We’ve had our Toyota Land Cruiser for about 10 years. It has almost 100,000 miles on it. It is our primary vehicle for camping, skiing, school field trips, and anything else that requires carrying a lot of people and cargo. For years, we simply rented an SUV whenever we needed one. This gave us a chance to drive a wide variety of SUVs before purchasing one. Then our oldest daughter started kindergarten, and we decided it was time to get our own SUV to haul around kids, and their stuff.
Having driven many SUVs, we already knew what we liked and didn’t like about many vehicles. Most of the driving would be on road, particularly driving the kids on field trips. So we wanted something capable of carrying 8 people (7 passengers) in reasonable comfort. We wanted a vehicle that would drive more like a car, rather than feeling like we were driving a truck. But, we also wanted something capable of taking us up into the mountains for skiing and camping.
Finding a comfortable on road vehicle, with good off road capabilities, was where the Land Cruiser fit best. Read on to get a more detailed review.
Toyota Land Cruiser Models and Overview
Discussing the Land Cruiser models is very easy. The Toyota Land Cruiser comes in one model. It is a 5.7L V8, 4WD sport utility vehicle. If you are looking for something a little more luxurious, you can also get a Lexus version of the vehicle, the Lexus LX570.
Now that the easy part is over, let’s look at specific features and specifications.
Features and Specifications
Toyota even makes deciding on Land Cruiser features quite simple. Basically, almost everything comes as standard equipment. The engine is a 5.7-liter, DOHC, 32-valve, EFI V8. It produces 381 horsepower at 5600 rpm, and 401 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm. It is capable of carrying 8 people (i.e., 7 passengers) with 3 rows of seating. Both the second and third row of seat can be stowed away for additional cargo carrying space. It has a 24.6 gal. fuel tank, capable of traveling over 400 highway miles on a single tank of gas.
The Land Cruiser has a curb weight of 5688 lbs. and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 7275 lbs. The new V8 motor is capable of towing up to 8500 lbs. There is also lots of internal cargo carrying area. You can carry 16.1 cu. ft. of cargo behind the rear seats. If you fold up the rear seats you get 43 cu. ft. of cargo space. Lastly, if you also fold up the middle row of seats you get 81.7 cu. ft. of cargo space.
The Land Cruiser has an electronically controlled 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, sequential shift mode and uphill/downhill logic. It has Active Traction Control and Dynamic Stability Control. Two innovative features on the Land Cruiser are the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and the Crawl Control.
The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) technology is not engaged during normal road driving. It activates when it detects a wheel dropping into a hole, or going over a rock, such as in off road driving. This is a fully mechanical system that optimally adjusts front and rear stabilizers based on terrain. It disengages the stabilizer bars allowing each wheel’s suspension to move independently from the others, providing optimal traction over rough ground and large rocks.
The Crawl Control can be consider a cruise control for driving very rough terrain. There are 3 settings for crawl control, that roughly equate to a speed of 1, 2 or 3 miles per hour. The vehicle automatically controls acceleration and braking to maintain this speed over very rough or sketchy terrain. This leaves the driving to concentrate solely on steering the vehicle.
The Land Cruiser does have a single option package. This includes the Navigation System, rear-seat DVD entertainment system, among other things. For specific details on Land Cruiser features and specifications, see the Toyota Land Cruiser web site: http://www.toyota.com/landcruiser/features.html
After over 10 years of driving a Land Cruiser, do I have any complaints? Well, you can’t have everything. The large, comfortable interior is only possible in a large vehicle. And, the Land Cruiser’s size can become very apparent on narrow country roads, or in parking lots designed for compact cars. Of course, with the size and weight of the Land Cruiser, don’t expect great gas mileage. Expect gas mileage in the low teens in the city, and high teens on the highway. Neither of these are a surprise.
Land Cruiser versus Land Rover
The one vehicle that I would consider as an alternative to the Land Cruiser is the Land Rover. It is a very capable, and great looking vehicle. The following review clearly shows how close these two vehicles are in capability, particularly for off road driving.
In the end, the Land Cruiser won for us for two reasons. First, it is less expensive than the Land Rover. But even more important, the Land Cruiser just seemed more like the vehicle we could throw kids, camping gear or ski equipment in the back, and worry less about damaging the vehicle. The Land Rover seemed a little “Preppy” for our purpose.
Is the Land Cruiser Right for You?
After 10 years with the Land Cruiser, I’ve formed a pretty strong opinion about what I like, and don’t like, about the Land Cruiser. Given what we wanted in an SUV, I still don’t know of another vehicle that would better meet our needs. If you are looking for an SUV capable of carrying 7 passengers in comfort, drive several hundred miles on the highway, pack a lot of camping or skiing gear, pull a boat trailer, and take off road with relative ease and comfort, the Land Cruiser is a good choice.
If you want more information about the Toyota Land Cruiser, check out the Toyota web site: http://www.toyota.com/landcruiser/
review: Truck Reviews