Toyota Land Cruiser 4×4 (2009 – ) review
Read the Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (2009 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives.
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The Toyota Land Cruiser has always looked like it could handle all that Mother Nature could throw at it and the latest ‘Cruiser is no exception. Bodywork ahead of the front wheels (known as the overhang) has been reduced for improved off-road ability. The headlamps give the Land Cruiser a more awkward face than the previous model, while the rear light design is more or less carried over.
The Toyota Land Cruiser misses the mark when it comes to internal aesthetics with a muddle of dials, knobs and switches, and a box on top of the dash – which houses a colour screen – looks like an afterthought. The wood trim around the cabin doesn’t do much to brighten things. On the plus side, the main instrument panel is easy to read.
Occupants are not left wanting for space. There’s plenty of it in the cabin and in the boot, where there’s 621 litres of room. The tailgate is side hinged which affords excellent access when parked in a open space – park back to a wall in a multi-story and it’s difficult to access the boot. On seven seat models, the third row folds flat into the floor, and on higher spec models this can be done electrically. The LC5 range topper has cameras to avoid damage when driving off-road.
Ride and handling
The Toyota Land Cruiser’s unashamedly off-road abilities hamper its prowess on the tarmac. The BMW X5, Volvo XC90 and Land Rover Discovery handle better. Toyota cite the Land Cruiser’s “body on frame” construction (opposed to the more common “monocoque” one-piece chassis and frame) as helping to isolate the driver from vibrations, and the car proves to be very comfortable. The suspension is soft too, which is good for comfort but bad for handling. There’s a fair bit of roll through bends, although the advanced suspension counters the worst of this, and the steering is slower than many of its rivals. The Land Cruiser rarely feels nimble.
Just one engine is offered in the Toyota Land Cruiser: a 3-litre diesel engine matched to a five-speed automatic gearbox. It develops 171bhp and 302lb/ft of pulling power, meaning its good for an 11.7 second dash to 62mph and a 109mph maximum. The engine is well refined, lacks the power of some of its rivals, but it will pull a braked trailer up to 3,000kgs.
Starting at £33,000, the Toyota Land Cruiser is pretty good value, but the price rises rapidly as the equipment levels increase. CO2 emissions of 214g/km aren’t bad in comparison with its rivals, neither is its 35mpg average.
Reliability is traditionally a strong suit for Toyota, and particularly the Land Cruiser; after all this is a car built to cross deserts and jungles miles from the nearest garage.
The Toyota Land Cruiser hasn’t been put through the Euro NCAP crash test rating, but should perform well in a crash, with its tough body on frame construction. It comes with a host of safety kit, including seven airbags, whiplash-reducing headrests, adaptive headlights, anti-lock braking (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist and traction and stability control. Additionally it features a host of off-road specific equipment, including advanced ABS and traction control and hill start and descent assistance.
There are three grades of Land Cruiser available: LC3, LC4 and LC5. All models feature cruise control, air-con, Bluetooth and alloy wheels. The LC4 adds triple-zone climate control, automatic headlights, wipers and dimming mirror; front and rear park sensors, electric front seat adjustment, three rows of seats, electrically-folding third row seating, leather trim and a JBL stereo with sat-nav and hard drive. The LC5 also receives a sunroof, external cameras and rear seat entertainment.
There are 4×4s which offer better driving dynamics, but few with as much off-road DNA. The Toyota Land Cruiser is a comfortable car which is capable of driving almost anywhere.