The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Toyota Land Cruiser nameplate is famed for its robust nature and off-road ability. In this guise, it is mated to a seven-seat body and meaty V8 engine. Reliability is beyond reproach.
Reasons to buy:
- Decent value
- Go anywhere capability
How good does it look?
The Toyota Land Cruiser V8 4×4 is a monster, both in stature and looks. When a car is this big, there’s little that can be done to disguise its bulk. Enormous front headlights and an imposing grille dominate the front end, while at the rear the wide tailgate has a low loading sill. A totally new design, only the rear suspension is carried over, and in some markets it is sold as a Lexus, such is the attention to detail and level of prestige that Toyota has built into it.
What's the interior like?
The cabin of the Toyota Land Cruiser is attractively designed and well laid-out with dashes of wood and sumptuous leather trim throughout. All of the fittings feel reassuringly solid and built to last, though the wood trim looks a touch dated. There’s a wide array of buttons and switches which may necessitate a read through the owners handbook to work out what they all do. Despite being built from quality materials it doesn’t quite have the same wow factor as the Range Rover or Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.
How practical is it?
There’s as much space as you could ever want inside the Land Cruiser V8, with room for seven passengers in comfort. With the rearmost seats folded, there’s an enormous boot. Unlike most rivals, Toyota quotes luggage capacity figures up to the window line rather than the roof, with 259 litres of space with all seven seats in place, 701 litres in five-seat mode and 1,267 litres with just two seats in place. The driving position is mighty comfortable, with a commanding view of the road ahead, while the comfortable leather seats offer lots of adjustment. For those owners that need to pull a horsebox or caravan, there’s a mighty 3,500kg towing capacity.
What's it like to drive?
The driving experience isn’t one of the Land Cruiser’s best assets as the steering is slow to respond making it cumbersome to pilot around town. At motorway speeds, things are better with the air suspension soaking up bumps well, and exceptionally low levels or road and wind noise. On back roads, there’s a fair amount of body lean, and it lacks the overall composure and top-notch driving experience of the Range Rover. Off-road, the Land Cruiser V8 is second to none, with the ability to cross continents and climb mountains in a totally unruffled manner. It is easy to understand why so many Land Cruiser models are sold in the Australian outback.
How powerful is it?
For such a big beast weighing over two and a half tonnes, acceleration figures are impressive with the zero to 62mph dash completed in just 8.2 seconds, and a top speed of 130mph, though this is slightly slower than the Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 and a fair way behind the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. The six-speed automatic is quite slow to respond, often taking a few seconds to react to the input through the accelerator pedal. The 4.5-litre V8 unit is impressively quiet from cold, and at low speeds, but can get vocal when really pushed hard. It develops 282bhp and a hefty 479lb/ft of pulling power. Again these figures are inferior compared to its Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz rivals.
How much will it cost me?
With the Land Cruiser packing a 4.5-litre V8 engine under its nose, it is never going to be cheap to run. Official figures suggest an average 27.7mpg is manageable but in tests it didn’t deliver more than 20mpg. CO2 emissions are 270g/km, meaning that the Toyota falls into the top tax band for vehicle excise duty. Insurance costs are also likely to be hefty on the Land Cruiser V8, as it sits in insurance group 48 – two groups away from the top band.
How reliable is it?
Toyota has always performed well in reliability surveys, and despite hitting the headlines this year for cars being recalled, the Land Cruiser V8 has been unaffected. In addition, several thousand Australian farmers who rely on their Land Cruisers day in, day out can’t be wrong, can they?
How safe is it?
The Land Cruiser V8 hasn’t been tested by safety watchdog Euro NCAP, but the chances are if you are in a crash, that the sheer bulk of the vehicle and the upright stance will ensure that you come away better than the vehicle that has hit you. There are airbags galore, with driver, passenger, side and head airbags protecting all three rows of passengers. There are also kneebags for front seat occupants too. In addition vehicle stability control, a pre-crash safety system and traction control all come fitted as standard. In addition, the front seats are designed to lessen the effects of whiplash injuries in a crash.
How much equipment do I get?
There’s just one trim available with the V8, and is comes loaded with 20-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity are just a few of the goodies that come as standard. Add to that four-zone climate control, an electric sunroof, digital radio and cruise control and you’ve got an exceptionally well equipped vehicle. The only optional extras are metallic paint and a DVD entertainment system for rear passengers.
If you want the ultimate in off-road ability coupled with exceptional reliability, then you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Land Cruiser V8. Rivals cost several thousand pounds more for far less goodies and space.