In-depth reviews

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 a lockable centre differential, 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. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

There's just one engine in the Land Cruiser line-up: a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel with 201bhp and 500Nm of torque. 

The engine replaced the old 3.0-litre V6 in the middle of 2015, and originally developed 174bhp/450Nm. While it did a good job of lugging around the heavy 4x4, it never felt particularly brisk, so the power hike in 2020 was a welcome upgrade. The Land Cruiser is now able to complete 0-62mph in 9.3s, which is a useful improvement over its previous 12.1s time.

The engine does feel 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.

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