FJ Cruiser History Explained

The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of those vehicles that came and conquered the segment decades before I was even born. From the time I started paying attention to cars, the Land Cruiser was already an enigmatic name, and a lot more airtime on car shows seemed to be given to other serious 4X4 vehicles. Cars like the Mercedes-Benz G Wagen, the Land Rover Range Rover (and Defender), and even the Jeep Wrangler were often mentioned in media circles to get the excitement up.

BHPetrol RON95 Euro 4M

But the Land Cruiser? That remained as enigmatic as ever. But every legend has a backstory. What’s more, we’re all familiar with the Land Cruiser’s siblings like the Prado and FJ Cruiser. So, while we were filming a review of the FJ Cruiser, our associate from Autophiles Malaysia decided to explain a little bit on the background of the Land Cruiser family.

Essentially, there are two take-aways. First, is that the naming convention for the chassis codes, like “FJ90”, can be broken down into 3 components:

  • F or B referring to Petrol or Diesel
  • J referring to this entire Land Cruiser extended family
  • 40-200 referring to the generation or series

The second part is the actual history lesson. From what Bo researched, it goes like this.

  • Pre-FJ40 Land Cruisers were looked down upon as Jeep copy cats.
  • The FJ40 came along essentially perfected the off-roader, and did it at a great price.
  • The FJ50 and FJ60 showed a more luxurious and comfortable, passenger-friendly off-roader
  • The FJ70 returned to more utilitarian roots and is still offered in a modernised form TO THIS DAY in some markets as the Land Cruiser 70. Within this series, a slightly more luxury-oriented trim level called the ‘Prado’ was created.
  • The FJ80 was the first time the Land Cruiser took on full passenger comfort and luxury as serious considerations. It became popular in parts of Malaysia, often called the Ninja King.
  • Because the FJ80 has such a large engine and was too large for some markets, Toyota spun off the Land Cruiser Prado into its own line of products. The FJ90 Prado was born.
  • The Land Cruiser continued down the path of maximum utility, luxury and comfort in further iterations, with the FJ80 being succeeded by the FJ100 and FJ200.
  • The Prado went on to this day with the FJ120 and FJ150 generation.
  • The FJ120 Prado spawned the FJ Cruiser from the 3-door variant with greater off-road ability and an emphasis on utilitarian looks. The FJ Cruiser’s future is in doubt as it is no longer offered in most markets.

About the Author

Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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