There's no older vehicle in Toyota's lineup other than the Land Cruiser, which was last redesigned for the 1998 model year. And over at Lexus, the LX 470, based as it is on the Land Cruiser, is just as old. With a full decade of production under their belts, this duo is overdue for a redesign. And that redesign is coming for 2008.
Caught testing in southern Europe was this next-generation version of the Land Cruiser (or it might be the Lexus LX--who knows?). For the conservative market in which the Land Cruiser and LX compete, it's no surprise to find that this makeover is a restrained one; no swoopy sheetmetal here, just a rugged box for maximum space utilization and an image of imperviousness. In fact, expectations are that general dimensions and chassis specifications are unlikely to change from the current vehicles much.
While the made-only-in-Japan Land Cruiser is offered with a wide variety of gasoline and diesel six- and eight-cylinder engines worldwide, it's likely it'll come to the United States, as it does currently, solely with a V-8 under the hood. But the current 4.7-liter V-8 is likely to give way to the new American-made 5.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve, VVT-i V-8 that's being installed in the 2007 Tundra pickup truck. In the Tundra, it's rated at 381 horsepower, and there's no reason to think that'll change much in the Land Cruiser. And as in the Tundra, the 5.7 will probably be mated to Toyota's new six-speed automatic transmission.
The Lexus LX likely will get a name change to LX 570 to reflect the additional liter of displacement in the new engine, and the interior will be redesigned for something more elegant than what's currently offered. But don't expect a hybrid version for this largest Lexus.
The new Land Cruiser and LX 570 should be showing up at dealers before the end of this year as 2008 models. And if you have to ask the price of either, you can afford neither.