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Which is the Better SUV? Edmunds compares the new Toyota Land Cruiser and Lexus GX

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Toyota has come out with an all-new 2024 Land Cruiser. This latest model of this long-running SUV is smaller and less expensive than before and comes with a hybrid powertrain that gets better fuel economy than the previous V8. Yet, true to tradition, the Land Cruiser comes standard with four-wheel drive and ample ground clearance for help over rugged terrain. It should be a no-brainer for anyone shopping for an outdoorsy SUV. There’s just one thing: You might want to get a 2024 Lexus GX instead.

It’s rare when you have an intra-family rivalry that is as compelling as these two models. The 2024 Lexus GX is similarly new and based on the same platform underpinning the Land Cruiser. It costs more than the Land Cruiser to start but is equally off-road capable, has a more powerful engine, and comes with a third row of seating.

Edmunds’ auto experts put these two SUVs in a head-to-head comparison to see which is the better buy.

Engines and Fuel Economy

The Land Cruiser comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid powertrain that produces 326 horsepower. That robust torque figure helps the Land Cruiser feel responsive at low speeds, though getting up to speed on the highway takes a while. During testing, Edmunds found it needed 8.2 seconds to get to 60 mph. That’s fine for routine driving needs, though some shoppers might long for more highway passing power. On the plus side, the 2024 Land Cruiser gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

The GX goes its own way in terms of its powertrain. Four-wheel drive is similarly standard, yet tucked under the hood is a turbocharged V6 that delivers 349 horsepower that helps the GX zip from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. The trade-off is fuel efficiency. Lacking a hybrid setup like the Land Cruiser, the GX gets an EPA-estimated 17 mpg combined.

Efficiency-minded shoppers might prefer the Land Cruiser but in day-to-day driving the GX’s quicker acceleration is more appealing.

Winner: Lexus GX

Features and Value

The five-passenger Land Cruiser lineup kicks off with the entry-level 1958 trim level that starts at $57,345, including destination. It’s a bit of a stripped-down trim level, however. The more compelling buy is the midrange trim level known simply as Land Cruiser. Starting at $63,695, it’s equipped with more desirable features such as ventilated front seats with synthetic leather upholstery, an upgraded 12.3-inch touchscreen and power liftgate.

To get the GX 550, you’ll only need to pay about the same amount as for that midrange Land Cruiser: $64,250. This base Premium trim comes with a comparable amount of standard features as the midrange Land Cruiser. As a luxury model, the GX also offers a lot more high-end features than the Land Cruiser, including an available premium Mark Levinson sound system and massaging front seats. Of course, these features come at a price; the top GX trims are close to $80,000.

Ultimately, the price gap between these two SUVs is closer than you might think, and both offer solid value.

Winner: tie

Driving and Comfort

Having body-on-frame construction makes the Land Cruiser and GX highly capable when paved roads end. Thankfully, on-pavement driving manners are commendable too. Their upright designs and large windows provide excellent outward visibility. The front seats are supportive in both, though Edmunds found their second rows have less legroom than expected in vehicles this size.

When driven at a more sedate pace, body control is good and a step above similarly outdoorsy rivals like the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco. Compared to the Land Cruiser, the GX does hold key advantages in terms of speedier acceleration and greater stability during hard braking. And while neither feels particularly nimble during spirited cornering, the Lexus’ suspension feels a little more refined.

Winner: Lexus GX

Cargo Space and Towing

The GX is the only one of the two SUVs with a third row of seating. One hitch is that they’re very small and really only suitable for small kids. When occupied, cargo room shrinks to only 10.3 cubic feet, though this expands to a more usable 40.2 cubic feet in capacity with the third row folded. Open up the back of the Land Cruiser and you’ll have 37.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

Towing is where the Lexus GX has an advantage. It is rated to pull up to 9,096 pounds when properly equipped. The Land Cruiser tops out at 6,000 pounds.

Winner: Lexus GX

Edmunds Says

Both of these SUVs impress with their above-average off-road capability. The Land Cruiser has appeal because of its heritage-based styling and lower starting price. But compare it to the GX and you’ll find that paying just a bit more gets you a notably better SUV.

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This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Nick Kurczewski is a contributor at Edmunds.

By NICK KURCZEWSKI
Edmunds

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