For more than 60 years the Toyota Land Cruiser has conquered every corner of the earth and covered the world’s harshest and most demanding terrain without missing a beat. We consider it to have a world class resume as an off-roader, however the current model comes across as more luxurious than adventurous. Think more driving to the top of the mountain and departing your Land Cruiser in a suit to attend the ball. Still, this large multi-row SUV continues to be sturdily built and hugely capable. While it is not as opulent as its corporate counterpart, the Lexus LX, the Land Cruiser has been outfitted with a plethora of upscale features in an attempt to justify its sticker price at over $85,000 ($90,141 including delivery was our loaner sticker price). Toyota introduced the current-generation Land Cruiser over a decade ago for the 2008 model year and it received a midcycle face-lift for 2016. The Toyota Land Cruiser employs a body-on-frame construction and paired with its world class suspension setup it is virtually unmatched in its class compared to many of its competitors which are luxury-focused crossovers.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Land Cruiser is heavy, however the standard 381-hp and 401 lb-ft of torque V-8 engine pushes her along easily. According to Toyota, 90% of peak torque is available at 2,200 rpm, this comes in most handy when driving at low speeds and exploring off-road terrain. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and while it is smooth it is not particularly fuel efficient, 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. Full-time four-wheel drive is standard and the ride quality is incredibly smooth and delivers very comfortable driving dynamics through the light steering. We are incredibly impressed by the trail-ready equipment such as a two-speed transfer case and a locking center differential. The Land Cruiser lacks the prestige of its equally expensive counterparts, but it is a lot more capable than most of them out in the trails which is hugely important for those few buyers who will actually venture there. The Land Cruiser is also capable of towing up to 8100 pounds, which is substantial but still slightly lower than some rivals, such as the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.
As far as the Land Cruiser’s cabin is concerned, it’s all about the execution, and there’s an impressive attention to detail at play. While the cabin isn’t as visually opulent as that of rivals such as the Mercedes GLS-class, it’s home to top-rate materials. The build quality is excellent, and knobs and switches move with a weightiness that conveys quality. The front row provides comfortable accommodations and commanding sightlines. There’s lots of room in the second row, but the third row is best suited for kids. With the standard eight-person seating setup, the Land Cruiser provides 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 41 cubic feet behind the second. Another handy feature is unlike most SUVs, which use a single liftgate, the Land Cruiser has a clamshell design where the top and bottom portions lift and fold.
The Land Cruiser comes fully loaded with a bevy of appealing tech features. Standard Bluetooth connectivity facilitates hands-free phone conversations when you’re behind the wheel, although it still lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All models come with wireless device charging and an integrated navigation system with a 9.0-inch touchscreen. Satellite radio is standard, as well as a 14-speaker JBL sound system. On the options list, there’s a rear-seat entertainment system with a pair of wireless headphones and two 11.6-inch display screens which was included on our loan vehicle. One of our favorite features of the Land Cruiser is the center-console that has a cooler box that keeps your beverages cold.
The Land Cruiser also comes equipped with a host of advanced driving aids, including: Forward collision mitigation, Lane departure warning, Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, Adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree camera system for tight parking situations.
The Land Cruiser falls to more modern, more compromised competitors in terms of dynamics, efficiency, and interior packaging, but this Toyota offers something else. If you want a strong dose of old-school cool and a rig capable of taking you just about anywhere, the Land Cruiser is a no-brainer. No vehicle in the Toyota lineup has more history than the Land Cruiser which has been built by the automaker as its off-road flagship since it was developed for the Korean War in the early 1950s. Although dimensionally smaller than the Sequoia, the Land Cruiser’s heritage and off-road prowess justify its title as the most expensive Toyota sold in North America. However sadly the Land Cruiser will not return for the 2022 model year but could re-emerge in the future with a more modern design, better efficiency, updated technology, and a more luxurious cabin. The vehicle is certainly leaving as the most refined Land Cruiser ever but we can’t want to see it reemerge in the future.
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