What's New for 2002
Toyota's flagship SUV receives no changes this year.
There's no such thing as too much of a good thing, right? If this is your personal mantra, Toyota has a vehicle for you: the 2002 Land Cruiser. It's big. It's powerful. It's comfortable. It's got brand cache. It hauls people and cargo through rough terrain just as easily as it hauls them to the local gigaplex. The Land Cruiser doesn't skimp on anything. Perhaps that's why it costs more than $50,000. Coming in only one version with just two available factory options (the rest are dealer-added), the Toyota Land Cruiser offers one of the best on-road performances of any truck in this segment. The Cruiser's long wheelbase contributes to a supple ride that is well damped at all four corners, and its steering is nicely balanced and weighted for such a heavy vehicle. The Land Cruiser is able to tackle the hardest terrain without breaking a sweat. What's more, this ability doesn't hamper the truck's level of control and ease of operation on the freeway and two-lane roads. Power comes from a 4.7-liter V8 that creates 230 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Based on a Lexus engine and reworked for duty in this large truck, it offers the Land Cruiser an edge in power delivery, quietness and fuel economy. Acceleration satisfies, and passing maneuvers are quite easy. ABS is standard, as is the Vehicle Skid Control and Active Trac system (it works by applying the brakes to spinning wheels and transferring torque to the wheels with the most traction), which enhance the Cruiser's prodigious abilities on and off the pavement. The Land Cruiser can seat seven people when equipped with the optional third-row seat. When not in use, this row can be split and folded toward the side of the vehicle, and when it's removed entirely, the Cruiser sports a maximum cargo capacity of 97.5 cubic feet. Features are plentiful, and the only major option is a Navigation System package that also includes a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer. Other amenities include an easy step-in height, heated and power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control and the typical Toyota allotment of quality ergonomics and switchgear.
Unlike many luxury SUVs, this one comes with a locking center differential and a button on the dash that lowers the antenna to clear low-hanging branches. First and foremost, the Land Cruiser is designed to be driven off-road. The magic is in how composed it behaves on pavement, where most buyers travel. While not best in the class in terms of urban driving dynamics, it certainly beats most truck-based competitors when it comes time to run to the grocery store. Land Cruiser faces stiff competition from the Lincoln Navigator, redesigned Cadillac and GMC luxo-utes from General Motors, and the BMW X5. Some may offer better value and more size for the dollar, others might perform brilliantly on the highway, but not one of them is able to beat this capable Toyota where true truck buyers think it matters -- in the bush.