Full 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Review
What's New for 2011
The Toyota Land Cruiser carries over unchanged from the 2010 model year.
The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser is an icon for Toyota, but it's also like a misfit at a high school dance. At a time when every manufacturer is trying to create a light-duty carlike crossover, the Land Cruiser continues to stay true to its 53-year history in America as a tough, all-terrain sport-utility vehicle. But to blend into the dance of stylish crossovers in the marketplace, the Land Cruiser has packaged its go-anywhere capability within a well-appointed shell.
At the heart of this full-size SUV is a 5.7-liter V8 that pumps out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque and it's been specifically designed to allow the Land Cruiser to either scramble up a craggy peak. Full-time four-wheel drive with low-range gearing further enhances the Land Cruiser's off-road capability, as does its "Crawl Control," a three-speed hill ascent and descent mode in which the throttle and brake are electronically manipulated to maintain a constant, controllable speed over challenging terrain, freeing the driver to concentrate on the obstacles ahead.
Both on- and off-road abilities are enhanced with Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which automatically controls the front and rear antiroll bars depending on the driving conditions. Basically, this allows for more body control while cornering on pavement, a smoother ride on the highway and greater wheel articulation (travel) when navigating an off-road trail.
As a large SUV, the 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser is a strong choice in the segment. True, it is quite expensive compared to most other large SUVs. But when looking at other direct competitors -- the 2011 Land Rover Range Rover and 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, for instance -- you'll likely find each falls well short on capability or value for the dollar. At the same time, the 2011 Land Rover LR4 offers similar capabilities but is notably cheaper.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser is a full-size luxury SUV available in just one well-appointed trim level.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated and power-folding mirrors, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions and adjustable lumbar, leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 14-speaker JBL audio system with a six-CD changer and an iPod/USB audio interface. The aforementioned KDSS also comes standard.
Most options are bundled into the pricey Upgrade package that includes a rear spoiler, a rear-seat entertainment system, a navigation system, real-time traffic update feature, a back-up camera, wood interior trim, heated second-row seats and a center console cooler box. The navigation system and rear spoiler can be ordered as stand-alone options, however.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and a full-time four-wheel-drive system with high- and low-range gearing.
In Edmunds performance testing of the almost mechanically identical Lexus LX 570, a sprint from zero to 60 mph took 7.4 seconds. EPA fuel mileage ratings stand at 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 15 mpg combined. Properly equipped, this SUV can tow 8,200 pounds.
Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes (with brake assist and multi-terrain programming), stability control, front and second-row side airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser also receives Toyota's Safety Connect telematics system, which is similar to GM's OnStar, notifying emergency responders if the airbags deploy or if a severe rear-end collision is detected.
The optional advanced seatbelt system (which is included with the Upgrade package) will tighten the front seatbelts when the brakes are suddenly applied or when tire slippage is detected by the stability control system. And as with all of Toyota's 2011 models, the Land Cruiser also has the company's "Smart Stop," a throttle override/brake enhancement system.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2011 Land Cruiser's interior is as refined as a Toyota gets, with high-quality materials and excellent fit and finish. The cabin can accommodate eight passengers, though we'd recommend the third row only for kids because of the flat seat bottom and high floor. Access to the third row is eased via a one-touch tumble-forward second-row seat. Middle-row occupants fare better with more space, along with slide and recline adjustments.
With the rear seats in place, cargo space is 16 cubic feet or about the same as a midsize car's trunk. The third-row seats do not fold down, nor are they removable. Instead, they fold up against the sides of the cargo bay -- a rather awkward solution. Consequently, the Cruiser's maximum cargo capacity is modest at 82 cubic feet, which is a relatively small figure for a large SUV.
As with previous Toyota Land Cruisers, the 2011 model has excellent off-road capability while still delivering a thoroughly comfortable ride on urban streets. When exploring the untamed wilds, the Land Cruiser's crawl control takes much of the worry out of the hands (or feet) of the driver. Uphill or down, simply dial in the desired speed (as low as 1 mph), keep your feet off the gas and brake pedals, and steer in the desired direction.
In the more maddening wilds of the urban jungle, the 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser behaves like the civilized luxury SUV it's intended to be, soaking up bumps with composure and insulating driver and passengers from the outside world. When faced with curvy roads, the Land Cruiser remains relatively flat through corners, feeling surprisingly confident for such a large and heavy vehicle -- a lot of credit goes to the KDSS active antiroll bars. Performance is also strong, with the 5.7-liter V8 furnishing plenty of thrust for passing, towing or effortless freeway cruising, but expect it to be thirsty.