The Toyota Land Cruiser is a premium 4×4 of the old generation. Its aims are to offer high levels of build quality, vast amounts of space as well as go anywhere ability.
But the humble high-end SUV has evolved now and competition is coming from brands that are taking a whole new approach to what a big 4×4 should be. Granted they aren’t as established as the Land Cruiser, who’s history dates back almost 70 years, but does it have enough to still compete with the very best in class.
On the road
Power takes the form of a 174bhp 2.8-litre diesel, which in any normal car would be plenty, but because the Land Cruiser weighs in at over two tonnes, it does mean performance is somewhat laboured.
It’s also not an especially refined place to be, wind and road noise is intrusive, not as much as a Mitsubishi Shogun, but its not in the same league as a Range Rover. Drive it carefully and you’ll struggle to get 40 miles per gallon, which for a car of this size, isn’t that bad.
The latest batch of SUVs from the likes of BMW, Audi, even Skoda and SEAT are nimble and agile, but the same can’t be said for the Toyota. It feels laboured and overweight, the steering is slow to respond and vague and there’s lots of body lean through the bends.
Take it off road though, and it has all the toys to get you into the back and beyond. It has permanent four wheel drive, with diff locks, low and hi range gear ratios and even adjustable air suspension which adjusts the ride height on higher spec models. There’s an old saying in Australia, if you want to go into the outback, take a Land Rover, if you want to come back, take a Toyota. That’s exactly what you get with the Land Cruiser.
In the cabin
Drivers will not have any issues when it comes to comfort, the seats are fully adjustable and offer armchair levels of comfort. They’re not exactly supportive though, so when you start going through twisty corners, you may find yourself sliding around a bit.
The dash is a little cluttered with buttons scattered all over the place and it will take some getting used to, especially the infotainment system with is a little dated. The 7.0inch screen is fiddly to use and the icons are small, plus the menus are confusing.
More disappointingly, the cabin materials aren’t really up to the best in class, or what we’d expect for a car at this price point. They’re pretty durable and hardwearing, just not as premium as we’d like.
It’s not all bad though, space is one of the major plus points for the Land Cruiser. Seven seats come as standard, and no matter where you find yourself sitting you’ll have good head and leg room. If you fold down the third row of seats, you’ll find a huge boot, the only frustration is that side hinged tailgate, which is quite heavy and you’ll need a lot of space behind the car to open it fully.
At least you wont be found wanting when it comes to equipment levels, all models coming with climate and cruise control, power door mirrors, DAB radio, Bluetooth, Keyless entry and rear parking camera.
The Land Cruiser is safe, secure, reliable and well equipped, but you will have to factor in some pretty poor residual values and high running costs if you’re going to buy one. It’s also capable in the rough stuff and has more than enough space to cope with whatever most demanding families with throw at it.