2024 Toyota Land Cruiser

The News for August 4th, 2023

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Toyota Land Cruiser returns to the US market, Porsche builds a special 911 just for BAT resellers, the Nismo Z is back, plus your news for the week.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser returns to the US

As promised, one of Toyota’s most storied nameplates is returning to the US, but it won’t be quite as it was when it left us a few years ago. When Toyota pulled the covers off the 2024 Land Cruiser, it confirmed our suspicions regarding the platform it would be based on. It’s not the same as the massive luxury barge 300 Series that debuted for Middle East and Australian markets, rather it’s based on the same platform as the new Lexus GX we saw just a few months ago. That means it’s a good bit smaller and – crucially – a good bit cheaper. But Toyota promises it will live up to the name and deliver exceptional off-road performance and on-road comfort.

The Land Cruiser is built on the latest TNGA-F platform and relies on Toyota’s new favorite powertrain. The i-Force Max hybrid powertrain, consisting of a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a 48-hp electric motor integrated into the eight-speed transmission, is the only available powertrain on all grades. Total output is 326 horsepower and 465 lb.-ft. of torque. Its towing capacity is 6,000 pounds across all grades. Whether the mandatory hybrid powertrain translates into improved fuel economy remains to be seen. The old school Toyota/Lexus SUVs all have laughably bad mileage so it really shouldn’t be that hard to beat… but hybrid systems still add weight. We will know MPG estimates closer to launch.

What doesn’t require estimation is its legendary abilities off road. An impressive amount of hardware comes standard, including full-time 4WD with an electronically-controlled two-speed transfer case (Hi/Low), a center-locking differential, electronic locking rear diff, automatic limited-slip differential, and a few other optional features on top of all that. Additional options include CRAWL Control (like cruise control for the trails) and front stabilizer bar disconnect are available on higher trims as standard equipment. The Land Cruiser also offers a few options for underbody protection.

There’s also the matter of ground clearance and there’s a decent bit here. The Land Cruiser boasts an approach angle of 31 degrees, departure angle of 22 degrees, breakover angle of 25 degrees, and ground clearance of up to 8.7 inches. Compared to the 200-Series Land Cruiser, it’s just short in some areas and better or nearly equal in others. I can’t say for sure because I found too many conflicting answers when researching this. Regardless, these are more than respectable specs.

Moving on to styling, it obviously has some similarities with the new GX which it shares a platform with. But it’s different enough to be its own thing. And there are some major styling differences depending on which trim you get. At launch there will be three grades – the Land Cruiser 1958, Land Cruiser, and Land Cruiser First Edition. The 1958 is a more basic off roader that includes all the standard features mentioned above but rocks throwback cloth upholstery (which unfortunately was not shown in the press kit, but trust me it looks rad), a slightly smaller center infotainment system, and a throwback face. Black plastic and round LED headlights dominate the 1958’s face.

Step up to the Land Cruiser and there’s more body-color on the face and squared off LED headlights for a more modern look. And the Land Cruiser First Edition combines the two with a body-color-ish face and the throwback round headlights. Regardless of the trim, it’s a boxy, rugged-looking, largely inoffensive design that I really can’t say anything negative about… besides that an all black plastic face isn’t my favorite design trend, but it sorta makes sense here. And long time readers will know that if I think something looks like shit, I’m not afraid to say it.

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser will be built in Japan and make the long trek across the Pacific to the US starting next spring. Pricing is expected to start in the mid $50,000 range. Toyota is targeting the Bronco, Wrangler, and Defender with this one. Considering the equipment it comes with as well as the hybrid powertrain and its more spacious cabin, it sure seems like a compelling offer.

[Source: Toyota]

Porsche 911 S/T

Porsche is coming out with a limited-edition 911 built just for their most hardcore resellers on BAT enthusiasts to celebrate 60 years of the Porsche 911. It’s called the 911 S/T. It’s basically a fancied up 911 GT3 Touring. Only 1,963 units are being built. And they’re all sold already.

Porsche says this exclusive anniversary model unites the strengths of the 911 GT3 Touring and the GT3 RS to deliver a unique combination of agility and driving dynamics. From what I can tell, this was done by obsessively cutting weight – as with the GT3 RS – while focusing more on pleasant journeys on public roads rather than a race track – as with the GT3 Touring. With its naturally-aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six and short-ratio manual transmission (even shorter than the 911 GT3’s gearing), it’s gonna be pleasant alright.

Weight reduction was achieved with the usual array of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Plastic body panels, carbon ceramic brakes, magnesium wheels, and lightweight glass, but they also removed the rear axle steering and developed a new lightweight clutch exclusively for the 911 S/T. In conjunction with a single-mass flywheel, the clutch reduces the weight of the rotating mass by 10.5 kg or 23.1 pounds. In total, the 911 S/T weighs 1,380 kg or 3,042 lbs, making it the lightest of the 992 generation thus far.

Further sealing its status as enthusiast bait is an optional Heritage Design Package which adds Shoreblue Metallic paint over Ceramica-painted wheels plus optional door numbers (0-99) and decorative foil. The Porsche logo and 911 S/T badge on the back of the car are finished in gold as well. The interior features cloth seat centers in Classic Cognac with black pinstripes, plus two-tone semi-aniline leather trim in the same color combo.

MSRP is listed as $290,000. One will probably be resold for double by the end of the year. But for those fortunate and brave enough to drive one as intended, they’ll probably have one of the best driving experiences you can get in any modern Porsche.

[Source: Porsche]

2024 Nissan Z Nismo

We were hoping this was coming the day Nissan confirmed the existence the new Z, and it’s finally arrived. And it’s already receiving a very lukewarm response. It goes on sale this fall for a yet-to-be confirmed price and seeks to unleash some of the Z’s performance in a sharp new package. For those who aren’t interested in modifying a Z on their own or maybe just want a better starting platform, the Nismo Z gives that factory-built tuner experience in a package that won’t piss off the neighbors. But a few interesting choices have seemingly pissed off enthusiasts on forums and social media already.

For starters, a nine-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, that’s despite a six-speed manual being standard on the normal Z. And from everything I’ve heard, both are fine transmissions. But an enthusiast-targeted specification is always going to be criticized if it doesn’t at least offer a manual. It doesn’t matter what else the Z Nismo offers, it’s already a dud for 90% of the internet and there’s no reason to get it over a GR Supra, another car they hate. Which is a shame because the rest of the Z Nismo looks pretty solid.

It uses the same twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 as the standard car but is tuned to deliver 420 horsepower (nice) and 384 lb.-ft. of torque, an improvement of 20 hp and 34 lb.-ft. over stock. This was achieved through better cooling, revised electronic wastegate control for increased boost and turbine speed, and an independent ignition spark timing strategy inspired by the Nismo GT-R. The nine-speed automatic has its own upgrades, including a revised clutch pack for faster shifting, significantly quicker downshifts (by about half a second) over stock, more aggressive launch control, and a more aggressive Sport+ drive mode that aims to be responsive enough for track driving that you don’t need to use the paddles (though you still can of course).

Nismo engineers also revised every element of the suspension for better precision, predictability, and cornering grip. They gave it unique stabilizer bars, a stiffer spring rate, and larger, retuned dampers. The Nismo Z rides on lightweight, Nismo-specific RAYS 19″ wheels in gloss black wrapped in Dunlop SP SPORT MAXX GT600 tires. Chassis stiffness is also improved through additional front, rear, and rear underfloor bracing, stiffer suspension bushings all around, and a stiffer steering rack mounting. Brakes have also been beefed up with rotors measuring 15″ front and 13.8″ rear, along with a more track-capable brake pad compound. And making it look the part is a Nismo-specific aero package with the classic red trim highlights. It’s just enough for it to stand out to an enthusiast but not enough to attract the wrong kind of attention.

Will the Nismo Z help rekindle some of the excitement Nissan used to be known for? Or will it never be able to recover from the damaged reputation amongst the forums and suffer an agonizing sales defeat? Either way, it looks like a fun time to me.

[Source: Nissan]

What’s your news for the week?

hooniverse news whats your naws

So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

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16 responses to “The News for August 4th, 2023”

  1. Scoutdude Avatar

    For those that missed my late post last weekend a quick recap. I brought home my “dream” car last weekend a 2004 Ford Thunderbird in Merlot with the Light Sand interior accent package, which also gave it a sand colored top. So far so good, I’m very happy with it. Lots of reviews from back in the day are a bit down on it since it isn’t a “sports car” and is really a “grand touring car”. I find it quite nimble and responsive considering its weight, ~3800lbs.

    Already looking for some upgrades in some factory style floor mats, use of the later key with the intergrated remote, and adding a Secruicode key pad. For those that don’t know Ford started putting key pads on Lincolns in the 70’s so you can unlock or lock the car w/o keys. It eventually filtered down through most of their cars. However a few were left out like the Econoline, Mustang and Thunderbird. For those used to it and upset that it wasn’t available Ford came up with a key pad that is really a remote that you stick on the car. As mentioned the Econoline didn’t have that available and it was something that I wanted for that vehicle. So several years ago I purchased one and stuck it on. It worked great until the battery died.

    Well Ford claims the battery is not replaceable but at least one person on the internet said they were successful in replacing the battery. Since it didn’t work anyway I pulled it off and looked at how it was put together. Turns out it just snaps together and the silicone button sheet also serves as the seal. Unfortunately it has 12 little retainers spaced around the perimeter. You need to release at least 5 or 6 to get it open. Not have that many hands I figured out I could lift the little tab and insert a toothpick to keep it released. Did that down one side and then lifted the one on one of the ends and I was in. Turns out the battery is the one Ford used in all their remotes from that era and it slides into a holder. Replaced that battery and the buttons now lit up when pressed. Snapped it all back together, found the card with the original code and it worked! It did loose the personal code that I had set so that was reprogramed, the old tape removed and it is back in business. So I’m going to order one up for the T-bird. Now most people stick them on the door right above or below the handle but on the T-bird the sheet metal has too much curve. Plus the fact is that set up collected a bunch of grime under the edges on the Econoline, plus I didn’t want the clunky looks of the add-on version. So before I stuck the one I have back on the Econoline I tried it on a couple of locations on the T-bird. I’ve settled on the underside of the license plate recess. That is the location of the factory trunk release button on my Lincoln so why not. In fact on the T-bird since the plate recess is higher I won’t have to bend down like the Lincoln. The problem is that it will need to be done by feel. As delevered the device has a bezel around it, that collects junk and is flush with the top of the buttons. Well that is mainly decorative and actually snaps off easily. With it off the buttons stick up and it is going to be easy to tell which button is which. I think I’m going to do a personal code on it that uses mainly the end buttons to make it even easier. It is not like most people will even know it is there so I’m not worried about someone figuring out the code.

    Also a repeat of last weeks news is that after I got home with my new toy my son and I went to the Ford dealer where we purchased the wife’s car and he ordered himself up a Lighting. So this week he has been reading the online version of the owners manual from cover to cover (wonder where he got that from) and has been discussing what the first road trip in it should be. I told him he should take me and his mother to Disneyland and we can sit in the back, kick the seat and scream out “are we there yet”, “She’s looking at me”, “He touched me” and of course just as soon as we get back on the road “I have to pee”. He didn’t find that too humorous. Fact is it was his sister that was the one that was kicking seats and generally being difficult.

    1. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      Those retro Thunderbirds are cool and I don’t care what anyone says.

      1. Scoutdude Avatar

        Thanks, a lot of “car” people rag on them but “real” people seem to like them. On my way to get gas after completing the deal a early 20’s female rolled up beside me in her grey SUV and was definitely checking out the car, seems like she was trying to figure out what it was. At the next light a 40 something man drove by slowly checking it out and nodding his head. It is not a sports car and it wasn’t meant to be.

        1. Salguod Avatar

          Sounds like a great car. The Baby Birds they were modeled after weren’t sports cars either, so I’m not sure why people expected the new one to be a sports car.

          Despite being a Tbird guy, I never really liked the retro birds when they were new, but they’ve grown on me over time.

  2. Salguod Avatar

    I feel like it’s been a long time since I had car news to share. I finally got my bathroom remodel done this spring and have gotten caught up with a few car projects.

    My kid’s Protege needed a starter, so that was finished. Still impressed with how this little crap can still reliably gets the job done.

    The Tundra finally got its front shocks and springs replaced. The old ones were mismatched with the wrong mounting hardware. While in there I discovered 2 broken stabilizer links, worn brake pads, 2 frozen calipers and a very leaky steering rack. All but the rack were taken care of.

    I diagnosed the Boxster’s no crank as a loose signal wire on the starter, but also determined that the starter wasn’t up to the task, especially when the engine was hot. So, it got a new starter too. In the process, I missed reconnecting a vacuum line and spent a week or two chasing a miss in cylinders 4, 5 and 6. Got that fixed only to have the no crank condition return this week. It’s trying to convince me that driving old, interesting cars is a bad idea. I’m not buying it. 😂

    I’ve driven the Thunderbird once this year before noticing a leaking fuel pump.

    1. Scoutdude Avatar

      I know what you mean, seems like it never ends. I assume the Tundra now sits level in the front?

      1. Salguod Avatar

        Yes, it seems to. It wasn’t a broken spring as I suspected, but both lower shock bushings were collapsed and the shocks were different brands and slightly different designs, particularly in the spring perch. I think it was a combination of all of that. The lower shock bolts were also M12s, obviously not factory and the threads were in rough shape, so I bought new ones from the dealer. Turns out the factory bolts are M14s.

        The stuff with the Boxster is kind of par for the course in one sense, but it’s been laid up more than my other beaters. I still haven’t put the front struts on and really been able to enjoy its full potential. It’ll get there.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    I prefer the 1958 look to the more LEGO-like face, but, first and foremost, I’m happy boxy is back because:

  4. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    nismo Z being auto only is baffling. the whole killer app for the Z was that it’s a manual.

    got a ride in my buddy’s brand new GR 86. great car! hews to old school sports car principles like the Z, but for less cost. nicer than the previous 86, which i drove once and also enjoyed.

    i was out of town for a few weeks and didn’t make progress on my projects. i did order and receive a ton of parts for the turbodiesel engine soon to go into my MB 190D. parts for weird old cars are getting scarce, but there’s a healthy aftermarket cottage industry for MB diesels. very grassroots. got the cylinder head cleaned and may install it this weekend.

    a few weeks ago i finally got the notification that Flyin Miata’s turbo kit was in stock. i immediately spent more money on it than i did on the miata itself, five years ago, and it’s waiting in storage for when the mercedes is done. i’m now several thousand dollars into engines and parts that i had not planned on buying before two months ago, so i’m abandoning my plan to buy one normal reliable honda accord-type thing. i’m betting the two cars i will have left should be pretty reliable.

    famous last words, i know. combined age 68 years. it goes up to 102 if you include the Civic wagon i plan to sell this month. i’m in too deep.

    1. salguod Avatar

      I have been betting that a 22 year old 310K truck plus a 25 year old 147K mile Porsche is fine because they both can’t be broken at the same time, right? Doesn’t help that the next backup is a 21 year old 165K mile Protege or if I’m really desperate, a 150K mile 63 year old Thunderbird.

      There was a time this summer where only 1 of my 5 cars was working. Right now I’m at 3. 😀

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        haha! i bet that Protege will hold the fort down though.

  5. Mike D Avatar
    Mike D

    I bought a new car, an Acura Integra with stick in Red with black interior. In blue with with red interior is unfortunately not a thing right now. Traded in a Mazda6. A strange thing to do, but for me its better than 2 cars, which would have happened if I bought a Miata Club RF, 2019. I just can’t park all that where I’m living.

    I also test drove a BRZ with automatic. It felt uninspiring. The wait was going to be a long time for a manual.

    I didn’t want to spend the money on an Integra Type S. I did what I did and it works well for me.

    1. wunno sev Avatar
      wunno sev

      you are doing god’s work, my friend. i really like the look of that new integra, and buying the stick is a bold move.

    2. Salguod Avatar

      No blue with red is odd since Acura will sell you a blue TLX A-Spec with a red interior. That’s the spec I’d want too.

      Sounds like a great car. I really like the new Integra.

    3. Greg Kachadurian Avatar
      Greg Kachadurian

      Congrats. Blue over red would’ve been really cool but I love their red too. If I had a need for a car like that, an Integra would be high on my list. I just wish the manual was available on lower trims too.

  6. usps tracking Avatar

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