Toyota Land Cruiser review - Engines, performance and drive
The Land Cruiser can't match the refinement of European 4x4 rivals, but you'd choose it for an outback adventure
On the road, the Land Cruiser feels like the tall, heavy car that it is. There's a fair amount of lean through corners and the steering could do with being a bit sharper, although you soon get used to it – and frankly, this isn’t a car that was designed to be hurried. Comfort is generally good, but the car fidgets and thumps around on rough surfaces, and the steering kicks back lazily if you hit a pothole. The Land Cruiser doesn’t glide up the road in the same way a Land Rover Discovery does.
It's worth mentioning, though, that the Toyota comes into its own when you venture off the tarmac. It’s a genuinely hardcore off-roader in a category that has become a little confused by the arrival of lifestyle ‘crossover’ models such as the Mercedes GLE and the Audi Q7.
For improved traction over rugged terrain, the Land Cruiser benefits from a low-ratio gearbox and lockable centre differential, while the Off-Road Pack (standard on Invincible cars, a £2,800 option on Icon) adds a suite of off-road assistance systems. Plus, thanks to Toyota’s legendary reliability, you can depend on this 4x4 not only to take you into the wilderness, but also to get you back out of it.
There's just one engine in the Land Cruiser line-up: a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel with 174bhp. Specify it with the automatic transmission (standard on Active models and above), and it serves up 450Nm of torque, while it delivers 420Nm if you go for the Utility with the six-speed manual box.
The engine replaced the old 3.0-litre V6 in the middle of 2015, and while it does a good job of lugging around the heavy 4x4, it never feels particularly brisk. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 12.1 seconds in the six-speed manual model or 12.7 seconds in the automatic. Top speed is 109mph, so unlike most of its crossover-style competitors, the Land Cruiser is unlikely to be found hogging the outside lane of motorways.
The engine also feels quite rough compared to the smoother six-cylinder diesels you get in off-roaders from Land Rover, Mercedes and BMW. They of course have been developed with more focus on the ‘lifestyle’ element of the SUV market, while the Land Cruiser is still primarily conceived as a luxurious and effective off-road workhorse for markets around the globe, and that torque figure means it'll be good for towing and off-roading. With only four cylinders that means there's less to go wrong, boosting reliability.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Toyota Land Cruiser is the ideal car for when the going gets tough, and offers surprisingly good value
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Land Cruiser can't match the refinement of European 4x4 rivals, but you'd choose it for an outback adventure
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Land Cruiser won't be cheap to run, but it's reliable and is predicted to hold its value well
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Land Cruiser has strong presence, but while the interior offers plenty of toys, the design feels a bit dated
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Land Cruiser is a practical choice, although the optional third row of seats eats into the huge boot space
- 6Reliability and SafetyA reputation for peerless reliability and good safety credentials should make the Land Cruiser a good bet