Over the past decade or so, Toyota has built up an SUV empire, ranging from the RAV4 to the Sequoia and the FJ Cruiser to the Lexus RX450h, with everything in between. But its flagship sport-ute has been on the market – all but completely untouched – for nine years now. And even for trucks that's a long life-cycle. While the Land Cruiser (and its luxury sister the Lexus LX) still won't be getting the top-to-bottom overhaul it so richly deserves, it is getting what will probably amount to a stop-gap update in 2008.

The biggest change is tipped to come under the hood. In foreign markets the Japanese-produced Land Cruiser is offered with a wide range of engines, but in the United States there's only one powerplant offered in both the Toyota and Lexus versions. That 4.7-liter V8 is expected to be ditched for the new 5.7-liter VVT-I V8 from the new Toyota Tundra pick-up truck, complete with Toyota's new six-speed automatic.

Following random shots here and there, more mules were spotted while testing in southern Europe. It'd be fairly safe to say that the styling won't be a radical departure by any stretch of the imagination, just an update on the theme people have come to recognize as the Land Cruiser. That shouldn't stop Toyota from significantly upgrading the interior, though.

With so many SUVs on offer, we can't imagine Toyota sells that many Land Cruisers worldwide, certainly not in the American market. But like other rugged, iconic SUVs (the Mercedes G-Wagon and Land Rover Defender come to mind), they continue to produce it for those who demand nothing less – and nothing more.

[Source: Truck Trend via eGM CarTech]