The annual SEMA event, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, showcases the latest innovations and developments in the American automotive industry, and, naturally, we focused on the overland-related vehicles and products featured.
This year, Toyota, Ford, and Lexus took center stage, introducing a range of vehicles and concepts that left a lasting impression. Ford and Toyota hit the ground running in Vegas, with the Ford F-Series winning the Full-size Truck of the Year, while the Mid-size Truck of the Year title went to the Toyota Tacoma, solidifying its status as a standout in its class. The Ford Bronco emerged as the recipient of the 4×4/SUV of the Year award, a testament to its enduring appeal. Lexus, the Toyota Flagship brand, had created a buzz earlier in 2023 with the launch of the 2024 Lexus GX550 Overtrail, which was on display at the show in full overland regalia.
Lexus Makes Its Mark
Lexus, always a class act, showcased a total of six vehicles; these included representatives from all generations of the GX, a 2022 LX 600, and the latest additions to the Lexus Associated Accessory Product (AAP) program.
The 2024 Lexus GX 550 Overtrail+ AAP Build stood out with its distinctive bi-tone Earth and Black exterior. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.4-liter V6 engine and a 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission, it offered enhanced performance with 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. Equipped with 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires and 18-inch wheels, it featured genuine Lexus-badged rock rails, black badging, an onboard tire compressor, a Prinsu roof rack, Pelican cargo cases, Prinsu rear window accessory panels, and a Prinsu ladder. It was also equipped for off-road recovery with Rotopax containers, a DMOS Delta shovel, and ARB TRED Pro recovery boards.
Another standout was the 2022 Lexus GX 460 Premium AAP Build, featuring a matte Yellow Saffron body wrap. This GX was equipped with 34-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires and 18-inch wheels, making it ready for off-road adventures. Additional features included CBI Offroad rock sliders, a full skid plate, a Kammok Outpost overland hammock stand, a 10-foot long Kammok Roo double hammock, and a 63-quart ARB Elements weatherproof fridge/freezer. The vehicle also had an ARB 12-volt portable air compressor, Weekender recovery kit, TRED Pro recovery boards, and a Prinsu rear window accessory panel.
The 2022 Lexus LX 600 Premium AAP Build featured a custom Aquamarine body wrap and an appearance package with matte-gray elements. Powered by a high-output 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo engine, it was equipped with 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires and 18-inch wheels. This LX 600 was geared for outdoor excursions, featuring a Kammok Crosswing car awning, a Yakima Exo OpenRange deluxe camp kitchen bundle, and a Yakima Exo SwingBase for transporting the kitchen. It also boasted a Yakima SupDawg rooftop stand-up paddleboard and surfboard mount on a Prinsu roof rack.
In addition to these builds, three unique owner builds celebrated the GX’s legacy in the Lexus lineup and contributed to the foundation for the all-new 2024 Lexus GX 550. These included a 2008 and 2009 Lexus GX 470 and a 2010 Lexus GX 460, serving as a testament to the enduring appeal of the GX series.
Ford Performance’s Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Packages
Ford Performance made waves with the introduction of its off-road vehicle (ORV) packages, designed to offer comprehensive solutions for enhancing the off-roading capabilities of Ford trucks and SUVs. The Ford Performance Off-Road Ranger concept represents Ford’s commitment to meeting the needs of the overlanding community. This package is tailor-made for the 2024 Ranger XLT and Lariat models equipped with four-wheel drive, elevating their capabilities with the inclusion of an ARB overland suspension kit. Additionally, ARB provides new front and rear bumpers with added recovery points, enhancing functionality and aesthetics. Not to be overlooked, the package includes essential features like an onboard air compressor, Solis lights, and a 47-quart refrigerator/freezer.
Another highlight is the Bronco Ford Performance ORV concept package, a fusion of style and functionality. This package is compatible with a range of Bronco models, including Base, Big Bend, Black Diamond, or Outer Banks, featuring the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine and available in both automatic and manual transmissions. It includes a 2-inch lift achieved through a Bilstein suspension system, 17-inch white wheels, and 35-inch tires for an imposing presence. What sets this package apart is its unique software calibration for the 2.3-liter engine. Ford Performance goes the extra mile by offering additional options for the ORV package, such as a high-clearance Borla cat-back exhaust, an ARB jack and mount, and an underhood compressor.
Toyota’s Grand Return
Toyota made an impressive resurgence at the SEMA Show this year, aligning perfectly with the event theme, Track or Trail, Your Thrill Awaits. This marked Toyota’s most substantial presence at SEMA to date. Visitors were treated to a lineup of 19 vehicles, encompassing unique specialty builds, vehicles accessorized through the Associated Accessories Program (AAP), the all-new Land Cruiser, the latest Tacoma, the GR Family of special edition vehicles, and various production cars. Enthusiasts of GR, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter models had many reasons to celebrate.
Among the standout specialty builds that drew attention was the FJ Bruiser; this concept paid homage to the Land Cruiser’s rich heritage. It started as a 1966 FJ45 pickup, which Toyota transformed into an off-road powerhouse capable of conquering the most challenging terrains worldwide.
The iconic 1967 FJ45 Land Cruiser Wagon, known as the “Retro Cruiser,” originally created by the Rod Millen Group, returned to inspire a new generation of Land Cruiser enthusiasts after nearly 25 years. Toyota breathed new life into this legendary vehicle, showcasing it at their SEMA exhibit.
Drawing inspiration from the world of superheroes, this Tacoma builds elevated the award-winning truck (SEMA Mid-size Truck of the Year) to new heights. Featuring a graphic wrap courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures’ design team and enhanced capabilities from Toyota’s Calty Design Studio and Special Parts and Accessories Development (SPAD) division, it embodied the transformation from hero to superhero, reminiscent of Jaime Reyes’ transition into Blue Beetle.
We are looking forward to what all three brands bring to SEMA in 2024 and suspect that Toyota will make some waves with electric and hydrogen technology, which were underrepresented this year.
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