Toyota engineers used current LandCruiser 200 Series bodywork to hide the underpinnings of the first all-new model in 14 years. Here’s how they did it.

The 2022 Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series has been hiding in plain sight for at least the last five years, disguised under the bodywork of the current generation Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series.

Footage released by Toyota overnight during the official unveiling of the first new LandCruiser in 14 years shows a number of prototype test vehicles.

The earliest test vehicles – known as ‘mules’ in the industry as they are cobbled together with various preliminary components – were hidden under the bodywork of current model LandCruiser 200 Series (below).

Given the dimensions bumper to bumper – and the wheelbase – are similar between the two, Toyota was able to test the new-generation LandCruiser in various real-world conditions without the fear of the car being caught on camera by spy photographers.

Most of the early development “proof of concept” work – in particular suspension geometry, traction control systems, driveline, and V6 diesel and petrol engines – was likely done with a number of test mules hidden beneath LandCruiser 200 Series bodies.

However, eventually, Toyota engineers must test the vehicle once all the correct pieces are together, which is where the heavy camouflage comes in.

Once the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series prototypes reached a more complete stage, it appears the testing was primarily done inside secure Toyota testing facilities.

Even with the heavy camouflage, it was possible to see hints of the more bold horizontal grille and headlight design theme.

Toyota was able to do much of its testing in plain sight, however, thanks to the similar proportions between the new and the old model.

Above: A Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series body cloaks the underpinnings of the new Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series during early development.

It is unclear how many prototypes Toyota built for the new LandCruiser 300 Series, but it’s not uncommon for manufacturers to build anywhere from 200 to 500 test vehicles – all of which need to be crushed so prototype parts don’t inadvertently end up in public circulation as spare parts.

For our full story on the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series click here.