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1999 4x4 of the Year: Toyota Land Cruiser

Posted in Project Vehicles on February 1, 1999
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Photographers: 4-Wheel & Off-Road Staff

1999 4x4 of the Year Models: Toyota Land Cruiser

•Axles articulate well
•Second row seats recline
•It's fan-fargin'-tastic on fire roads

•Body roll in corners
•Power to weight ratio hurt it in sand
•Only one suspension-comfort choice

Poor Toyota Land Cruiser. It must spend much of its time suffering from the "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" syndrome that comes with having a Lexus as family. Everything the Toy does or has is no doubt compared to the ultrarefined LX 470. But you tuck away that sympathy, kids-if the Jeep needed to perspire over its 4x4 of the Year standing, it was on account of the tenacious Cruiser.

First, it equaled the Lexus in urban feel and edged it out of braking and acceleration. Then it outscored the Jeep for highway bragging rights. And let's not even go near how on fire it was as it blazed down the bouncing boonies in excess of 70 mph without fear-the city's body roll and over- and understeer were vacant from the equation, while the suspension was workin' it better than it had on cement, not that it was any lemon there.

So why'd it come thisclose to dethroning the champ but couldn't pull it off? The Lexus-lite uses the same 4.7L V-8, yet its GVWR hampered it as well, fetching middle-of-the-pack quarter-mile time. Though the center diff lock was fine, the Toyota's biggest reason for falling behind the Jeep was that it didn't have the optional rear diff lock, making work of steep hills, something the Jeep, the Lexus, and even the Ford F-350 found simpler. Also, scaling sand hills started out promising, but there just wasn't enough power to overcome the weight, and neither it nor the Lexus' steering turned well in the grit.

But beyond that, what's not to like? There was no engine or wind noise, the seats were softer than the Lexus', and hurray for interior simplicity-you want A/C? Easy to find. You need the radio? No problem. Ergonomically, it couldn't go wrong, and its looks, while nothing cutting-edge, were still voted finest of the batch. Its engine bay was immaculate, and the transmission was just as talented as the LX 470's, although having a firmer setting to choose from for the suspension would not have been a hated thing. Another not-good was that it took about four people and the owner's manual to figure out how to remove and hook up the jack to change a tire.

Yet the biggest question of all is, is this the poor boy's Lexus? Why spend $51,432 when for $6,000 more you could have a slightly finer machine? Maybe competitively pricing it closer to a Grand Cherokee rather than to its own kind would have also improved its chances.

Bottom line
Everything you could want from an Lexus LX 470 and less.


Manufacturer Toyota
Model Land Cruiser Wagon
Base Price $46,478
Price as Tested $51,432
Options as Tested Leather Trim Package
(leather-faced seating, material, and headrests); Third Seat Package (50/50 split folding and removable rear seat with outboard headrests; rear power quarter windows; rear cupholders and assist grips; and child protector rear hatch lock); power tilt/slide moonroof with one-touch open/close with pinch protection); carpet/cargo mat set; and drop hitch.

Type DOHC V-8
Displacement (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/286
Bore & Stroke (inches) 3.70x3.31
Compression Ratio 9.6:1
Induction Type Electronic fuel injection
Fuel Requirement/Capacity (gallons) 87 Octane
Unleaded regular/25.4
SAE Peak Horsepower 230 @ 4,800 rpm
SAE Peak Torque (lb-ft) 320 @ 3,600 rpm

Type Four-speed ECT automatic overdrive
Model Isen-Warner
Ratios First: 2.804:1; Second: 1.531:1;
Third: 1.00:1; Fourth: 0.753:1; Reverse: 2.393:1

Transfer Case
Type Full-time two-speed
Model Isen-Warner
Low-Range Ratio 2.488:1

Front Type IFS
Rear Type Solid
Hubs NA
Ratio 4.30:1

Front Lower torsion-bar-type double wishbone
Rear Four-link coil spring type and control arms

Type Power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Turns Lock-to-Lock/Ratio 3.8/19.8:1
Turning Radius (feet) 39.7

Size (inches) 16x8
Material Alloy

Size P275/70R16
Brand Dunlop Grand Trek

Brake System
Front 12-inch ventilated discs
Rear 12-inch ventilated discs

Advertised GVWR (pounds) 6,860

As Tested (mpg) 12.67

Standing 1/4-mile (seconds @ mph) 18.06 @ 75.69

60-0 mph (feet) 116.77

Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase 113
Overall Length 193.875
Overall Width 85
Overall Height 72.75
Front/Rear Track 63.75/63.5
Front/Rear Overhang 19/30.5
Minimum Front Ground Clearance 8.25

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