Over the years the Toyota Land Cruiser has aged gracefully. It has a classic shape that is instantly recognizable and welcomes you with an old-school seating position, large glass area, low beltline, and clean sightlines in every direction. The wide, flat hood covers the newly upgraded 275hp DOHC 4.7L V-8, which exists in perfect harmony with the five-speed automatic transmission.
Testers praised the Toyota for its refined ride, confident handling, and supple suspension. The interior accommodations are top-notch, and the big Cruiser has storage solutions throughout the cabin. The Cruiser was mid-pack on acceleration, but nearly tied the Range Rover with world-class braking numbers, and won our RTI flex contest with a ramp score of 573. Also the ample underbody protection and recovery points leave nothing to chance in the backcountry.
For a body style that has essentially been around since 1998, the Land Cruiser still sets the standard in the segment. While it may not be an all-out trail champ like the H3, or offer the pavement ride of the Range Rover Sport or Commander, it shares most of their strengths with very few of their weaknesses.
If we had to nitpick, we'd love to see Toyota add a rear locker, and update the navigation interface, which looks dated next to the competition. Also, we could say we'd like to see a little more grunt from the V-8, but we'd really be pulling at straws here.
The Toyota Land Cruiser packs classic styling, authentic four-wheeling heritage, and modern capability in a pleasing, go-anywhere package that is both at home on the highway and the trail. We applaud Toyota for manufacturing such a competent vehicle that appeals to the everyday user without forgetting about the true 4x4 enthusiasts who will no doubt find themselves on an off-pavement adventure.
What's Hot: More powerful V-8, maneuverable chassis, serene cabin, classic styling, eight-passenger seating
What's Not: No rear locker, complicated HVAC controls, pricey
Our Take: A traditionalist's SUV that is still the standard in today's competitive market
From the Logbook:
* "A lever for the transfer case - two thumbs up!"
* "Suspension set on High still rides nice, unlike the Land Rover."
* "Hard to believe the most expensive in the test is a Toyota."
* "Fantastic visibility."
* "It has a tailgate - need I say more?"