Dive Into The History Of The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado!

Carprices Team / Posted On - January 5th 2024

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, a stalwart in off-road vehicles, traces its journey from the versatile J70 in 1984 to the rugged J250 series of 2023, embodying adventure and reliability across generations.


In the world of off-road vehicles, one name has stood the test of time, proving its mettle in the harshest terrains – the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. This full-size four-wheel-drive SUV from the Toyota Motor Corporation has etched its mark in automotive history as a "light-duty" variation in the Land Cruiser range by the renowned Japanese automaker, Toyota. Join us on an expedition through the evolution of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, from its inception to the latest fifth-generation marvel.


The name "Prado" itself carries significance, translating to meadow or field in Spanish and Portuguese, reflecting the vehicle's ability to navigate diverse landscapes with ease.


First Steps (J70; 1984)

The journey began in November 1984 with the J70 series, initially developed as the light-duty vehicle of the 70 Series. Available in short body layouts with options for soft top or hard top, it sported names like Land Cruiser II, Land Cruiser, and Bundera. The vehicle featured various engine options, including petrol and diesel variants paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, showcasing Toyota's commitment to versatility.

First Generation (J70; 1990)

In April 1990, the Prado received a facelift, introducing a redesigned front grille, fenders, engine hood, and headlights. Despite its body-on-frame design, indicating off-road capabilities, this generation was marketed toward on-road use. The 2.4 L turbo diesel engine with an option of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, with a high torque unit and the introduction of electronic fuel injection marked notable advancements.


Second Generation (J90; 1996)

May 1996 witnessed the transformation of the J70 series into the J90-series Prado, featuring a lengthened body and an independent front suspension system. Models included 3-door short wheelbase and five-door long wheelbase versions, with a range of petrol and diesel engine options. Technological advancements like ABS and a Field Monitor showcased Toyota's commitment to safety and innovation.

Third Generation (J120; 2002)

The third generation Prado, appearing in 2002, brought about a revised front suspension for improved reliability. Designed with practicality in mind, it saw the inclusion of advanced features like the engine immobilizer and a newly developed 4.0L V6 petrol engine. This generation garnered accolades for its performance and safety and features like assistance for starting on hills, downhill assistance control, centre differential locking, and occasional automatic engine heating, winning awards for the best SUV in Australia and the US.


Fourth Generation (J150; 2009)

October 2009 marked the introduction of the fourth generation Land Cruiser Prado, featuring advanced 4WD capabilities and a plethora of electronic gadgets. With options for both five-door and three-door variants, this generation boasted improved fuel efficiency and enhanced transmission systems. Over the years, it underwent facelifts and updates to stay at the forefront of technological innovation.

The Current Marvel (J250; 2023)

The latest chapter in the Prado's legacy, the J250 series, was revealed in October 2023. Focused on practicality, durability, and dependability, this generation introduces a retro-inspired, boxy and rugged exterior styling reminiscent of the iconic J60 model from the 1980s. With increased frame rigidity and modern features like electric power steering, the J250 series promises a reliable off-road experience.



The Toyota Prado has evolved over the decades, adapting to changing technologies and consumer preferences. From its humble beginnings in 1984 to the robust J250 series of today, the Prado continues to embody the spirit of adventure and reliability that defines the Land Cruiser legacy.



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