The Toyota Land Cruiser nameplate has long stood for an off-road oriented workhorse, with uncompromising ability to tackle whatever the trail throws at it. However, the most recent versions also manage to pamper their occupants as well.
2008 to Present: Toyota Land Cruiser
While it started off a bit like the Japanese Jeep CJ, the modern Land Cruiser and the very similar Lexus LX have evolved into what’s basically Toyota’s answer to the Range Rover. Today’s Land Cruiser is swathed in leather and wood. It also comes with every convenience to make the ride comfortable, no matter the road surface.
Since 1991, the Land Cruiser has offered seating for up to eight people over three rows. The Land Cruiser is larger than midsize SUVs, but also smaller than full-size, truck-based competitors. Four-wheel drive is standard, along with the ability to engage low-range gearing. Later models also offer cameras and other technologies to make off-roading easier.
The current iteration of the Toyota Land Cruiser was introduced for 2008. It comes with a 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 engine that’s shared with the Toyota Tundra. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard when the Land Cruiser debuted.
Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with memory settings and a sunroof. Four-wheel drive was also included along with locking differentials, low range gearing, crawl control and hill start assist – all controlled with buttons and switches on the center console.
Common upgrades include heated and cooled front seats, a surround-view camera, a rear-seat entertainment system, navigation, a chilled box in the center console and other niceties.
From 2009 through 2011, the Land Cruiser went unchanged aside from minor equipment upgrades, and no 2012 model was produced.
The Land Cruiser was subtly updated for 2013, with a new grille and some interior refinements. Additionally, all previously optional features – which include cooled front seats, a rear entertainment system and navigation – became standard equipment.
For 2016, the Land Cruiser received a host of upgrades. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaced the old six-speed unit for better performance and fuel economy. Toyota’s Entune infotainment system and a suite of safety technologies were added, which included blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection and forward collision warning.
Earlier Toyota Land Cruiser Models
The Land Cruiser was redesigned for 1998. A 230-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8 replaced the outgoing model’s six-cylinder engine to provide power that was comparable to what other large luxury SUVs offered at the time. A four-speed automatic remained the only transmission, also tied to full-time four-wheel drive. The suspension was redesigned to make on-road driving more comfortable and secure.
Leather upholstery and a few other features became standard in 2000, and the four-wheel drive system was revised.
A navigation system was offered starting in 2001.
For 2003, the Land Cruiser got a new five-speed automatic transmission and five more horsepower to go with a new grille and new wheels. The interior was updated, and newly available features included side air bags and a rear-seat entertainment system.
The Land Cruiser gained a new grille and an available adaptive suspension system for 2006. A revised engine also brought horsepower up to a claimed 275, which is a notable increase over earlier models.
Side air bags and curtain air bags became standard for 2007, while engine output was revised to 265 horsepower.