Full 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser Review
What's New for 2006
For 2006, Toyota has fitted the Land Cruiser's V8 with variable valve-timing technology, and the result is a welcome increase of 40 horsepower (to 275) over last year's model. Other changes this year include a standard tire-pressure monitor system, a newly optional automatic height-control and suspension and minor exterior styling revisions, which include a new grille, headlamps and taillamps.
There's no such thing as too much of a good thing, right? If this is your personal mantra, Toyota has an SUV for you: the Land Cruiser. It's big. It's powerful. It's comfortable. It's got brand cachet. It hauls people and cargo through rough terrain just as easily as it hauls them to the local movie theater. The Toyota Land Cruiser doesn't skimp on anything. Perhaps that's why it costs well over $50,000. For almost half a century, Toyota has been selling Land Cruiser SUVs in America. The first ones arrived Stateside in 1958. From 1961 to 1965, the "FJ" was Toyota's best-selling model. These early versions still have a loyal following both here and worldwide due to their rugged personality and outstanding durability and reliability. The current fifth-generation model was introduced in 1997. It is a far cry from the original. Luxury features are plentiful. It comes in only one version with minimal available factory options (the rest are dealer-added).
The Toyota Land Cruiser offers some of the best on-road performance of any truck in this segment. Its 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. This Toyota SUV 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. The Land Cruiser faces stiff competition from several luxury SUVs. Some may offer better value and more size for the dollar, and others might perform brilliantly on the highway, but only the Land Rover and the VW can take on this capable Toyota where true truck buyers think it matters -- in the brush. Easily able to hold its own in this setting, the 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser is also backed by something its competitors can't simply engineer into their vehicles -- Toyota's legendary reputation for quality and dependability.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The full-size, eight-passenger Toyota Land Cruiser comes only one way -- loaded up. Highlights include leather seating, power-adjustable and heated front seats, a JBL audio system with an in-dash CD changer, a moonroof and separate automatic climate control systems for front and rear passengers. On the options list, you'll find major items like a DVD-based navigation system with rearview backup camera, a rear-seat DVD-based entertainment system, and a new suspension system that can automatically adjust both ride height and shock damping for improved performance both on- and off-road. You'll also find satellite radio, a tow hitch, a roof rack and running boards on the options list.
Powertrains and Performance
Power comes from a 4.7-liter V8 that generates 275 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. While certainly not the most powerful engine in this class, the Land Cruiser's smooth acceleration satisfies, and passing maneuvers are rarely a problem. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is four-wheel drive with low-range gearing for off-roading. Should you want to tow, the Land Cruiser, properly equipped, can lug up to 6,500 pounds.
The Toyota Land Cruiser comes standard with Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control (TRAC), an antilock brake system (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and BrakeAssist. On the options list, you'll find an airbag package with regular side airbags for front occupants, along with side curtain airbags and a rollover sensor that offers chest and head protection for first- and second-row outboard passengers.
Interior Design and Special Features
Thanks to the multitude of features and comfortable seating in the first and second rows, this is a very enjoyable SUV to spend time in. Total passenger capacity is eight. When not in use, the third row can be split in half, folded to either side of the cargo bay and stored in an upright position; when it's removed entirely, the Toyota SUV sports a maximum cargo capacity of 97.5 cubic feet.
Unlike many other luxury SUVs, the 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser 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, an attribute made even stronger by this year's optional adjustable suspension system. 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.