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Toyota’s biggest, baddest Land Cruiser

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Aug 27, 2016

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


The Toyota Land Cruiser has capabilities to match its reputation.

By Reed Berry “Wow, that’s REALLY big!” Yeah, like I haven’t heard that a million times. When road testing SUVs, that is. The Toyota Land Cruiser is certainly no exception. It is big, really big and, quite honestly, not particularly stylish on the outside. Please don’t take that as a negative. Not every vehicle has to be sleek and sporty with that “moving when it’s standing still” look. This is a big, boxy, determined looking SUV that will provide a feeling of safety, security and, let’s face it, road superiority. Big seems to be the theme throughout the Land Cruiser. It’s big on the outside, measuring in at 194.9 inches in length and 74 inches in height, and big on the inside with seating for eight people over three rows. It has a big 24.6-gallon fuel tank, which is probably a good idea for a vehicle that gets 13 miles per gallon around town. And finally, the Land Cruiser has a BIG price tag with an MSRP, as equipped, just shy of $84,000. The Land Cruiser is what it is – a giant workhorse designed to carry lots of people and stuff. But, before you get the impression of some big industrial truck looking type thing, imagine having all the practicality of a large SUV combined with the neatly appointed, comfortable interior of a luxury car. That probably best describes the driving experience that Land Cruiser provides.


Yeah, the Land Cruiser is no shrinking violet.

Upon entering the vehicle, my attention is immediately drawn to something I will use immediately. The center console conveniently houses a cooler box, a welcome feature on a warm Southern California day. Large enough for several soda cans or individual water bottles, this handy little faux refrigerator will keep beverages, sandwiches and snack items nice and cool until I’m ready for them. As for keeping myself - and my passengers - cool, Land Cruiser has four-zone climate control with air filter. Seating is not only comfortable, but great looking as well. Leather-trimmed seating is standard, and my test vehicle is equipped with Terra semi-aniline perforated leather interior. Terra is apparently a fancy way of saying brown, but it really pops, giving the interior a crisp, stylish look. Wood trim on the dash and door panels add to the interior’s luxurious appearance. Eye appeal may be kept to a minimum on the exterior but it is definitely plentiful on the inside. Think of Land Cruiser’s three rows of seating as First Class, Business Class and Economy. Along with my front seat passenger, I am enjoying seats that are both heated and ventilated, as well as having access to a big nine-inch touch screen infotainment system featuring Entune premium JBL audio with navigation and 14 speakers. Standard entertainment offerings include AM/FM/satellite radio and a CD player. USB and auxiliary jacks allow you to connect other devices.


A candidate for House Hunters Tiny Homes

Those in the second row have heated (but not ventilated) seats. They do, however, have two 11-inch video screens on which to watch their favorite movies along the way. Taking a quick break from driving, I’ve jumped into a second row seat and popped in a DVD. The picture quality outstanding, as is the sound from the wireless headphones provided. There’s even a conveniently mounted remote control to operate everything with a minimum of effort. What do the third row passengers have, you ask? I’m guessing they have a strong desire to be in the first or second rows. Ok, so legroom is a bit limited and they may not enjoy some of the amenities and conveniences that occupants in the first two rows do, but they still get to ride in the aforementioned comfy leather seats and, if they ask nicely, we may even pass a refreshing beverage from the cooler box back to them. As I make my way from Pasadena to the San Fernando Valley, I am impressed by both the smooth ride and quiet interior. The peaceful environment will result in a drive that is relatively stress-free, allowing me to converse easily with passengers and enjoy the on-board entertainment. While I appreciate the quiet on the inside, I will leave the driver side window open just a crack so as to hear important outside sounds, such as approaching emergency vehicles. One must balance comfort with safety.


The view from within the Land Cruiser

This vehicle is certainly not short on power. At first, it seems to be a bit of a gentle giant but, upon giving it some gas, it really produces some exciting results. A 5.7-liter 381-horsepower V8 engine is paired with a super efficient 8-speed automatic transmission as well as full-time four-wheel drive. Acceleration is quick and confident. Not only will Land Cruiser handle just about any road conditions with ease, but it is capable of doing some serious towing - up to 8,100 pounds. Considering its size, Land Cruiser handles quite well. Steering is fairly firm yet pleasantly responsive. Cornering is sharp and confident, but hold onto your hats…and briefcases…and anything else that isn’t secured in place. Even when cornering at fairly low speeds, loose objects take a trip of their own from one side of the vehicle to the other. In the interest of safety, one should always secure loose objects within the passenger compartment or simply place them in the cargo area. Land Cruiser offers a generous 16.1 cubic-feet of cargo space behind the third-row seats (43.0 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 81.7 cubic-feet behind the first-row seats.) Speaking of safety, Land Cruiser is loaded with standard safety features that, on some vehicles, are only available as pricey options. A pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert and headlight washers are just a few of the safety systems on a lengthy list. Another outstanding safety feature is lane departure alert, designed to warn the driver when the vehicle starts to drift out of its lane. Considering the number of distracted drivers on the road that are more interested in texting and tweeting than safe driving, perhaps all vehicles should be equipped with such a system.


At nearly $84,000, is Land Cruiser a value? Overall, I believe it is. Unlike some vehicles offered in a variety of trim levels, Land Cruiser has only one, which means it is fully loaded. From the stylish, comfortable interior to the power moonroof and even the cooler box that has now chilled my San Pellegrino water to the perfect temperature, everything is included. The mileage estimates are a bit of a concern to me (13 mpg city, 18 highway, 15 combined) because this vehicle is sucking up gas like there’s no tomorrow but, as a wise man once said, if you can afford this vehicle, you can probably afford the gas that goes in it. For more information on Toyota products: SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser MSRP: $83,825 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City / Highway / Combined): 13 / 18 / 15 Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons


Engine type: 5.7-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 with Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) Horsepower: 381 HP @ 5,600 rpm Torque: 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm Transmission type: 8-speed automatic Steering: Vehicle speed-sensing, variable gear ratio, power-assisted rack-and-pinion Suspension: Front: Independent double-wishbone with coil springs and stabilizer bar Rear: 4-link with coil springs, stabilizer bar and semi-floating axle Brakes: Front: Power-assisted 4-piston Rear: 2-piston ventilated disc Wheels: 18-in. 5-spoke alloy wheels Dimensions Overall length: 194.9” Overall width (excluding mirrors): 77.6” Overall height: 74.0” Curb weight: 5,765 lbs

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