Peter Stevens, Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art when the undersigned was there Vehicle design lesson, he once said the legendary words in one of his lessons: “If you want to go into the outback, take a Land Rover – and if you also want to go home, take a Land Cruiser“.
Stevens – known for designing the McLaren F1 car, among other things – despite his very British roots, has made no secret of the famous build quality of the Toyota 4×4. The Land Cruiser has become a true icon thanks to its powerful engineering.
In light of this, it must be an honor for us to be able to design a new Land Cruiser model, because the range bearing this name is distinctive and has an iconic design heritage. Setting the right direction for the next generation must also be as confrontational as it is complex.
The design team focused on it Form follows functionprinciple and chose a disciplined and original design style, giving the design a functional character. Horizontal lines extend back along the bodywork, providing a feeling of strength and solidity, while a lowered horizontal beltline gives the driver better all-round and off-road visibility and improves passenger visibility.
The latest iteration of Toyota 4×4 is undoubtedly a simple-looking Land Cruiser 250, but it also stands strong, with timeless authenticity, on its wheels.
I looked at classic Land Cruiser models
Excess form was removed and simplicity was sought. Obviously, for grand gestures and relative statement, we looked to classic Land Cruiser models. As we get closer, even the smallest details have been lovingly designed – Japanese style. The graphic elements in the front bumper, light units and fender skirts are almost isolated islands.
The front features a powerful rectangular grille, triple-beam headlights and a lowered hood for improved forward visibility. The muscular wheel arches with beveled edges and multiple faces all around, extending slightly into the body, appear powerful and massive. The back has a simple taillight signature.
Such inserts, graphic elements and other details ensure that customers can customize their car according to their own desires. The design concept – a modern interpretation of an ancient legend – is clearly inspired not only aesthetically, but also conceptually by the new Land Rover Defender. Obviously, the vehicle’s particular adaptability plays a role. All the graphic surfaces around the Defender can be customized – the grille, roof, bumper inserts, side air vent, wheels, fender skirts, A-pillar inserts and the logoed element on the C-pillar. This allows the character of the Defender to be significantly changed. From a sympathetic SUV with a white roof and white wheels, to a powerful all-terrain vehicle in black as you can see below.
Customized: Space for customers’ own ideas
Rolls-Royce very well calls for adaptability to be taken into account during the “bespoke” design process. For example, during early design ideas, the fact that customers can customize different interior and exterior design elements according to their own ideas is taken into account. In their case, especially regarding the interior, there are wood and leather elements in the door panels and dashboard.
There are no walnut dashboards and door panels on Toyota, but there are factory options such as decals, matching or contrasting colors and materials. This looks good and there is a good margin on it too. The aftermarket can also benefit from this, creating a strong relationship between car and owner – and Toyota has already played this game very successfully with the GT86.
Land Cruiser has become a true icon as a name and model, thanks to its robust engineering. The design of this new Land Cruiser confirms that it is flawless and with a great deal of taste. With this Land Cruiser, you can easily go to remote areas. What’s more, you can now go home in style.
Through his automotive design studio, Niels van Rooij focuses on building vehicles and designs, among others, the Model SB, Adventum Coupe, Silver Specter Shooting Brake, Breadvan Hommage and Daytona Shooting Brake Hommage. He is also co-owner of Heritage Customs, which carries out the finishing work on the new Land Rover Defender.
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