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Used Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup


Used Toyota Land Cruiser Pickup

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Is the Toyota Land Cruiser a good car?

Read our expert review

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Words by: Ivan Aistrop

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Additional words by: Dan Trent

"The Toyota Land Cruiser may not be the most fashionable 4x4 out there and, by many comparisons, it looks pretty outdated. But its reputation for go-anywhere toughness remains unchallenged, to the point it will go places even a Land Rover Defender or Mercedes-Benz G-Class would fear to tread. While its true abilities are probably overkill for the school run in places where the driving conditions are at their toughest the Land Cruiser is king for a reason."


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Running costs for a Toyota Land Cruiser


While it’s been updated several times over the years this generation of Land Cruiser has been around since 2009, and its running costs are from the old-school for big, heavy and diesel-powered 4x4s. This means you get clobbered on the first year VED/road tax while, even with the improved engine added in 2020, fuel consumption is going to be pretty hefty – a double whammy given how much more diesel costs at the time of writing. It’s also quite a big jump from the Active trim level to the Invincible you’ll probably want for the extra features, standard seven-seat configuration and ongoing residual values. If this all sounds a bit grim remember the Land Cruiser’s appeal lies outside that of more fashion conscious SUVs, the return on investment being one of the toughest, most dependable vehicles you could buy anywhere.

Reliability of a Toyota Land Cruiser


There’s an old off-roading joke from back in the day that if you wanted to go anywhere you’d take a Land Rover, but if you wanted to come back again a Land Cruiser was the only choice. In more remote parts of the world where reliability can literally be life or death that remains a consideration, and a reason for this big Toyota’s legendary reputation for toughness and dependability. That’s expressed with the option to extend the standard three-year warranty to up to 10 years or 100,000 miles if you stick to annual services with a Toyota dealer.

Safety for a Toyota Land Cruiser


The reassuring substance of the Land Cruiser is a reason for confidence but that heft is backed up with the usual airbags and Isofix points. It’s a pity, though, that the driver assistance tech modern drivers expect is only featured on the top (and considerably more expensive) Invincible trim level. This includes uprated automatic emergency braking with after dark detection of cyclists and pedestrians, cruise control that maintains a fixed distance to the car in front and automated steering nudges to keep you in lane. All good. But in this day and age it should be standard across the range. Elsewhere if you choose to tow with your Land Cruiser (and many will) there’s the reassurance of an anti-sway system that automatically uses the brakes to keep you tracking true.

How comfortable is the Toyota Land Cruiser


Some people criticise Land Cruiser for feeling dated on the inside. While it is true that the button-heavy, upright centre console and sturdy plastics are not at the cutting-edge of interior design they are, however, entirely fit for purpose. The large, chunky controls are easy to operate, even when wearing gloves, and a high, comfortable driving position is confidence inspiring. A Volvo XC90 or Audi Q7 feels light years ahead for poshness. But they also cost more, and while some of the plastics in the Toyota seem hard and shiny, there is no denying how robust they are. The base Active model can be had as a three-door with five seats, but otherwise you get five doors as standard, and either five or seven seats. Most family buyers will be best served by the seven-seater. The third row of seats folds away easily enough for when you don’t need to carry the whole five-a-side team, and the middle seats slide forward and back to free up extra space for those sat right at the back. Whatever layout you go for, there’s plenty of space in the front and middle seats due to the length of the car. There is still a reasonable boot in seven-seat configuration, but if you switch to five you get an impressively huge load area. However, the old-school side-hinged rear door needs a lot of space to open fully, so it’s lucky you can pop open the rear window separately to drop stuff in. The slow steering and soft ride meanwhile contribute to the Land Cruiser’s relaxed character and it does a pretty good line in comfort as well. The high-end models we tested come with an adaptive suspension that gives a cushioned, floaty motorway ride but the way the Land Cruiser is constructed does mean sharp ridges will cause the odd jolt and judder to enter the cabin. But this is a small price to pay for the Land Cruiser’s superlative off-road abilities.

Features of the Toyota Land Cruiser


After an update in 2020 the range has been simplified to just two trim levels. This includes an update to the previously antiquated infotainment system to a much improved one with a 9.0-inch screen and – thank goodness – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. On the top trim it also has Toyota’s in-house navigation but previous experience of this suggests you’ll probably still be using your apps. This grade also gets you an upgraded JBL speaker system, which is appreciated, and a host of other welcome features. In Land Cruiser style these are not mere fripperies but also extend to additional hardware in the transmission and suspension to further improve off-road ability. If you can stretch to it, then, this ‘Invincible’ trim is the one to really do justice to the Land Cruiser’s abilities.

Power for a Toyota Land Cruiser


All Land Cruisers are powered by a four-cylinder 2.8-litre diesel engine, upgraded in 2020 with a significant power boost to a more healthy sounding 204 horsepower. Of course, savvy off-road drivers will know it’s torque that really matters and here the Land Cruiser is much more impressive, especially with the automatic gearbox’s increased rating and extra muscle. Good job, because it’s not the fastest of its type and, paired with an engine that makes its presence felt under hard acceleration, it’s best to just play to its strengths and take it easy.

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