By on December 14, 2007

2008_land_cruiser_06.jpgIn the movie “Out of Africa,” Denys Finch-Hatton’s 1923 International Harvester stalls on an open savannah amidst a herd of seriously cranky water buffalo. After a few nervous minutes tinkering with the engine, Denys tells Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) to manually crank the engine. It explodes to life, and they continue their illicit journey into cinematic history. Substitute a Canon DSLR for Blixen’s .416 Rigby, and in my mind, I’m there. As for the Harvester… what about an all-new 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser?

Sticking with the cinematic theme, the new Land Cruiser’s sheetmetal is still as tight and creaseless as a Hollywood actress’ Botox-pickled brow. Subtle fender bulges give way to doors as expansive and flat as the Serengeti itself. The big rig’s headlights and turn signals are integrated into massive light clusters, flanking a supersized grille, sporting the now familiar Schick shtick. The sidelights’ silhouette now tapers sportingly; a single failed attempt to ameliorate the off-roader’s overall blockishness.

2008_land_cruiser_603.jpgIn sum, the new Land Cruiser looks thoroughly modern and endlessly generic: a Rav4 writ large. Once again, the casual observer could be forgiven for confusing the pride of Aichi for any one of America’s current crop of increasingly milquetoast motorized Mastodons. Given the ongoing antipathy towards genuine body-on-frame SUVs in some quarters, it may be a welcome case of hiding in plain site.

Inside, plain is the word. While the Land Cruiser’s helm offers a suitably majestic view of the landscape, the dashboard geography is a Toyota parts’ bin job; a throw it against the wall and see what sticks farrago of cowled gauges, glove aversive buttons, shiny knobs, LCD displays and ugly vents. Buttons under and behind the steering wheel? A single knob stuck on the side of the center stack? The Land Cruiser’s cabin is more rock fall than rock garden.

2008_land_cruiser_12.jpgStrange to say, there is comfort to be found in the stiff though not brittle plastic adorning nearly every surface. It serves notice that the obviously not a fashion icon Land Cruiser was designed for long-haul duty in harsh climes, where cleanliness is nowhere near godliness. Even minor features such as the second row seat flip-out cup holders feel ready for half a million miles of hardscrabble living. Still, a starter button in an SUV?

The new, slightly larger Land Cruiser has enough cargo capacity for a month in the veld. For supermarket safaris, the second row offers the go-along gang plenty of leg room– more than the Cruiser’s [in name only] 4Runner. As is the way of such things, the Cruiser’s third-row fold down jump seats are best reserved for “time outs” or rewarded as “time served.”

2008_land_cruiser_50.jpgThe Land Cruiser is powered by the same luscious 5.7-liter V8 introduced in the new Tundra full-size pickup. Mated to a quick-witted six-speed transmission, stumping-up 381hp and 401 ft. lbs. worth of “I’m an SUV, get me out of here” torque, it’s Cruiser by name, cruiser by nature. Thirteen mpg city fuel economy may leave the environmentally conscious gasping for breath, but the Cruiser’s mighty mill is never caught short of puff. Entering, exiting or overtaking on the highway is epically effortless.

Through the corners… forget it. Keeping the 74” tall 5690 lbs. SUV plumb is more than the stabilizer bar-equipped coil springs suspension configuration can manage. At least the motions are predictable and relatively free of bounce and rebound.

2008_land_cruiser_45.jpgThe Land Cruiser is newly bestowed with Lexus’ trick Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). Interconnecting hydraulic cylinders attached to the front and rear stabilizer bars respond to unequal wheel loading to facilitate greater articulation, keeping the wheels in contact with an uneven surface. The 200 Series also gets Crawl Control; it applies throttle and brakes to maintain uniform low speed suitable for the roughest roads. Innovative, but isn’t that what a driver’s for?

The new Land Cruiser’s off-road electronic arsenal is awesome, but truly adventurous souls won’t be impressed. Toyota’s reliability rep aside, fixing software glitches in the kind of places where you would really need the off-road gizmos is an impossibility. (That Harvester was ratty, but mechanically malleable.) And if you’re not using the Land Cruiser off-road, why not opt for the cheaper, more luxurious Toyota Sequoia? All of which leaves the technologically triumphant Land Cruiser in the middle of nowhere.

2008_land_cruiser_08.jpgAnd very expensive real estate it is too. My gas-guzzling test model rang-in at a whopping $79,143, including a $5K “market adjustment.” Demand outstripping supply? Not for long, Mr. Bond. There are only so many people willing to fork-out that kind of cash for capability they don’t need, from a brand (and an interior) with a decidedly downmarket demeanor. Economic conditions forced Karen Blixen to sell her coffee farm in British East Africa. Economics will take the wind out of the sales of Toyota’s bigger, better prairie schooner.

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91 Comments on “2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Review...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    80K for this? After your done with taxes and registration your looking at 85 easily.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Perhaps a stout ride for the nanny to do errands on wintry days. But a Lexus badge would have a lot more impact at the middle school pickup lane.

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    That’s a lot of money for a Tahoe.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    OK. I give up. Why? What earthly need does this thing possibly serve? Is Toyota just taunting us? Who really won the Second World War?

  • avatar

    WCM, does the steering wheel telescope? Does it adjust height? It looks a little low in those glam shots.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    That price is incredible, even without the “market adjustment” it has to be the most expensive Toyota ever-by far. I wonder how much the Lexus version is going to cost. Why buy this over a Range Rover?

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Samir, yes and yes.

  • avatar
    lewissalem

    Oops! The Lexus LX470 completely loaded goes for $69,865.00. I know, thats the ’07 but still.

  • avatar
    Ashy Larry

    I can think of a lot of fun, equally capable cars I could buy for $80k — hell, for 50-60% of that price you get an equally capable SUV plus a fun car to make up for the lack of driving excitement. An LR3 plus a GTI? A Range Rover (which will have 57 times more luxury)? A used Defender plus a Mini Cooper S?

  • avatar
    SWA737

    The farthest off road 99.9% of these will ever get is hopping over the speed bumps in the Neiman Marcus parking lot.

  • avatar
    ash78

    And the Phaeton failed?

    This is far more a stretch for the brand, IMHO. If not for the off-road/touring legacy of the name, I don’t see how it would even be feasible. I guess Lexus will have to tart it up quite a bit to command whatever premium they’re hoping to eke from their version.

  • avatar

    Personally I'd love to own one.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    If you lived in Alaska and have the money you might begin to understand the appeal of this vehicle. In its class the Land Cruiser is basically KING! Yes in theory a Range Rover should be just as good or better but the reality is a RR is a extremely unreliable over-priced POS that is better left in the city close to tow trucks and service stations.

    Yes it is expensive but if I needed this type of vehicle and could afford a LC or LX570 buying one would be a no-brainer. Toyota is not going to have a problem selling these things and they will continue to command a premium in the future. Unlike GM I doubt Toyota is planning to build 500,000 of these things and will only offer up a limited amount for sale in the USA. This is specialtiy vehicle with limited appeal but there are enough LC die-hards out there to make this a profitable product in the Toyota portfolio.

  • avatar
    speedbrakes

    Somebody forgot to tell Toyota that the home equity piggy bank days are over. For my 80k I’ll put a new Pilot and a slightly used Cayman S in my garage.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    To me, these things (and the RR Sport, and the Lexus) scream subtle class, not “Look at me”. A new take on classic design lines. Sadly, most never see anything but pavement, and 13 mpg is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Scott

    Wow. I could fill my driveway with 5 copies of my daily driver for that price. And afford to rent a truck to do the amount of off-road driving the average Lot Coaster driver does, when I need to (i.e., never).

  • avatar
    jpc0067

    There was not a thing in the world wrong with the last Land Cruiser, was there? I hope the last generation lives on in the second/third world, and this ugly shopping cart is U.S. only.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Toyota told me that the upcoming LX570 will cost about $12K more than the ’08 Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I don’t think people here actually understand or except the demographics for the Land Cruiser. This IS a high-end vehicle that is generally purchsed by folk with high incomes. In the USA it really does not appeal to the Tahoe crowd. Most people that come from other parts of the world truly understand the mystic and appeal of this vehicle. It is considered to be legendary for it unstoppable off-road performance and rock-solid reliability. Go to places like Iceland, Norway, Africa, the real “Outback”, or any place you where the roads suck but people still wish to get around and you will find Land Cruisers. And yes they do have cache value on par or better than anything else in that class that you can buy.
    Urban folks that think they are “Kool” buy Range Rovers. People that really live in remote and hard to get to locations drive LCs.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    If I needed an off-road vehicle, I’d go for the LC. Can’t think of a more capable and authentic tool for the job. In character, it’s the exact opposite of a suburban SUV, yet it has none of the backwardness of a Defender.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Sounds like some UN Peacekeepers will be riding around in an even more comfortable vehicle soon..

  • avatar
    ruffneck858

    I would take a Chevy Tahoe/Yukon over this generic beast 8 days a week, 25 hours a day. Plus you have the option of a hybrid.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I would take a Chevy Tahoe/Yukon over this generic beast 8 days a week, 25 hours a day. Plus you have the option of a hybrid.

    Ok, Please explain to me how the Land Cruiser is generic but the even boxier Tahoe is not? In all fariness the Land Cruiser and LX570 are everything an Escalade is pretending to be.

  • avatar
    shiney

    Everything peaple are saying about the greatness of LCs is true – or was until maybe the 80 series. This thing is a fat overpriced POS, and an insult to the LC legacy. Anyone living in AK who buys one of these and thinks it will be repairable or can even be maintained without shipping it to the lower 48 is on crack. Even a hummer makes a better case for itself than this wanna be luxury car with a corolla interior. The Escalade is not really a fair comparable as its a far BETTER car in the suburban mall enviroment that both those vehicles are really designed for, and nearly bargin priced in the deal. Far better a MB G-class than this for the money.

  • avatar
    coupdetat

    Actually, the Land Cruiser DOES serve a huge need for third and second world countries. I was in Tibet last summer and probably 1/3 of the cars on the road were Land Cruisers.

    They are a truly useful vehicle–good off-road capability, powerful, extremely reliable. I’m an anti-SUV kind of guy but I can totally see why the Land Cruiser is a crucial product.

    Making comparisons to Tahoes, Land Rovers, etc. or complaining that the electronic nannies prevent you from having more fun is completely missing the point of this car. It’s not for fun, it’s actually a practical SUV for people. Just not in America.

  • avatar
    Juniper

    OK William I think its time you took this beauty (or beast) off road up to its axles and let us know. Is it a Land Cruiser or a Country Club Cruiser?
    Did you mention the range? At 13 MPG I don’t want to get too far into the bush.

  • avatar
    shiney

    The LCs you see in the third world are mostly 70 and 75 series, not this bloated 80K joke.

  • avatar
    john.com

    The new Toyota Sequoia will eat the Tahoe/Yukon’s lunch. The Platinum trim version is targetted at the Navigator/Escalade end of the market.

    The Tahoe’s and Yukon’s of the world (and even the blinged out ‘Slade for that matter) are no competetion for the Cruiser.

  • avatar
    N85523

    As folks have already stated, this is not the Land Cruiser you see all over the world. The Land Cruiser brand is built on utility rather than luxury. If they would sell a stripped-down version of this truck in the US as they do in other parts of the world, I could see a market for it, especially to the oil patch and mines.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I did a trek through Tibet 6 years ago. Older (90′s era) LCs were THE car there. Our group of 20 had 5 of ‘em, and each day, you always hoped you’d be in the lead vehicle, because all those following ATE dust for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of Tibet is unpaved, rocky and rutted roads (to say nothing of the unpaved mountain passes with zero guard rails!) These Land Cruisers were far from luxo; manny trannies and no a/c. But when they broke (and they sometimes did) the Tibetan drivers could fix them with the simplest of tools (I sometimes got to help). One of the utes had a gas leak and the combo of petrol fumes and spilled yak-butter tea is an aroma I hope never to experience again. But it was a GREAT trip and my admiration for Toyota engineering was re-inforced over and over again.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    A couple comments about this review:

    1) This shows again that the “star system” doesn’t work. Two 5′s, two 4′s, three 3′s and a 2 doesn’t equal a 2.

    2) This car’s pricing shows that Toyota’s “package system” doesn’t work. According to Toyota’s site, the base price of a Land Cruiser is $63,885 (plus destination), already a $7000+ boost from the old LC’s price. For that you get the great 5.7L engine, full-time 4WD, power moonroof, cruise control, and the whole raft of safety technologies. The problem is, if you want, say…the JBL stereo system, you have to get the navigation system, which adds at least $3400. Even worse, if you want heated seats or a rear-seat entertainment system, those are only available with the Upgrade package (which I believe the tester did), and that adds $7,245!

    I’m not saying it’s a complete bust. I can’t compare the ’08′s standard features to the ’07, since TrueDelta doesn’t have either in its database. That’s likely where some of the differential lies. I just can’t help but wonder how the price is justified over the old one.

  • avatar
    coupdetat

    No, Shiney, you are wrong. Go to Tibet sometime and tell me what you see. LC80′s and 100′s all over the place. Some Prado’s too. You don’t see any 70 and 75 series around, they are far too old and underpowered.

    As for driving range, the LC80 I was in had dual fuel tanks for around 200L total. That’s a very substantial driving range. Plus, any good driver knows the area well enough to refuel at the right opportunities. There aren’t any more fuel-efficient alternatives.

  • avatar
    carguy

    My parents used to own a ’78 LC 40 series diesel and it was an awesome off road machine – this new model looks like it not only needs a diet but also a shrink as it seems to have an identity crisis. Laden with fragile electronic junk and a plain interior it is neither luxurious enough to compete with the Germans nor rugged enough for serious off road adventures.

    I think a beefed up FJ Cruiser would have been a better fit for the LCs traditonal role as a go anywhere vehicle.

    As for the Land Rover – don’t even think about taking it either off road or even beyond its factory warranty.

  • avatar
    speedbrakes

    Until the new Land Cruiser gets trail rated by the Taliban, its off-road/third world operation will be in question.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    This is Toyota skimming the rich cream from years of developing a legendary rep and following for the LC. Well to-do folks/kids go on volunteering/trekking/safari trips and see LC’s everywhere, even though those machines are strippers compared to what we get here. But it reinforces the image, and makes T. big bucks. Toyota is scary and awesome.

  • avatar

    So what, 3 more years and we’ll start seeing $100,000 Toyotas? The price of autos is getting ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    $80K is ridiculous for any SUV, period. What kind of market is this aiming at, and evidently succeeding at drawing in given the $5k dealer mark-up?

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    It’s been all down hill since the FJ60 went away

  • avatar
    shiney

    I think the 75 (or is it 78 now) is still in production. And why would a low geared work truck platform be too “old and underpowered” for Tibet? The LC80 was a fine vehicle, but the 100 with its V8 was already overpriced and underwelming. Maybe they were brought in by the UN or american companys with Gov. contracts who really didn’t care much about cost VS performance. Or they were luxury vehicles for the privilaged and tourists. Either way, 80K for the new LC is silly. Crimity! can you image trying to field repair that thing? At least with a Range Rover you get an interior worth looking at while you wait for the LC75 or LR Defender130 to come tow you back to the hotel.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Juniper: OK William I think its time you took this beauty (or beast) off road up to its axles and let us know. Is it a Land Cruiser or a Country Club Cruiser?
    Did you mention the range? At 13 MPG I don’t want to get too far into the bush.

    I would love to put the LC through its paces off-road (Toyota, are you listening?).

    But consider this: Even if the 200 Series is a phenomenal off-road monster, who cares. You could buy two or three FJ Cruisers for the same money. And who is going to pay upwards of $80K for a machine and then pinstripe its paint four-wheeling through scrub? I don’t think we’ll see many 2008 Land Cruisers beating around off-road for another 7-10 years. The good news is that a 7-year old 200 will probably still be in pretty good shape.

    As for range, the LC has a 25.4 gallon fuel tank, so at 13 mpg it probably has a range of 300 miles of city driving. Unless you’re turning monster after market tires or plowing through sand all day, it’ll probably get 10 mpg off-road, so it’d be good to mule occupants upwards of 200 miles.

  • avatar
    adam0331

    Well to-do folks/kids go on volunteering/trekking/safari trips and see LC’s everywhere, even though those machines are strippers compared to what we get here. But it reinforces the image, and makes T. big bucks.

    LMAO – nailed it on the head. And if I did live in the “3rd world” and all Toyota could offer me was 13mpg I’d be pissed. In the age of $90+ for a barrel of oil Toyota should do much better, especially for those that don’t have extra $$ for gasoline.

    Then again, Toyota’s got that green image off the Prius which makes this atrocity ok.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    That’s a bit optumistic on the off road milage. Unless oyu count dirt roads as off road. My 4 Runner used to get 2 or 3 mpg when running trails. You’re reving really high in low range and going no where fast.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Toyota should include a standard “My other car is a Prius” bumpersticker with these.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    ‘Toyota should include a standard “My other car is a Prius” bumpersticker with these.’

    I think “My other car is a Lexus LS600.” would be more appropriate

  • avatar
    shiney

    LS600″h”

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    One thing I will grant Toyota is that they do actually have a very good grasp of who their costumer base is and what they really want.

    This is why a LC with whooping $80,000 price tag will still command a $5,000 dealer premuim even in today’s depressed SUV market in the USA. If anything Toyota understands that the Sequoia might be the large SUV in their portfolio which might be in for a rough ride in the near future.

    The $63,000 LC sells because Toyota has successfully placed it at the high-end part of the market by selling a successful SUV in every other SUV segment. The LC is not a Sequoia! The Sequoia exist because the LC was already too expensive and is equiped with sophisicated hardware that the shopping mall crowd does not need nor are they willing to pay for.
    The Sequoia is the SUV that Toyota intends to deal with the American SUV Fade crowd and it is price accordingly. The LC is meant for a very different crowd, that is why you do not see them all over the place! This is a serious off-road/ bad-road/ trail vehicle in the same sense that a 911 is a serious sportscar. While I will admit it can’t go places that a FJ cruiser or Wrangler can go, but it can go places that just about every other vehicle on the market CAN’T.

    Back to price, one thing I have noticed for a long time is Toyota Limited version of many of their products do have a prestige value to them. Whether it be a Seinna Limited, Highlander Limited, Sequoia Limited, or a LC you do tend to find them populating the drivways in the more affluent neighborhoods in the USA. It is this prestige factor for vehicles like the Seinna Limited and Honda Odessey Touring that caused other vehilces like the MB R-class to fail in the market place.

  • avatar
    coupdetat

    Shiney: A large portion of the driving these Land Cruisers do is up huge, steep mountain roads. They don’t spend their lifetimes crawling through mud in low range. I was in a Chinese made 4-banger minivan and LC’s would constantly be blowing by us while we were struggling to do 40km/h up the side of the mountain.

    A lot of things are different outside of the industrialized world.

    First off, oil prices are not a consideration when an off-road vehicle is your only option. Are you going to ask these people to drive Corollas? Mileage is even less of a consideration when almost all of these are paid for by either a company or the government. It’s not like your average Tibetan/Kenyan/etc. Joe could go out and buy a Land Cruiser when he can barely feed his family. And if he could afford one, he is probably so rich that he doesn’t care about gas prices anyways.

    Second, looks do not matter either and especially not sporting performance. It’s all about practicality, and Toyota understands that is part of the personality/mystique of the Land Cruiser. Think about how ugly the original HMMWV was.

    Also, obviously third world versions of this car will not have a lot of the electronics and certainly not the comfort items like leather. Makes little difference to the underlying mechanicals which are dead reliable and powerful.

    To cruise around suburbia, this car is an atrocity. But for many people in the world it is an absolute necessity, and Toyota deserves credit for fulfilling that need.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    If I were honest to God in the market for a Land Cruiser, I’d buy a pristine FJ60, and spend the rest on prostitutes.

  • avatar
    confused1096

    A well equipped Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon goes for around $31,000. What is the point of the LC again?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Robert Schwartz :
    December 14th, 2007 at 10:18 am

    OK. I give up. Why? What earthly need does this thing possibly serve? Is Toyota just taunting us? Who really won the Second World War?

    Elite businessmen and bankers. :)

    It sounds like something my brother-in-law would consider buying. He has a Hummer H2 and an Escalade, and I don’t really know why he has either. But he’d only buy it used after a big depreciation hit.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    A well equipped Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon goes for around $31,000. What is the point of the LC again?

    I have dealt with god know how many wranglers since they were still CJ-7s and in all honesty they are in no why built to the same quality or durabilty level of a LC. They may be very-good off road but I would not want one far away from the dealer or mechanic. Aside from the mechanicals the materials used in the Wrangler construction are at odds with it “rugged” mission.

    Like some of the other here that have been trying to get the point across the LC is NOT about price in the same light that an S-class is not about price. If price is a concern I sure the Toyota dealer will show the costumer one of the other off-road capable Toyota SUVs in the showroom.
    The LC has always been a rather expensive proposition even in the 1990s an LC would cost you just about as much as a LS400, yet it does sell!

    It would have helped a bit if the reviewer had stated that the LC is actually a niche product and not intend to be a mainstream offering.

  • avatar

    Gentlemen, This is not the place for a debate over TTAC’s star rating system. That is an editorial consideration that may be addressed to me directly at robert.farago@thetruthaboutcars.com or on a thread that I will post on that topic shortly. LET ME BE CLEAR: You can disagree with the author's ratings in as great detail as you wish, but not the system itself.  Our general policy is NOT to allow debates over TTAC’s editorial stance or style in a thread not specifically dealing with that topic. Meta-discussion about TTAC's editorial choices invariably lead to personal rancor, charges of bias and flaming. I’m sorry if you find this policy authoritarian (which it is) or some kind of biased censorship (which it isn’t). I am always looking out for the overall good of the site, doing what I have to do to preserve civilized discourse.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Let’s see:

    Overweight, ugly, inefficient, off road capability useless to nearly 99% of the US based population that can afford it. Yep, sounds like a winner to me!

    I’m sure this beast will find several thousand homes that don’t care a wit about this thing’s only positive: extreme off road skill. Love the bit about the Neiman Marcus speed bumps. Classic.

    At 45k-55k new, I can see it. 80k?? Hah!

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    At 45k-55k new, I can see it. 80k?? Hah!

    For 45k – 55k Toyota still has you covered with the Sequoia. It does everything on-road that the LC does, has more interior space, is just as powerful, you can even take it off -road, just not as far as the LC. To top it off it is 10s of thousands cheaper to buy.

    There is a reason Toyota is making both of these, and there is a reason that folks will pay a premium for the LC.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    As everyone can see I do have fondness for the LC. After traveling from NE to NYC than on to the Poconos in very bad weather on some nasty main roads and trecherous back roads I gained an enoromous amount of respect for a last generation LC. I have also expereinced the previous one before that (two axle, inline 6) and that thing was absolutely unstoppable off-road. The thing that does get your attention is that fact that the LC feels sure-footed and composed no matter what you are doing, just remember how big it is!

    On top of its off-road poise the LC is also rather luxurious inside, excellent materials, fit and finish, and numerous options. While feeling nice and luxurious the LC does not make you feel silly like the equally off-road capable Range Rover or Cheyenne. Remember it is a Toyota! While you dont want to beat up on it too badly you wont feel like a idiot like you would in a RR or Cheyenne when you come out of trail or backroads covered in mud with scatches and dents all along the side.

  • avatar
    tsgtsfitz

    I don’t understand the logic behind this model any more. Before Toyota had the FJ, the Sequoia, and Lexus LX in the line up this type of SUV made more sense. By the way there is a speed channel test drive of this beast. It looked as out of place off road in the Australian outback as Michael Vick at a PETA meeting. All of the big stuff it went over I believe I could conquer it in my 01 4runner and the little stuff(like blasting across the flat farmland) in my Subaru.
    Plus, I really can’t see any exclusivity (other than the fact it as probably the most expensive non luxury name plate SUV on the market) that will draw the Escalade, Cayenne, H3, Rover, and Navigator drivers toward it. It doesn’t even make sense for executive transport.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    I live in northern Europe and LC80/LC100’s are very popular here, because it’s an universal Luxury car for our climate. Wealthy person with hobbies like hunting, fishing, boating etc. need the capabilites and interior space of this kind of car. Most of the LC100 owners have a quiet country house/cabin in the woods, during winter it is very hard to reach it with ordinary luxury car. Everybody is not a gearhead, that would choose some Wrangler Jeep and used sports car over this Land Cruiser. They need ONE car, that suits all their needs – to accomodate their whole family and be very safe with the latest safety technology, very reliable during hard/cold weather and rough roads, enough power and weight to tow a boat or ATV’s, watercrafts etc, enough offroad capability to use it during the hard winters with serious snow storms, or fishing, hunting, driving to the country/beach house. And the car also needs to be representable, it has to have the latest technology (and buyers are ready to pay for it), it needs to appeal to the owners ego, Land Cruiser brand name is status symbol. Like I described the LC200 is a all-weather, allroad, universal full-size AWD Luxury automobile. Also Europe gets a new high-tech diesel with LC200. 4.5L V8 twinturbo, around 300hp and 480 lbft of torque. Average mpg is 23.

  • avatar
    Seth

    I'd take a Prado/GX470 over this if I need such capability. Of course, LC is still going to be a hit … I can already visualize those Arabs having fun in the desert.

  • avatar
    LamborghiniZ

    Your review is decently positive. Yet you give it 2 stars. I think based on what you say, it is a 3 star rating defined. Also, the interior looks great to me. Of course it is going to use Toyota buttons, it isn’t going to use Lexus switchgear because those parts are saved for, yep you guess it, the Lexus LX570 version of this vehicle! That makes sense. This interior looks really nice to me though, the wood trim is tastefully applied, the center stack design is nicely integrated and has a well made appearance with a variety of materials being used. This is not an interior to complain about. Complain about the Escalade or Yukon Denali interior with their generic surfaces and hard touch plastics.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    Land Cruisers make excellent used buys as they tend to depreciate much faster than your typical Toyota. In fact I own a 100 series for that reason. 80k is a lofty price for the Toyota brand name. It will be much more attractive to the offroad crowd at half its MSRP in 3 years…

  • avatar
    rudiger

    The global appeal of the Land Cruiser is what keeps it a viable (and profitable) member of Toyota’s product line-up, even if it might not really be the best or most logical choice for the American market. In fact, I suspect that the huge international caché of the Land Cruiser is the very reason many Americans buy them.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    One thing I don’t understand is why the Sequoia isn’t based on the LC Prado platform. How does Toyota justify a separate platform for something that sells in such small numbers.

  • avatar
    coupdetat

    The Sequoia is based off the Tundra, it’s not a unique platform.

  • avatar
    westhighgoalie

    HOLY COW!! This is the most outrageous form of “price gouging” that I have seen in a while, and what makes it even more astonishing is that it’s coming from Toyota, a company that was built on the reputation of Reliability for a reasonable cost.

    Honestly if you want something that will haul the kids and the groceries around. Get a mini van.

    And if you’d like to spoil yourself with the off road adventure that would knock your socks off, Buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee, That vehicle is by far more capable off road and if you get the six cylinder (which has plenty of power) you won’t have to stop by the gas pump so often. And the best news for the Jeep, You will be saving the better part of $40,000, so put that money into the retirement account or buy yourself a sports car.

  • avatar
    coupdetat

    It’s funny how, despite all the discussion here, so many people just still don’t understand the purpose of the Land Cruiser at all… and so the Jeep comparisons continue.

  • avatar
    debushau

    Toyota has milked the “Landcruiser” brand too far. Overseas there’s the Prado (4Runner), 70-series and the Amazon (FJ100) and in the US, the FJ Cruiser (4Runner) as well as the “true” LC, the FJ200. There is no Landcruiser, it’s just a brand for SUV’s, in the same way that Landrover does not mean the Defender.

    The FJ200 is a good vehicle for its target markets, ie, Middle East, Africa, and, in the US, for RR wannabe’s. The FJ200 is not even being offered in Europe. LC sales in the US have been tailing off for years. This vehicle will sell as a Lexus but not as a Toyota.

  • avatar
    musah

    When we talk cars, this is my staple food. Pity those criticizing yhe LC but as humans there are we who must find fault in anything anyway, somehow. For a big suv it certainly looks fine.
    The LC was never meant to be for soccer mums, no they can get highlander hybrid or a jeep, this is meant for OFF ROADS and african roads (Read: Kenyan roads).

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    the reason this vehicle is the way it is, which is almost unique in that it is hugely capable as well as being luxurious and expensive is because it is almost completely without it original seriouse off road market. it makes up with this by apealing to the high end, luxury, big car market and is able to do this succesfully by actually being capable at its original purpose.

    to debushau i would like to say that in australia the landcruiser line up is very pertinant. there is the down to earth work horse 70 series, the midsize lc prado, and the true lc. land cruiser is the name toyota gives to off road vehicles, this is shown by the small soft roader being called simply “kluger”

    to westhighgoalie the grand cherokee is not as capable, yes it is much more reasonably priced but this is due to the relative simplicity compared to the lc. of course to a capable driver in a manual cherokee it makes no difference but to the inexperienced driver who wants an automatic vehicle the lc is the only choice

  • avatar
    autoacct628

    This vehicle, no matter how capable, deserves to have its pictures in the ol’ Thorndyke Barnhardt next to the words “decadence” and “conspicuous consumption”…..

    $85k for a Toyota?

    These are either the smartest people on the planet, or the ones with the least developed sense of irony….

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    One thing I don’t understand is why the Sequoia isn’t based on the LC Prado platform. How does Toyota justify a separate platform for something that sells in such small numbers.

    Carshark: Toyota already sells two vehicles in the US based on the Prado platform: The Lexus GX470 (which is a near-copy of the Prado, with a few significant differences) and the 4Runner. And of course it’s already been pointed out that the Sequoia is based on the Tundra platform.

  • avatar
    swedcars

    What a nice truck. I am a true believer in Toyota and Honda. I have had awesome luck with vehicles made in a non-union environment.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, I priced one of these things out at Toyota’s site and could not get the price above $74,000. Were does this $85,000 price come from. Does this price include the dealer makrup that the orginal author was refering to?

    The base price is $63,000. OK, not cheap by any means, but to continously quote a price above $80,000 is like saying that a $45,000 Boxster is an $85,000 car because it can be optioned up to that price.

    On the other hand I can see that many people here do not know what a Land Cruiser is. With the expection of maybe the MB G-Wagen and LR Defender this is the best 4WD SUV money can buy. This is the Rolex or Bretling of 4WD vehicles or put another way it is the 911 of off-road multi-passanger vehicles.
    It has been so for a long time, before Lexus and the LS400. The LC demands a premium for the same reason that a Panasonic Toughbook does, when you need the best…………

    I guess a lot of folks did not know that Toyota had already had it hand in the “high-end” auto market before they tried their hand at luxury cars!

  • avatar

    Ummm swedcars not only are some Toyotas made by union employees but some like the Tacoma, and Corolla are made by the UAW.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I am sure that the price reflects demand. Toyota has been making these available in a limited number in the US for years. They are low volume, high profit. I know of little difference with the Lexus version, so they really should be making the Toyota more of a lower end version.

    There are plenty of people who want a new one though. Whine about the price all you want. If you really want a stupid price, go see a baseball game and whine about the players’ salaries.

    If you want a great deal. Buy one when it gets down below 20k in price. It’s the last truck you will ever need to buy. It has real off road cred, even when stock. I have gotten all sorts of compliments on my ’97 in middle of nowhere Canada where getting stuck can mean death.

    Yes, Toyota has pimped it up, and no, I will not ever be buying one of these new ones with electronic overload. Perhaps they do electronics right, but I will wait and see. Reliability is key to the cost equation. I lose very little in depreciation, and spend very little time and money at the shop. My last domestic truck, an explorer, cost more each year than my crusher does in three years, and the exploder was just out of warranty.

    Lastly, complaints about mileage are missing the point. If you are not on a road, you won’t be putting down a lot of miles. If you want to go across Asia, then you carry extra fuel in cans.

  • avatar
    fyodor

    I learned to drive in a three-speed straight-six cj7, used to own a grand cherokee which I truly enjoyed, and very much like the two-door rubicon.

    But comparing these vehicles to the landcruiser is apples and onions. Even the 100 series makes mincemeat out of the best jeep has offered in the last twenty-five years.

    That being said, I’m not particularly fond of the 200, it does look generic, the additional space and weight (and decreased clearance) are not improvements, and, yes, it costs too much. I fully expect, however, that these vehicles will out-last their chevrolet, cadillac, hummer, and jeep contemporaries by 10-20 years. Because that’s the way toyota builds them.

    My preference would be for one of the stripped-down versions offered in Australia, with a (clean) diesel.

  • avatar
    ApexAlex

    autoacct:

    $85k for a Toyota?

    These are either the smartest people on the planet, or the ones with the least developed sense of irony….

    still cheap (ok, reasonable) for what you get. as many posters have noted, the LC has a proven track record for 20+ year durability, AND ability in the outback and bush areas across the planet.

    and how about $100K for a toyota? you can find those in the Toyota Century, their v12 limo intended to compete with rolls royce.

  • avatar
    ApexAlex

    plus, a few Lexus models actually sell for over $200,000 in the booming China market.

    i would not be surprised if TOYOTA centurys and LCs also sell in excess of $100k there.

  • avatar
    musah

    Apex you hit it. Why should TOYOTA be CRITICIZED for producing a $80,000 car. What we should be thinking is, is the car worth it? The LC has a market and it will succeed even at 100,000 bucks

  • avatar

    A quick reminder: Toyota is not an upmarket brand. It has no business charging upmarket prices, no matter how awesome the product. That is all.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Actual price of this thing is more like 70k which is what an optioned up Escalade costs. Some people have that much money to throw away.

  • avatar
    fyodor

    “A quick reminder: Toyota is not an upmarket brand. It has no business charging upmarket prices, no matter how awesome the product.”

    That argument may hold water for vw and the phaeton, but not the cruiser. Toyota isn’t breaking from their traditional milieu to put out a new model in a different market segment. The cruiser has been at the top of its genre for a couple of (human) generations. And whatever States-side folks may think of toyota generally, this isn’t the tercel we are talking about. (That being said, it’s still too expensive. There ought to be a $50-ish LC available w/o the gizmos.)

    Another thing, toyota only sells a couple thousand of these a year in the U.S., so it’s niche. But also note how often you recognize them on the streets. That’s b/c (1) visually the model hasn’t changed much over the years and (2)
    they last much longer than any other SUV.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I would take the middle road here.

    RF: Your comment is a bit too strong.

    The LC is not just a luxury car to many people, they consider it a tough truck, a piece of equipment, and they see Toyota to be a company that makes the best, most reliable SUV’s.

    Mercedes has a HUGE range in Germany, and while the US is different, it could work here. Yes, it’s safer for them to keep Lexus and Toyota better branded, but when you are number one who can argue with your strategy?

    Also, Toyota is in a rut because if they offered a down market LC wouldn’t it compete too much with the other million SUV’s they have? I wish they would do it, but I won’t hold my breath. I would love a rough and tumble world LC for about 45k. I would really love a stamped metal dash, powder coated interior parts, with the leather reserved for the people interface.

    I suspect that if fuel prices keep going up, we may get one when the only people buying SUV’s are people who really want or need one. Lexus could continue to sell a pimped out luxo SUV for the weekend ranchers.

    Overall, I wish they would NOT have taken the Toyota version up so high, but I can’t fault them for it. I will stick to buying used ones, and watch to see if the electronics hold up. The only thing on my ’97 that is broken is the automatic antenna. Who thought a Landcrusher needed an automatic antenna?

  • avatar
    ponytrekker

    You could buy two 4runners and a camry for this price.

  • avatar
    ApexAlex

    Robert Farago:

    A quick reminder: Toyota is not an upmarket brand. It has no business charging upmarket prices, no matter how awesome the product.

    That is all.

    tell that to the Asian market which fully enjoys their Toyota Majestas, Crowns and Centurys.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It’s not particularly difficult to understand the Land Cruiser’s mission. It’s one of the few ‘trail-rated’ (to borrow a Jeep term) Toyotas left. The Land Cruiser’s target demographic shifted upward when the original 4Runner was introduced in the early eighties’ emerging SUV market.

    Simply put, if you require a vehicle for use where improved roads and repair facilities are few and far between, you get a 4Runner. If you’re particularly well-off (think oil sheik), you get a Land Cruiser.

    Toyota’s effort to capitalize on the original 40-series Land Cruiser’s unabashed ruggedness and reliability with the ungainly, quasi-retro FJ Cruiser is a rather unfunny joke.

  • avatar
    Spitzbergen

    Living in Dubai I see scores of this vehicle every day. Being in the High End SUV capital of the World, I’m sure this vehicle will sell very well. Does the US Spec get the water cooler in the arm rest?

  • avatar
    musah

    Anyone recently looked at the TOYOTA web page? Its written “in some parts of the world it’s an essential.” who doubts that???

  • avatar
    silverkris

    Yes, the Land Cruiser is a pricey vehicle.

    But let’s put this into perspective…it is the vehicle of choice for moneyed elites in developing countries with poor roads. The other vehicle that is favored by such Third World ruling elites is the Mitsubishi Pajero.

  • avatar
    playdrv4me

    Range Rover.

  • avatar
    grinchsmate

    silverkris is right although he gfoes a little too far. those moneyed elites include farmers and developing countries include australia. basicly if you crop a few thousand hectares and you dont go to europe as soon as harvest is over then you own one own these. playdrv4me, the only point to rangerovers is to out of keep wankers landcruisers, a real 4×4 can drive off road without the shitty air bag suspension collapsing

  • avatar
    silverkris

    I thought farmers in Australia like utes, the locally manufactured Holdens and Fords. But I guess the ones with money can buy the ‘Cruisers and Range Rovers.

    I was thinking of elite ruling class people in places like Pakistan and Haiti, where they like to drive Pajeros and Land Cruisers. In Pakistan I call em wadera-mobiles, a wadera is a landlord or “feudal” as they call ‘em.


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