Toyota Land Cruiser solid old-school bruiser that's built to last
As SUVs become more and more luxurious, Toyota’s Land Cruiser is one of the few unashamedly old-fashioned off-roaders around. Tom Wiltshire finds out how it copes in the urban jungle.
The story of the Toyota Land Cruiser is almost as old as Land Rover. Since production began in 1951, it’s gained a worldwide reputation for strength, solidity and off-road capability.
The latest model was introduced in 2009, but a range of updates has kept it relatively fresh. It’s also packed with tech but none detracts from the feeling of old-fashioned brawn.
The latest update aims to keep Land Cruiser in step with rivals. A new workhorse Utility model has been introduced, but we’re driving top-spec Invincible.
The 2.8-litre diesel engine gets a smaller turbocharger along with AdBlue to reduce exhaust emissions, and the interior’s been tidied up to accommodate a large central touchscreen and comprehensive off-road controls.
Looks and image
There’s a brutish charm about the Land Cruiser.
The upright, imposing grille, plus sharp LED headlights, class things up a bit, unlike the old-fashioned, side-hinged rear door and relatively small wheels considering the size of the arches.
Under the bonnet
The 2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel is less smooth than six-cylinder units and down on power at 177hp but, with almost 450Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,400rpm, pulling power is ample. It feel it could cope not just with the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-tonne weight, but the three-tonne trailer it’s allowed to tow.
Utility models get manual transmission but most buyers will use a six-speed automatic.
How it drives
With an automatic gearbox and great visibility, it’s easy to drive for a car of its size. Our ‘Invincible’ trim offered up six adjustable driving modes but none alter the over-light steering.
The ride isn’t as sophisticated as most rivals, due to the separate chassis construction, but off-road ability is the equal of anything on the market. These cars are unstoppable and faultlessly reliable.
What’s it like inside?
Climb into the cavernous interior and you’re faced with plenty of switches. The high-mounted infotainment screen allows for a selection of bulky off-road dials and buttons – all sensibly-sized for use while traversing rough terrain.
Material quality is rugged, rather than plush, but it feels hard-wearing with rock-solid build quality. There’s also plenty of room for five, though the electrically-operated seats six and seven are far better suited to children than adults.
The Land Cruiser is an institution, and current owners won’t need encouraging to stick with the brand. Attracting new buyers is a tougher job.
Most modern SUVs are better on-road, have better interiors and look rather less workhorsey but, if it suits your lifestyle, you won’t be disappointed with this old-school bruiser.
SPEC AND TECH
Model: Toyota Land Cruiser Invincible £52,855 (range from £33,955)
Engine: 2,755cc, 177hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel with six-speed automatic gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 12.7 seconds: top speed 108mph
MPG: 35.3 combined
CO2 emissions: 207g/km