By on July 17, 2017

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Images: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

There are more than 40 brands offering 230-some nameplates in America today. Not a single one is a direct Land Cruiser competitor. So what is the Land Cruiser’s mission?

It’s not aimed at the towing crowd. A $50,000 full-size half-ton anything can tow more than the Land Cruiser’s 8,100 lbs. It’s not for hauling people. A Sequoia, or any other full-size SUV, offers more interior volume, with at least $20,000 left over. It’s not for brand snobs, as Toyota offers the nearly identical and vastly more popular Lexus LX for those people. And no, it’s not even for the radical off-road enthusiast. There are Wranglers, Tacomas, 4Runners, and Raptors with off-road capabilities to match the impressive Land Cruiser.

The market analysis justifying the Land Cruiser is contained somewhere deep inside Toyota’s North America’s product planning offices in Plano, Texas. But until a disgruntled employee or careless contractor leaks the file, we will simply need to speculate.

The Land Cruiser appeared in commercial quantities in the 1950’s and from there went on to earn its reputation for go-anywhere durability. I can personally attest to the utility and capability of the 70-Series Land Cruiser based on my time in a high-roof troopie that shrugged off poor driver decisions in Malawi (always check water crossings before going wheels wet) and baboons (there is a fine line between curiosity and malevolence). But today’s North American spec Land Cruiser originated with the J50, which bifurcated the Land Cruiser lineup back in 1967. Thereafter, the Land Cruiser badge would be placed on a growing range of light commercial vehicles (J20/30/40/70), as well as on easier to live with yet highly capable passenger-oriented SUVs (J50/60/80/90/120/150/100/200).

None of these products were designed for the North American market. And today’s Land Cruiser is no different. It receives minor adaptions to confirm to the peculiarities of our market. But at 112 inches, its wheelbase is four to 10 inches shorter than other full-size SUVs. And its width and overall length are likewise three-quarter size. Sure, it has Toyota’s 381 horsepower 5.7-liter gas V8 and a speedo that reads in mph, but these alterations hardly conceal a vehicle as close to African spec as you will find on a dealer lot in North America. This is one of the few unadulterated foreign market vehicles journalists and enthusiasts pine for.

The average Toyota dealer sells seven of these rigs annually.

That’s not because it’s bad. It’s good. In fact, it’s great. Just don’t try to lump it into a comparison with any other vehicle available in America today. The current-generation Land Cruiser dates to 2008.

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Image: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

In 2016 Toyota executed a refresh including a new grill, rear end treatment, eight-speed transmission, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), and the latest Entune multimedia interface. The new visage is more nuanced and delicate to this reviewer’s eye. But who cares what it looks like, it’s a form follows function product with a no-nonsense reputation to uphold. Sculpting its body like a F86 simply wouldn’t be right. Any beauty in the Land Cruiser’s exterior is conferred by the knowledge of what this rig can do.

Inside, the story is less utilitarian. This Land Cruiser is equipped for comfort. And all the goodies are present, without the need to option it up. It’s an all or nothing affair including heated and cooled power seats, touch screen navigation, 14-speaker JBL sound, power steering wheel adjustment, park assist, blind spot monitoring, LED headlights, and more. This is nothing like the truck-come-tractor 70-Series I drove in Africa. Apply some Lexus logos, upgrade the leather, blow out the audio system and it could have been the Lexus LX.

Unlike other full-size SUVs, the Land Cruiser was not designed with an on-road bias backed up by secondary off-road capability. No, this vehicle was designed around a duty cycle that would rattle a Sequoia, Tahoe, or Armada to pieces at 40,000 kilometers. And it shows in the Land Cruiser’s on-road manners. They are in a word, unfortunate. Every vehicle presents compromises. For the Land Cruiser it’s pavement. The brakes are non-linear. They feature an inflection point when slowing through 30mph where they become progressive and haul the big SUV to a stop with unwanted abruptness. After a week with the big Toyota its brakes did not grow on me.

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Image: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

Moreover, Land Cruiser drivers should not be in a hurry. Despite its modest dimensions, it is as heavy or heavier than any other full-size 4X4 SUV. It even outweighs its notoriously portly near-peer, the LR4. Acceleration, steering, and cornering are languid. The Land Cruiser is the tortoise of cars. It tells its driver, Take your time, there’s no rush. Just follow that Avalon in the right lane.

Dirt, sand, and mud are home for the Land Cruiser. But it’s not due to a personality transformation. The Toyota is like your blunt opinionated cousin who entertains at Thanksgiving but can’t seem to get ahead professionally. The Land Cruiser hasn’t changed; it’s simply a matter of context, and off-highway is its preferred venue. Washboard, a reliably uncomfortable test for most SUV’s, is no problem. The Toyota does not approach washboard like a Raptor, which smoothes the bumps through speed and internal-bypass wizardry. The Land Cruiser takes them head-on with a workman-like approach befitting its heft and near six-digit price. Boulders, water, rutted out off-camber inclines, the Land Cruiser doesn’t care.

We took the Land Cruiser up scenic Oriflamme Canyon, east of San Diego. This moderate to challenging 11-mile route climbs out of the Anza-Borrego Desert into San Diego backcountry. A quarter of the way up the trail on a section of trail cut into a steep barren hillside we encountered our first real obstacle. A CJ2 sized boulder that fell from above and lodged itself across half of the already narrow single track. The decision was simple. Back down the trail or squeeze between the boulder and the equally unforgiving hill face while executing a slight leftward pivot to avoid upper-body damage. The Land Cruiser is not a small rig, but we knew Wranglers had successfully navigated the obstacle. With only a couple extra inches of girth versus the Jeep, we decided we could make it.

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Image: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

From there the track got nasty. But nothing our rig’s clearance and a dose of prudence couldn’t handle. That said, this trail would not be an appropriate test route for a Sequoia or Expedition. Some recent rains made for a modest water crossing, something of a rarity for wheelers in San Diego. And around mile eight the peak obstacle came into view. The steep, uneven, and heavily rutted Stairway to Heaven offers one the chance to summit the route’s 4,150-foot high point. Or, you can just walk it, enjoy the view, then cruise the last couple of easy miles to Highway 78.

With a center locking diff, multi-terrain select, crawl control, modest all-terrain Dunlops on off-road appropriate 18-inch wheels, an impressive 32-degree approach angle, a decent 21-degree breakover, and a healthy 24-degree departure angle, the Land Cruiser is exactly the kind of rig to tackle this short of technical climb. And it needed all the articulation and traction is could muster. We did find the limit of its departure angle in a deeply rutted set of craters with off-camber, high-centering risk. The back end stroked the dirt but shrugged it off on its way to the top. Yes, this is just the kind of rig to enjoy such shenanigans in.

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Image: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

The Land Cruiser starts at $84,325. Four-wheel drive, the 5.7-liter V8, and everything else is standard. Select from six exterior and two interior colors. That’s it. The MSRP on our tester was $85,520, including a $1,195 delivery processing fee. Advertised fuel economy is 13 miles per gallon city, 18 highway. Observed fuel economy was 14.2 mpg.

So who is the Land Cruiser for? It’s for oil and mine managers, the middle-eastern middle-class, NGO country directors, and well-off Australians who want to do the Outback in style. It is not for us. It is too small and expensive to compete with other full-size SUVs. It is too uncompromising and plebian to compete with premium SUVs. And it is far too expensive to compete with other off-road focused offerings. In America, Mercedes sells more G-Wagons and Audi more A8’s than Toyota does Land Cruisers. But as leisurely as the Land Cruiser is on-road it is equally brilliant off-road. And I applaud those who toss convention aside and put one of these stubbornly unapologetic SUVs in their garage.

But I fear there are not enough of you to keep the nameplate alive in North America. The departure of this storied and immensely capable SUV from our market would be a shame. Please go buy one.

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser, Image: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks

[Images: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks]

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114 Comments on “2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Review – Stranger in a Strange Land...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Not expecting a review of this outlier. I agree it is not for the North American crowd. It’s damned expensive but the cabin doesn’t live up to it. It’s big but not big enough. It’s powerful but not powerful enough. It stands a good chance of getting across Africa in one piece, but no one here needs that and few want it.

    The dealership I bought my 4Runner from had one of these on the showroom floor. I’d want a bit more ground clearance given its narrow mission profile and I wasn’t impressed with the interior–the leather is nice and it has Lots of Stuff inside, but the interior door handles are straight out of the Tundra and feel plasticky, the hard door and dash plastics are the same cost-cut and scratchable materials as in my 4Runner and they will not age nicely, and unless Toyota has found a tree with naturally-formed mold lines on it, the steering wheel in this $84K machine is plastic, not wood.

    I have no trouble believing the durability of the vehicle’s hardware, but this is priced as a luxury tank and it doesn’t quite pull off the luxury part.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Agreed 30 mile. I love the 4Runner and think it is a much better choice for a daily driver with serious off road chops. If I was rich, and I really wanted this LC for lux off-road adventures, I would have to do some mods to get more ground clearance. Frankly though, it doesn’t even look the part. It is not ugly, but it doesn’t look like a Land Cruiser to me.

      Land Cruisers are fantastic, but this is not the one. If I really wanted one and had the money, I would get a rebuilt/resto-mod from one of the aftermarket companies like IKON.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think for practical purposes, in the US market the 5th gen 4Runner has all of the capability of the Land Cruiser (and then some, with a mechanical rear locker and even better clearance/breakover), almost all of the interior room, and the difference in durability is ultimately irrelevant (both are excellent). The only place the big LC200 would really outshine the 5th gen is highway comfort/road trip fatigue factor and towing ability. The GX460 (pre-predator maw) strikes an excellent balance in price/capability/comfort/power between the 4Runner and LC200, although the built in third row sucks up a decent amount of total interior cargo capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          gtem, yep. I will now look at the GX460 as if I were interested in buying it (but never will). I was not aware of it. I only look at the Taco, Tundra and the 4Runner as off-road capable Toyotas.

          Interesting comment on the “pre-predator maw.” I wonder if Toyota knows how many buyers are put off by that? My friend’s wife was in the market for a big, lux SUV and turned down Lexus because of that alone. She is going to buy the Cayenne. Lexus was known for bland. They may have gone a little overboard the other direction with the giant catfish. I suspect a lot of men, and even more women, tend to dislike it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            The ’10-’13 GX is a fantastic rig IMO. Buttery smooth V8, rock solid and simple underpinnings, good looks (I think), and yes very legit capability hampered only by the plastic side steps and mudflaps. The final mildly facelifted ’08-’09 GX470s are great too, but the interiors and especially the built-in nav feels ancient. I wish more were made in a simpler Prado-level interior without that stupid screen.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The problem with the 2014 refresh front end isn’t just the ugly, it also drops the approach angle from 28 to 21 degrees.

            I don’t suppose that enough people, or any people, buy these new to bash around forest service roads for it to matter but it’s something to be aware of when shopping the used ones.

          • 0 avatar
            Reino

            But that ‘barn door’ tailgate tho…

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Reino I hear you, that’s the biggest downgrade from the 4Runner is the loss of a regular hatch with that fantastic rolldown window. And Dan I absolutely agree, as egregious as I find the styling, I’m more offended by the loss of approach angle.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      30-mile,
      They are a great soccer mom’s car. Comfortable, quick enough and can use fuel like the Ram Hemi I rented by the sounds of the 14.2 that was averaged during this review. I didn’t even off road and I got 14 even.

      Off road, I really don’t think there is a vehicle made by the Big 3 that is better.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Depends on how you off-road Al if we are talking the Land Cruiser. My 80 series was a pig and no fun in anything technical, though it would get you there. The current cruiser dwarfs an 80 and wouldn’t fit on many of the trails I used to run. As an expo rig though, sure they are great especially in non north American trim.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          It’s not an “off road” vehicle at all. But instead, the best ans most durable daily driver out there, for places where roads are shitty, and getting stranded can be a real problem. It also takes armor better than any other SUV out there, which is important to some of those who simultaneously can afford one, and live in the above mentioned kind of places.

          In the US, Europe and Japan, they’re more or less man purses in which to carry “professional” camera gear. For those who like to play National Geographic photogs on their spare time.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I’m surprised by some its on road compromises, does the Lexus drive the same way? From what I recall at the last auto show the the LC and LX seemed to be 100% identical save for the exterior, maybe I didn’t look at the wood closely enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Compaq Deskpro,
      The are not the best on road performer, but it handles better than a pickup by a long shot.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al From 'Murica

        Ummm, no…really heavy for it’s size+tall+shorter wheelbase do not a handling machine make. These things do a lot of stuff well, and I am a fan, but with respect to the cruisers I’ve owned handling, braking, and acceleration were not why you got one. These brake and accelerate better than the old ones though (course my last one was 3FE powered). One thing hasn’t changed though, they still drink fuel like I drink bourbon if you were buying.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      Lexus uses a different suspension setup. Air and hydraulic. However, with the new redesign, in order to incorporate the new lexus grill, they dropped the approach angle noticeably so even with its ride height all the way up, its basically only matches the Land Cruiser.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why not get the Lexus for $3,000-4,000 more? This definitely needs more ground clearance; whenever I see one it looks fat and I can’t imagine how it’s supposed to be some kind of off-road legend.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think they are deceptive looking in that way. Despite the bulk, the angles/clearance and particularly articulation are fantastic.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I’ve wondered this also. Why would you buy the Land Cruiser when $3Kish gets you the Lexus and all the benefits of the brand snobbery. The brand tax is only a couple of percentage points, and when you’re dropping 85 large, 3 more is nothing.

      • 0 avatar
        vlangs

        Because there are people who want a good quality product without the associated showing off of a “luxury brand”

        It’s like buying a designer item, you should buy it for yourself not so others know you have it.

        Nothing irks me more than someone who thinks they’re better than someone because they have a bimmer or benz or something

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        because to some people, its a disadvantage to have it be a Lexus. Reverse brand snobbery if you will

      • 0 avatar
        I_like_stuff

        “Why would you buy the Land Cruiser when $3Kish gets you the Lexus and all the benefits of the brand snobbery.”

        Cuz not everyone wants brand snobbery.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          It’s absolutely snobbery. The Land Cruiser has a reputation that seems to be more prestigious than a Lexus. Maybe because the LC was here first.

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      The Lexus version has a higher quality interior.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Somehow, on a recent trip, my rental car was upgraded to a Lexus LX570 (the Lexus version of this beast). I was surprised at how much I did not like it and that resulting mostly as a result of how it drove. It feels heavy and it’s a very detached driving experience. The sightlines and visibility reminded me of a Camaro. I agree on the tortoise comment. You really are waiting for it to go. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to turn it in.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    i have owned a 1988 and a 1992 LC in the past. The 1988 was a much superior vehicle in almost every way. the 1988’s only fault was gas mileage, the 1992 being worse. a clear case of de-evolution.

    • 0 avatar
      baggins

      My parents had an 88 or 80 LC. The leaf spring suspension was absolutely brutal. I was just a teenager at the time, and I found the ride rough.

      Their 98 LC was a much better on road vehicle

  • avatar
    usernamealreadyregistered

    Dear Toyota,

    I have been a very good boy this year. Please bring a lower trim level Land Cruiser to ‘Murica. I have purchased many other Toyotas and I promise to buy this one. Yes, I know I promised to buy an affordable, manual, rear wheel drive sports car if you gave me that but let’s let bygones be bygones, ok? It’s my wife’s fault. I promise to ignore her protests this time.

    Your pal,
    usernamealreadyregistered

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      You’d be better off holding out for the FJ Cruiser replacement that they showed a concept of months back.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      The lower trim level Land Cruiser exists, it’s called the 4Runner, or the GX 460.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        In a way yes as I’ve outlined in a comment above. Although if we’re speaking technically, the 4Runner and GX460 are Prado-150 based, which in the Toyota hierarchy is considered “medium duty.”

        The larger LC200 is even more robust and over-engineered, freakishly so by common US non-HD standards.

        As an example, the 80 series Land Cruiser’s solid axles are commonly considered equivalent in strength to a Dana 60, which is totally over the top for what is normally seen in a factory-stock SUV of that size. For reference a Wrangler Rubicon runs Dana 44s, themselves considered to be quite sturdy units by anyone short of dedicated rock-crawlers.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    I’m looking for one of these now….a 2008 or newer. The reason I like them is b/c I need 7-seat capacity, something that can tow a travel trailer, and I like a vehicle that is “different” (not seen regularly).

    On a side note, would the new Nissan Armada be considered a direct competitor or no?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Yes it is 100% a direct competitor in size and in what they have been used for globally for decades. The newest Armada however I will say is a bit lack-luster in the offroad front. Big fat front overhang gives it a horrible approach angle, independent rear suspension really limits articulation a lot. In the US we don’t get any mechanically locking differentials that are still available overseas. The Toyota has stayed truer IMO. the other vehicle in this space is the Mitsubishi Pajero. It made the switch to independent rear suspension a long time ago (’01 in the US), and has never quite garnered the reputation of being an overbuilt beast. The boxy 2nd generation preceding the rally-inspired IRS gen III is almost-Land Cruiser overbuilt, but just not quite. Maybe 90% there. I’d put a Montero II halfway between a 4Runner/Prado and a Land Cruiser 80/100, edging closer to the Land Cruiser side of things honestly.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      crtfour,
      The global Nissan Patrol is a direct competitor of the Landcruiser.

      The new US Armada is has a detuned suspension and was cost cut to make it more competitive with the Ford and GM SUVs. I suppose the US Armada is a “detuned” Patrol.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I was looking for an older one of these when I was last car shopping – but ho boy, these vehicles really do retain their value. Also the rarity means either buying a high mileage one or taking a having to drive out of the way to find one.

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Boy you’re not kidding. I watched a 2008 model with 230k miles go for $18k on Ebay a couple of weeks ago. It was an immaculate Florida truck but wow that’s a lot of money for that many miles.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Agreed that there is no real market for this car in the US. But I’m not going to pick on the car for that. It’s really just the pricing. At $50-60K they’d sell tons of these. I’m wondering what it is (besides really low sales volume) that pushes the price so high. My hunch is that because of CAFE, Toyota is happy to keep volume way down for the LC. It’s there if you need it but they’d rather sell you one of their other alternatives.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      They priced it as such because of the Sequoia platinum. That maxes out around 70k I believe with the redesign, so the Land Cruiser is the next step up. Also, when they first came out in 08 with the new model, Toyota said the market demographics were drastically different. Land Cruiser owners on average had a household income of something like 238,00+ compared to the Sequoia’s mere 110,000+. I’ve seen a few in my neck of the woods. Mostly owned by vacationing cabin owners off lakes or some farmers off big land, usually subsidized by windmill payouts from the electric companies for the windmills built on the farmers lands.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    So for the price on one of these I could buy a new 4 door F-150 in moderate+ level of trim which will drive nicer on road and haul more stuff than the LC. With the money left over I could buy a Jeep Wrangler and put a lot of off-road equipment on it that could do much better off-road than the LC. The LC is the jack of all trades, but master of none.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    The market for these things is Extremely Rich People who only want Other Extremely Rich People to know they are Extremely Rich.

    This vehicle is the darling of the summer on Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard/Fisher’s Island/etc etc etc set. It’s for people who laugh at Range Rover and G-wagon drivers as flashy and nouvea riche. It’s for people who want to spend a lot of money on a car once, drive it for 15 years with zero problems, and then send it off to Brown with junior when he goes. It will get you and all your stuff and family members to the cottage or lake house or ski chalet with zero drama, a fair amount of comfort, and little pretense. It’s exceptionally high quality and not shouty at all about how much you’ve spent.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Bingo. Here in Houston they’re the darling of the monied set who don’t want to be showy. I’d love one because it’s the closest thing available to my old Trooper, itself a LC knock off. A comfortable cruiser that can easily venture off the road.

      I don’t want anything as big as the Sequoia, and I don’t like the tunnel vision out the front of the 4Runner. I like the Highlander hybrid as well but of course that’s a completely different breed with no off road intentions.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yep, these are people who bought Grand Wagoneers a generation ago.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      S2k,
      Here in Australia they are just a normal middle class soccer moms car. There are quite a few on the roads. I even think they were the 7th best selling vehicle in 2016.

    • 0 avatar
      usernamealreadyregistered

      “It’s for people who laugh at Range Rover and G-wagon drivers as flashy and nouvea riche.”

      Let’s be honest here. It’s not just Land Cruiser owners who are doing this.

    • 0 avatar
      AVT

      This. My younger sister will get our land cruiser when she graduates college and continues for her masters. My parents asked me if I wanted it but since I went to college an hour away from the cabin, I declined. Since thats where we keep it when not in use.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    As previous owner of a 2013 and current owner of 2016 I can tell you I absolutely enjoy my 200 series. I could have did without the addition of the dvd screens but since they are there I don’t understand why Toyota didn’t include the ability to play Bluray discs. Everything else about the vehicle is top notch. From the reliably to the resale value these rigs can’t be beaten. You can literally drive one for 5 yrs and get damn near 70% of what you paid for it. For everyone who thinks they cost to much GM and others have tons of vehicles for you to choose from.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      “GM and others have tons of vehicles for you to choose from.”

      That will all be better at everyday life than this overpriced thing.

      But, who would buy a 4×4 off-road rig for anything but resale value? That’s the only reason to buy any car.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Don’t be grouchy just because these have niche, mismatched core attributes yet still hold their value in a way that defies belief. These are weird rigs and aren’t intended to take on the low-slung towing/chauffeuring GM and Ford entrants. That third picture neatly encapsulates just how the Land Cruiser distinguishes itself from an Escalade or Navigator, and while that is completely irrelevant for Escalade and Navigator shoppers, there is also something inherently cool about it which your inner car guy should embrace.

        Just pretend it isn’t a Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        MR2turbo4evr

        Relatively speaking, the Land Cruiser is a bargain compared to the big 3 “4×4 offroad rigs”. It’s designed and engineered for a 25 year life cycle. You’re buying quality. As Cartunez already implied, keep buying the domestic trucks if you have no appreciation for such things and keep your constant opinionated anti-Toyota spouts to yourself.. I wont dignify any of your further responses with a reply.

      • 0 avatar
        Bazza

        Your constant Toyota trolling doesn’t change anyone’s impression of Ford, but thankfully for you there’s FCA to ease your brand insecurity.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I scan TTAC with RSS using Feedly. When I click on the link to read the whole article it takes me to http://www.off-road.com/trucks-4×4/review/2017-toyota-land-cruiser-review-54683.html?printable This is the second time I’ve been re-directed like this.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Just looked up the track results from C&D and this will hit 60 in 6.7 seconds and 30 in 2.2, the latter of which is a smidge quicker than an Accord V6. It’s not a 6.2 Escalade, but I wouldn’t call that “languid” acceleration by any stretch. I wonder if Toyota has given this the same conservative throttle calibration as the 4Runner, which is helpful off road but makes it feel slower than it really is.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’ve driven one of the newer ones. In my opinion, it’s not that it *won’t* get out of its own way; rather, it’s that it encourages you to take it slow and you reap the most reward for doing so; driving it in a spirited fashion highlights its shortcomings as a road car, since it’s certainly not as performance-tuned as anything from BMW or Audi, nor can it match the athleticism of larger 4x4s like the Range Rover or even the Escalade and Yukon, with their magnetic suspension.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Sure, I believe the description of steering and cornering as languid and don’t doubt for a second that it is best piloted with a slow ‘n steady demeanor as you say. Frankly that is exactly how I’d describe my 4Runner’s road manners as well.

        But acceleration looks plenty okey dokey to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      30-mile fetch,
      It’s an opionated piece. You just have to take it that way.

  • avatar
    MaxPower405

    After having both a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland and a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit and finding them a bit lacking in what I consider true off-roading ability (i.e. traveling 30 miles outside of Moab on BLM land and trails for a week of “out in the middle of nowhere camping”), I decided to upgrade to something a bit more robust.

    I looked at both the Land Cruiser and the Lexus equivalent. The points made in the article are true. It’s too big in the wrong places without being big enough inside. The engine felt weak and a bit “overwhelmed” with the weight of the rig.

    One point not made is the third row situation is laughable, at best. The folding seats take up too much cargo room and access is not the easiest. As I wouldn’t be using them at all, the process to remove them didn’t seem straightforward in the Toyota and near impossible with the Lexus power system.

    I also found the navigation system frustrating. It was no different than the 2004 Lexus I had years ago. Overall, the technology seemed outdated and poorly designed. I wasn’t impressed with connecting my iPhone to either truck and seeing a full and complete reboot of the electronics. The major disappointment was the adaptive cruise. It felt like it would stop the truck at the last possible moment, leading too much drama than what was truly required.

    Finally, it also seemed a bit overpriced, to be honest. For the Land Cruiser’s sticker, I was expecting more premium materials and a better inherent feel of quality and durability. The plastics felt cheap and hollow. Unfortunately, the Lexus wasn’t much better, feeling even more underpowered and overpriced.

    Those are my thoughts on it. I chose a G550 instead.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      MaxPower,
      Hmmm…….I think your story a little fishy.

      • 0 avatar
        MaxPower405

        How so? Do I need to show pics of my rigs? It’s the ‘net, I have nothing to prove.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          MaxPower,
          The 200 Series is more capable and manouvreable than any midsize pickup. So, I don’t know how you can make a comment about it’s bulk.

          The engine off road is far from weak, even off road towing if you went that far.

          I’m sorry your comments just don’t add up.

          Or, you make a poor assessment of the vehicle.

          The price you guys pay is quite extreme. Now that is a great not to buy one.

          We have Expeditions at work and the third row in them are as laughable.

          • 0 avatar
            MaxPower405

            The G550 is about 72” wide, with the Land Cruiser being approximately 78” wide. Keep in mind, the width on the Land Cruiser is true width, as you are able to subtract a bit of width from the G550 based upon the body being set back from the fender flairs and running boards. Those inches can make a huge difference off road, depending on the situation.

            I wouldn’t say the Land Cruiser nor the G550 are truly “maneuverable” off road. Neither posses the turning radius of say a Jeep Wrangler or an older modified Jeep Cherokee (turn of the millennium model). The G550 “feels” a bit more “maneuverable” due to the ease of the sight lines – thin A pillars, lower door sills and the fender mounted turn signals allow you to “feel” where the wheels are. This is neigh impossible with the Land Cruiser, thus making the Land Cruiser “feel” bulkier off road. The Land Cruiser doesn’t seem as easy to “place” and “know” where each of your wheels are, which can be crucial depending on the specific situation.

            Perceptions of power can vary from person to person. To me, the Land Cruiser felt underpowered. It didn’t seem to have the low-end torque I would expect from a v8 and didn’t feel able to handle the overall weight of the truck. Your mileage may vary on that one. It’s my opinion.

            I may have made a poor assessment of the Land Cruiser. I may not be their target consumer. I may have just looked at the wrong trucks on the wrong day. Who knows? For me, the negatives outweighed the positives and I chose to move in another direction. Based upon my observations and discussions with several friends who are more hard-core off roaders than I am, I don’t think I’m too terribly off the mark. I chose what fit me and my needs best.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            MaxPower,
            Again, your assessment of the vehicle or better still, your expectations are odd.

            Looking at a Landcruiser and expecting a XJ or Wrangler manouvreability is very niaive. Especially if you are an off roading person.

            Discussing smaller 4x4s and using them as a basis for judgement and stating the Cruiser is small is odd.

            I also stated it is more manouvreable than a mid sizer.

            As for power that is a personal want.

            The vehicle you are after doesn’t exist. Or, like I stated you need to take a closer look at how you assess vehicles.

            I’m just finding it hard to get my head around what you want from a 4×4.

  • avatar
    vlangs

    The Landcruiser is expensive because the drivetrain and Toyota certifies that parts will be available without hesitation for at least 25 years.

    My uncle bought a Landcruiser in 1996 (it was a crazy 60k in 96 monies) and he gave it to my cousin in 2009 when he went to college and it still runs great to this day. they’re cars that are well built and not flashy and that’s why I like it personally. You know it’ll last forever and you don’t have to worry about your kid trying to show off (unless he/she rock crawls!).

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Good article.

    There are several models of the 200 Series available in Australia.

    The cheapest 200 Series here is the GX. It even has vinyl for the floor, but it has the twin turbo V8 diesel.

    There are a couple of issues that are a little misleading in the article. Towing for one. I really do believe the 200 Series towing the 8 100lbs would be a better bet than a pickup rated a little higher.

    Even then I don’t see many Expeditions, Tahoes, Suburbans towing, even less than pickups. Most of these vehicles (incl pickups) aren’t towing more than a tandem wheel trailer that would struggle to carry 4 000 or 5 000lbs.

    Here’s a limited review of the GX 200 Series. The recommended retail in Australia is $79 000AUD or just under $60 000USD.

    The GXL here which is a mid spec vehicle is around $88 000 or $66 000USD.

    https://www.carsguide.com.au/car-reviews/toyota-landcruiser-gx-review-11926

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “There are a couple of issues that are a little misleading in the article. Towing for one. I really do believe the 200 Series towing the 8 100lbs would be a better bet than a pickup rated a little higher.”

      Big Al while the 3UR 5.7 is a great towing motor and I’m sure the gearing is good, the Land Cruiser’s short 112 inch wheelbase would definitely make it less stable while towing than a generic half-ton pickup.

  • avatar
    MudFlap

    It’s luxury SUV for rich people who don’t want to look rich. I’m sure Toyota sell enough of these worldwide to make them worthwhile. I’d also be willing to bet the US profit margin on one of these things is staggering.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Sorry,
    I pasted in the wrong link.

    The 2017 article was a GXL. They will set you back $93kAUD or $70kUSD.

    http://www.drive.com.au/new-car-reviews/2017-toyota-landcruiser-200-series-altitude-new-car-review-20170628-gx09oh.html

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I’m amazed at how well these hold their value. 10 year old ones with 100K miles still go for $30K+, for a truck that cost $65K new. That’s incredible.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I see one of these occasionally, and I’m always impressed by them. Sure they’re ridiculously expensive, but they’re definitely off-road capable, and they’ll shame any Land Rover or Range Rover when it comes to reliability and resale value. There’s usually one sitting on the floor at the dealer where I bought my Tacoma, and I’m always drawn to look at it.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    As much as I dislike Jalopnik, this is actually a pretty good article on the Land Cruiser: http://oppositelock.kinja.com/why-the-toyota-land-cruiser-is-so-expensive-1715003811

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “It’s not aimed at the towing crowd. A $50,000 full-size half-ton anything can tow more than the Land Cruiser’s 8,100 lbs.”

    8100 lbs. is not too shabby. Yes, an F350 diesel dually can tow more for less money, but so what? It’s one dimension of a vehicle’s capability.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Moreover, Land Cruiser drivers should not be in a hurry. Despite its modest dimensions, it is as heavy or heavier than any other full-size 4X4 SUV. It even outweighs its notoriously portly near-peer, the LR4. Acceleration, steering, and cornering are languid. The Land Cruiser is the tortoise of cars. It tells its driver, Take your time, there’s no rush. Just follow that Avalon in the right lane.”

    So, this truck … drives like a … truck?

    Sold.

  • avatar
    AVT

    Having owned a 2010 model for up north use (2000+ acres of leased out farm land to keep an eye on) this review is pretty honest. The target market for these are honestly the wealthy DIY people who don’t have time to fix their jeep when it brakes or deal with the ride of 2 solid axles. It may not have the ultimate capability of a rubicon but for the intended use, its good enough. Running around on the frozen farm fields in winter is why we bought it. It works and starts every time we go to use it. Thats probably the biggest draw. People who buy these tend to own them far longer the average 12.5 year lifespan of the average vehicle. The best analogy I can give is its like a doorbell (a somewhat expensive one). You buy it once and never want to worry about it again. It might not be the fanciest (thats the Lexus LX) or the most capable (it doesn’t have customization sounds dang it, like the land cruiser lost it solid front axle) but it works for its intended function every single time within reason without ever breaking.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’d take one of these over any of its competition any day.

    As many others have said, this is the modern day Grand Wagoneer.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Me too. It’s definitely what I’m striving towards in life: secluded lake house or cabin, drive the family out there in a Land Cruiser. A man’s gotta dream!

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        It needs a factory installed humidor and mini-fridge. Lengthen the options list a bit. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Haha I’d rather go the other way. Give me some old-school Japanese quality velour interior, smaller diameter wheels, a dash without a touch screen.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            See you need the cigar in your teeth for when someone looks at your $80,000 SUV that’s smaller than their Suburban and asks you “Why?”

            The only response is “Because f*&$ you. That’s why.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’m not even sure what I’d do with it, but there’s a big part of me that wants an FJ80. It’s just timeless Toyota and, with freshly installed OEM seat covers and wood trim (still available for a couple more years if you pay $$), would look pretty until the end of time.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    After this long thread I am somewhat amazed that no one from Texas has seemingly commented…In Dallas and Houston these are the ULTIMATE status symbol for well-established, older money, to be seen in the driveway alongside an E-class wagon. I wouldn’t be surprised if the vast majority imported to the US are sold in Texas. For that reason they more or less don’t depreciate at all…

    • 0 avatar
      Carfan94

      Someone above already commented about Land Cruiser’s in Houston. I myself have seen quite a few of the new LC’s here in the Memphis area. Especially driving through the rural wealthy parts of eastern Shelby county. Just today I was coming out of the athletic club and saw a newer E-class wagon in one the handicapped spots, and thought about how nice it looked.

  • avatar
    Dann

    My in-laws own a pre-update 200-series Landcruiser VX Diesel V8 (and, coincidentally, fit into the category of well-off Australians who want to do the Outback in style). They love it.
    They owned an 1991 80-series from new until it was written off in 2015, racking up 400,000+km on the original power/drive train.
    They bought their 200 series mainly to tow their 3000+kg caravan for outback travelling, and have had nothing but good things to say about it. They’re happy with the fuel economy, space, on/off road manners – though they’d want to be at ~$105,000 AUD (approx $80k USD).
    I dare say, like their old 80-series, their ownership will be a long term proposition.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the glaring flaw with the Land Cruiser, the trunk/third row situation. The third-row of seating doesn’t fold flat into the floor, it sort of swings to the side which takes a huge chunk of cargo room and it cannot easily be removed.

    • 0 avatar
      200Series

      As the name implies, I have a Land Cruiser, and previously owned an 80 series and V8 4-runner. In the time we have owned the LC we have owned large SUVs from Audi, GMC, and Ford for comparison.

      In some respects, the LC stands alone, on top of the mountain, and it’s easy to appreciate it’s superiority while owning similar vehicles over the same time frame….versus a test drive for a day. Build quality and reliability are top notch; 50k miles with only oil changes, and fees like it did day one; no rattles; the proverbial bank vault. This is a vehicle designed over 10 years ago and posts 0-60 times of 6.5-6.7 seconds; hardly leisurely, but the throttle response is lazy if the “PWR” button is not engaged.

      The brake feel/bite is crappy and probably the only thing I dislike about the driving experience. It rides like a heavy truck, and I like that. We also have an S6, and I love hopping back into the LC after not driving it for a few days.

      The only vehicle I would consider replacing it with is a 300-series.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I think you may be on to something. I considered a new Landcruiser a couple years back, but ended up looking a lot more seriously at a Sequoia Platinum. I liked the Land Cruiser’s amazing dependability, but in the end it came down to usage and I just couldn’t get over that third row seat.

        I

  • avatar
    loner

    I’m a long-time Cruiserhead and have owned several. My most recent was a FZJ80, but I sold it to get a GX470.

    Last year the wife and I were out wasting some time at the Toyota dealer and I decided to test drive the 2017 4Runner and the 2017 Land Cruiser.

    I am one of the weirdos that likes the way the 4Runner looks, but holy cow, I kept wanting to put my foot out the door and give it a push. It felt like it had no guts. Thank you, Toyota, for taking away the V8 option in the 5th Gen 4Runners. :-( Once you oversize the tires a bit, it would lose even more power.

    The Land Cruiser was nice, and it felt really solid, but it did feel much bigger than it actually is when it comes to driving dynamics. Maybe that’s weight, maybe that’s feeling a bit under-powered, and maybe that’s a feeling of lacking interior space. Probably all three. I didn’t love it enough to sell one of my children on Craigslist, so I’ll just have to wait 15 years and buy one used.

    It was nice to get back into my GX470, the Goldilocks of Toyota 4x4s. Not too big, not too small, and that lovely V8 power. I haven’t driven a GX460, but that’s probably a good thing because I’d probably fall in love.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “holy cow, I kept wanting to put my foot out the door and give it a push. It felt like it had no guts. Thank you, Toyota, for taking away the V8 option”

      I felt the same way until I grew accustomed to the throttle calibration. Some vehicles are jumpy, with nearly all of the power seemingly accessed in the first half of pedal travel. The 4Runner is the opposite, I had to learn to push the pedal down more than I would in other vehicles. The power curve will be different, but flat-out the 5th Gen V6 4Runner isn’t much slower than a GX470 or the last-gen V8 4Runner. The Land Cruiser is quicker than all three.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This vehicle is a real Piece of Total Sh!t, particularly for what Toyota, a mere shell of its former great self, charges for it (suckers buy this and its equally sh!tty Lexus re-badge).

    No excuses, Toyota. Many of your new vehicles are hideous, unrefined, merciless, overpriced pieces of excrement, and sadly, Honda/Toyota are following you down the sewer.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      You lost the credibility to make these kinds of comments when you went giddy over a Durango.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Durango (2014+) is a best in class vehicle, and is even sweeter at its real transaction price.

        Few vehicles of the 7 seat variety (that can tow 7,000 to 9,000 pounds depending package) less than 55k (or even 65k+) ride as well, are as screwed together well, have better (or as good) NVH, or overall goodness.

        You clearly have no clue as to what you’re talking about. Try Jalopnik or write an email to Car & Driver.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Keep digging. Overall Goodness? If that’s not a real Piece of Sh!t subjective fanboy metric, I don’t know what is.

          “Try Jalopnik or write an email to Car & Driver”

          Curious advice from someone whose bombast seems to have spawned from the former and who shares his affection for the Durango with the latter.

          Look, DW, your comments are fun to read and I like the way you poke a stick into any eye available, but you seem to hate *everything* and I would think that a vehicle with the mechanical quality and probable long-term durability of the Land Cruiser would earn some grudging respect. Given the longevity and resale alone, if it’s possible there is a vehicle that isn’t a completely stupid use of eighty grand this is it.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The Durango with the ZF’clone 8nspeed is a GREAT vehicle, full stop.

            There are no qualifiers.

            The issue with this Toyota is that Toyota is lazy towards it, it costs twice as much as a well’trimmed Durango, the Toyota and its Lexus stable-mate are wretched on road (where these vehicles spend 95% to 99.9% of their time), and Toyota just takes the rest-on-laurels approach thinking that any Toyota/Lexus badge automatically deems a vehicle goodto excellent for all purposes.

            For those looking for a rugged, durable, reliable off-leader, there are so many vehicles that do as well or better than the LC costing 1/3 to 1/2 as much.

            For those looking for a vehicle that can be 89.7% more refined on road than this Toyota, and do well enough in adverse weather or even moderate backroads (where many cottages, cabins, trails to fishing spots, etc.await, there are so many better choices than this Toyota at a literal fraction of the cost.

            I’d respect Toyota so much more if they just went all in on the off-road capabilities of this, and marketed as such, instead of giving it such a high price tag and trying to present it as a good every day driver (it’s not; the same holds true for the Lexus version).

            Mercedes is even worse in this regard with the G Wagon, which is atrocious on road, even way more expensive, yet does not even have the reliability/durability reputation of the this LC (at the LC does not give off the Russian Mafia or douchebag vibe).

            Toyota can be an incredibly lazy automaker at times, encouraged by its past-earned reputation for excellence. This vehicle is an exhibit or maybe chaoter in that book.

            It’s been little changed, and is decorated and marketed differently in North American guise than it is in South African guise.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “at the LC does not give off the Russian Mafia or douchebag vibe”

            Come to Russia and see if you still have that opinion :p

            I’d say that the value factor of a Land Cruiser 200 here in the US for the average consumer is quite poor. But to those that can afford it and simply want something that they can enjoy for several decades as it takes them to the awesome secluded places they want to be with minimal worry or fuss, it is simply unrivaled.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Just a post-script on that comment –

            In this time of “Russia.n Demonizing” due to political/media/geopolitical trends, let me be clear in that I specifically referenced Russian-Mafia wannabe types with flashy things regarding the Mercedes GWagen, but the same is true of sh sets of MANY immigrant groups in the U.S. and elsewhere.

            I get along fantastically with Russian-Americans’ Ukrainian-Americans, Polish-Americans, and other eastern European groups in Michigan (I also get along extremely well with Asian-Americans, Hjspanics and Hispanic-Americans, Armenians,Northern Italians, Sicilians, etc.).

            The “baller/mafia” pretender types are a small,poser subset of any of the groups mentioned, including Russians and/or Russian-Americans, and their respective communities tend to be quite embarrassed of these outliers, generally speaking.

            I’m not being politically correct; I really feel this way – immigrants make the U.S. a way better place to live and jive and mix and hang and shuck. Russians, Ukrainians, Serbs, Croatians and eastern Europeans (such as Czechs) have some mad mechanical skills

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            DW believe me I didn’t have any perceived slight or offense at any of that, there’s a lot of truth to those stereotypes both in Russia and to a slightly lesser degree here in the US. The big difference being that a lot of the “mafia” guys here in the US (with a few notable exceptions) are big time posers compared to some truly scary folks back home. Albeit there are maybe even more posers back in Russia, driving tinted Land Cruisers trying to muscle their way through traffic, until they run into the real deal.

            And yes there’s a disproportionate number of my compatriots making their livings on CoPart.com buying wrecks, repairing, and flipping them (often in pretty shady ways as far as hiding the provenance of their vehicles). Very many people from behind the former Iron Curtain seem to be drawn to the automotive repair/sales field. They’re used to working with their hands, improvising and hunting around for parts in much more difficult circumstances. They come to the US and have a field day relatively speaking. Same being true for many Central American groups.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            DW, that was a much more informative critique, thank you. Toyota can be lazy, but that tends to result in dull and sometimes underperforming vehicles rather than crappy ones which betray the owners. The faults are generally noticeable on the test drive rather than hidden in the engineering, revealing themselves after it’s too late. This LC is a good example of that; the trucklike road manners are obvious, as are some of the less luxurious interior bits. If you’re OK with that, then it will be a long-lived and dependable vehicle for the owner. Of course it drives poorly on pavement, it’s a high-riding capable offroader that doesn’t rely on fickle and fragile adjustable suspensions. The reason the Durango drives well on pavement is similarly tied to its mission–it’s low-riding wagon prioritizing towing and people hauling and is utterly useless off pavement.

            Regardless, the current Durango certainly looks like a nice and appealing ride with a better blend of attributes for most people. But because the stink of the pig-faced rust-prone cheap ‘n nasty prior generation still clings to it, Dodge hasn’t earned any laurels to rest upon. If, in 15 years, the current Durango is still operating reliably on the road the way LCs or 4Runners have for years, then it will be a great vehicle with no qualifiers.

  • avatar
    ydnas7

    miners use these, (diesel)
    At Mt Isa Qld, I watched a new LC go underground, 2 years later it was EOL, literally I could see holes through the diff. engine still immaculate

    tough life, still a consumable, 2 year lifespan.
    other competitor was Nissan Patrol, but its electronics were not so rugged.
    Mitsubishi was a distant 3rd choice, but still in the running unlike everything else.

    oh and Suzuki’s yeah those went underground too, small car, can be lowered down a shaft.

  • avatar
    The Comedian

    Over on Steve Lang’s “Dashboard-Light.com” Land Cruisers get 100 out of 100 on reliability.

    http://www.dashboard-light.com/reports/QualityIndexRating.html

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Surprised that so few are sold. In the cities I maintain homes ( Newport Beach, Ca and Wellesley, Ma ), Land Cruisers are common. There are 4 Land Cruisers within a 5 minute walk of my Wellesley home. In Newport Beach, they are everywhere. Often, women are driving them, and they can barely see over the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      I almost forgot … Nothing is cooler among the Newport Beach snobbery than a 20 year old Land Cruiser in perfect condition to park in front of your home.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Love this car, I dated a girl whose dad only owned these, founded his own insurance co.,sat on the board of many corp.Straight out baller ride more so than a leased G wagon or Slade. This owner of the LC is the guy who founded the bank that financed the Denali or Escalade.

  • avatar
    pb35

    My wife shows people how monied we are by driving a 10 yo Volvo.

    When that dies, we’ll buy a Sequoia and throw some LC badges on it.

    Oh what a feeling!

    Seriously though, I want one of these.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Adding this to the list of vehicles I want but can’t have. Thanks Seth. I’ll just pretend I’m waiting for it to come out in a diesel manual for 40k (even though I wouldn’t buy it then either).


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