The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser is the latest version of the oldest model in the Toyota portfolio. The primitive Jeep knock-off that would one day become the Land Cruiser was first introduced back in the early '50s. In 1958, Toyota's first full year selling new vehicles in the United States, the carmaker sold 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and?one Land Cruiser. Since then, the Land Cruiser has relentlessly evolved into the large, luxurious and indomitable vehicle that is, by far, the most expensive new car or truck sold under the Toyota brand.
Oh yeah, it's also spectacularly well built, legendarily reliable and able to overcome almost any terrain. This thing is a brilliantly comfortable and a fiercely capable brute.
The current-generation Land Cruiser has been in production since the 2008 model year and its age is apparent in some of the ad hoc modifications used to adapt the latest technology expected at its lofty price point. If you expect to find a powered rear liftgate, forget it. And the third row of seats is really a pair of foldaway jump seats that seem like afterthoughts. None of this detracts from the Cruiser's indomitable character, and this isn't some sort of wimpy crossover either.
It's expected that a new Land Cruiser will appear soon. But Toyota only sells a handful of these battlewagons every year in America, so the company may not be in a rush. Besides its enduring appeal is the fact it doesn't look like some overpolished luxury vehicle.
Like a proper truck, the Land Cruiser is built over a rugged ladder frame and uses a solid rear axle that's likely to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Only one engine is offered; the same 5.7-liter, 32-valve V8 that's an option in the Tundra pickup. The big V8 is rated at 381 horsepower and is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission that feeds a dual-range, full-time all-wheel-drive transfer case.
Fuel economy? In this massive thing? Keep in mind that Toyota lists its curb weight at 5,815 pounds ? about 500 pounds more than the slightly larger Chevrolet Tahoe ? and it's apparent it wasn't engineered with fuel economy in mind. So the EPA rates the Land Cruiser 15 mpg combined (13 city/18 highway). If fuel mileage is what matters, your Toyota dealer also sells the Prius.
There's only one trim level of Land Cruiser and it's loaded. But if that's not luxurious enough, the same basic vehicle is available from Toyota's luxury division as the Lexus LX 570. The Lexus is more expensive and better appointed, but its abilities are uncompromised.
With the limited numbers of Japanese-made Land Cruisers exported to the United States, finding one in a dealer's inventory can be difficult. But fortunately you're already on Edmunds where we can hunt one down for you, introduce you to a great dealer and ensure you get a satisfying deal.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.