For more than six decades, the Toyota Land Cruiser has been synonymous with all-conquering, all-terrain prowess and rugged dependability. Early models from the 1950s, known as the BJ-type Land Cruisers, were similar in appearance to U.S. Army Jeeps. They were powered by a small four-cylinder engine and were strictly utilitarian. Slightly less spartan were the six-cylinder-powered FJ20s. But it was the 1960 introduction of the now-iconic FJ40 that secured the Land Cruiser name in history.
Since then, the Toyota Land Cruiser has grown in size, adopted a four-door body style and become much more focused on broad consumer appeal with an increasing number of luxury-oriented features. As such, it is a fairly expensive SUV at this point, new or used. But whatever recent model you look at, you'll find the Land Cruiser thankfully maintains its core off-road principles and unassailable reputation for dependability.
Current Toyota Land Cruiser
As ever, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a large SUV on a traditional body-on-frame design, though it's admirably difficult to discern this from the luxurious cabin. Motivation is provided by a 5.7-liter V8 that churns out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels via the Land Cruiser's full-time 4WD system with selectable low-range gearing.
Off-road capabilities are bolstered by a long list of specific equipment. "Crawl Control" enhances the drivetrain's capability by maintaining a fixed ultra-slow velocity for hard-core trail-busting. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) enables the front and rear antiroll bars to stiffen or relax automatically as conditions change; the theoretical payoff is both flatter cornering and superior wheel articulation for off-road applications. The only sour note here is that ground clearance and approach, departure and break-over angles have been reduced slightly from the last Land Cruiser.
You'd never guess the Land Cruiser had such superb off-road capabilities from within the stately cabin. Feature highlights for the all-inclusive no-options Land Cruiser include leather upholstery, wood trim, a four-zone climate control system, a navigation system, a 14-speaker audio system, three rows of seating for up to eight people and parking sensors all around. Even a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, center-console cooler box and Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system are included.
In our reviews, we've expressed admiration for the Land Cruiser's on-road performance and composure, as well as its sumptuous accommodations. Buyers should take note that the third-row seats are really only suitable for kids, though. The rare individuals who will explore the Land Cruiser's full off-road potential may also find themselves running out of ground clearance on more demanding expeditions. Even with these drawbacks in mind, however, the Toyota Land Cruiser is in a very special class of its own.
Read the most recent 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Toyota Land Cruiser page.