Overview & Reviews
For more than six decades, the Toyota Land Cruiser has been synonymous with all-conquering, all-terrain prowess and rugged dependability. Early models from the 1950s, known as the BJ-type Land Cruisers, were similar in appearance to U.S. Army Jeeps. They were powered by a small four-cylinder engine and were strictly utilitarian. Slightly less spartan were the six-cylinder-powered FJ20s. But it was the 1960 introduction of the now-iconic FJ40 that secured the Land Cruiser name in history.
Since then, the Toyota Land Cruiser has grown in size, adopted a four-door body style and become much more focused on broad consumer appeal with an increasing number of luxury-oriented features. As such, it is a fairly expensive SUV at this point, new or used. But whatever recent model you look at, you'll find the Land Cruiser thankfully maintains its core off-road principles and unassailable reputation for dependability.
Current Toyota Land Cruiser
As ever, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a large SUV on a traditional body-on-frame design, though it's admirably difficult to discern this from the luxurious cabin. Motivation is provided by a 5.7-liter V8 that churns out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels via the Land Cruiser's full-time 4WD system with selectable low-range gearing.
Off-road capabilities are bolstered by a long list of specific equipment. "Crawl Control" enhances the drivetrain's capability by maintaining a fixed ultra-slow velocity for hard-core trail-busting. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) enables the front and rear antiroll bars to stiffen or relax automatically as conditions change; the theoretical payoff is both flatter cornering and superior wheel articulation for off-road applications. The only sour note here is that ground clearance and approach, departure and break-over angles have been reduced slightly from the last Land Cruiser.
You'd never guess the Land Cruiser had such superb off-road capabilities from within the stately cabin. Feature highlights for the all-inclusive no-options Land Cruiser include leather upholstery, wood trim, a four-zone climate control system, a navigation system, a 14-speaker audio system, three rows of seating for up to eight people and parking sensors all around. Even a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, center-console cooler box and Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system are included.
In our reviews, we've expressed admiration for the Land Cruiser's on-road performance and composure, as well as its sumptuous accommodations. Buyers should take note that the third-row seats are really only suitable for kids, though. The rare individuals who will explore the Land Cruiser's full off-road potential may also find themselves running out of ground clearance on more demanding expeditions. Even with these drawbacks in mind, however, the Toyota Land Cruiser is in a very special class of its own.
Used Toyota Land Cruiser Models
The current Toyota Land Cruiser represents the fifth generation, which was introduced for 2008. Compared to its predecessors, the wheelbase dimensions didn't change, but the big Toyota added 2.4 inches of length and an extra inch of width and height. More power, more luxury features and more space were all welcome for the new model. Changes along the way included the addition of Toyota's Safety Connect advanced telematics system and expanded audio connectivity in 2010. Note that Toyota did not sell a 2012 Land Cruiser, going straight to the 2013 model year, which brought about the current model's slightly updated styling and all-inclusive features list.
The fourth-generation Toyota Land Cruiser was produced from 1998-2007. Though underpowered compared with the current model, the previous Cruiser is still a desirable used vehicle for a shopper interested in a luxurious and dependable midsize or full-size SUV. With a traditional ladder frame structure and seating for eight passengers, this Land Cruiser was an excellent choice for off-road enthusiasts with growing families. It came in just one well-equipped trim level, though upscale options such as rear-seat DVD entertainment and a navigation system were available.
The fourth-generation Cruiser relied on a 4.7-liter V8 that was capable of up to 275 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque (235 hp and 320 lb-ft for pre-2006 versions). A five-speed automatic transmission was standard, as was 4WD with low-range gearing for enhanced off-road performance. As an option, Toyota offered an adjustable suspension system. This system was capable of adjusting the shock valving for better ride comfort and handling, and altering the vehicle's ride height for increased ground clearance when driving on rough terrain.
We liked this version of the Land Cruiser -- a lot. It earned high marks in reviews and was a repeated Edmunds.com Editors' Most Wanted<sup>SM</sup> award winner. Noted positive attributes included its go-anywhere capability, comfortable ride quality, smooth if not scintillating V8 and luxurious interior. Those shopping for a used Toyota Land Cruiser of this generation should feel relatively free to look at all of its years, as Toyota hasn't made any major changes. Generally, the newer the Land Cruiser is, the more features it will have. Stability control came out in 2000, for instance, and a navigation system came in 2001. As noted, one downside to models previous to 2006 is that their V8s produced 40 fewer hp.
Used Land Cruisers from the '90s also provide an impressive mix of capabilities at more affordable prices. Most buyers shopping for a used four-door Land Cruiser are going to be interested in the third-generation model that was available for the 1990-'97 model years. Though this SUV wasn't as large, luxurious or powerful as the current model, it still represents a top pick for a shopper interested in a used SUV that's comfortable and off-road worthy. At its debut, the vehicle could seat five passengers in its two rows of seating. Under its hood was a 155-hp, 4.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It had 4WD but the driver had to manually lock the front hubs to activate it. The following year, Toyota replaced that setup with a full-time 4WD system. Other major upgrades for this model included a larger 212-hp engine in 1993 and enhanced safety equipment in 1995.
In Edmunds.com reviews of the third-generation Toyota Land Cruiser, praise was given for its impressive off-road ability, strong engine and durable nature. The main noted downsides were the SUV's uninspiring acceleration and its lofty price. Depreciation, of course, has mitigated this latter issue, although resale values remain impressively high.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 273.00
WE love it! - 2004 Toyota Land Cruiser
By emmaco - December 29 - 2:00 am
After having 4 Runners for 7 years we moved up to the LC for the extra room for our growing family. Living in the mountains of colorado - I wouldnt want another car. There have times in the past 5 years when only Land Cruiser and Range Rovers were allowed access to our sub-division during snow storms. Their durability and reliabilty are outstanding. Their performance in the snow impecable and the 2004 has terrific gusto that makes it fun to drive. Only down marks are for gas mileage and its the same size tank as my 4 runner so ... Otherwise - get this car!!! Its awesome!!
Land cruiser - 2004 Toyota Land Cruiser
By juan C - December 29 - 2:00 am
Very nice to drive
Nice SUV - 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Mark Slepicka - November 25 - 6:06 pm
Stable on road and off with plenty of power and braking. Would like to see front console cup holder lighting for night time driving and overhead spotlight buttons lit also. I am getting 17.2 mpg city/hwy combined using premium. exterior sheet metal seems to be a little thin. I started to notice a clunk from the rear when starting from a dead stop and also when coming to a stop. I went to my Toyota dealer and found out a (TSB) Technical Service Bulletin was issued on this problem. The fix was to replace the drive shaft under drivetrain warranty at no cost. After replacement of shaft i have had no further problem. Overall the new Land Cruiser is solid and performs well!
Great Car for Family and Work - 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Osbornes - November 22 - 2:00 am
Great DEPENDABLE suv. When we just had our first child....we needed something BIGGER and wanted a safe car that we knew wouldnt let us down. We have an 97 Land Cruiser and a 99 four runner......so we knew a 2003 Land Cruiser would be perfect for our NEW family.
Dr. - 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Dr. Ley - October 16 - 10:00 am
I enjoy owning and driving my LandCruiser. The only downturn is gallon of gas per milage. I guess most of SUVs do the same.
suv heaven - 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser
By godevco - October 16 - 10:00 am
Good performance and reliability. Fun to drive. Only major problem was the transmission had to be replaced at 85,000 miles. Regular maintenance is a bit pricey but necessary for optimum performance.
Love My Land Cruiser - 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser
By lina - October 16 - 10:00 am
This is my second Land Cruiser. I love the reliability, performance and protection. I was in a very bad accident with my three small children last winter, on a dark and snowy blizzard night. The only thing that saved my children and their mother was the weight and build of my Land Cruiser. Having been a Land Cruiser owner for over five years, I can attest to the fact that I have not once experienced mechanical problems nor do I expect any. Its just a very well built car with a lot of room and good features.
down town - 2003 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Streich - October 16 - 10:00 am
This is my 2nd landcruiser. The first one was a V6 and my 2nd one is a V8. I thought the 1st one was jewel but after driving the V8 and all the comfort that comes along with it, just one word. Outstanding, Quality, Performence, Dependable and good lucks. It has it ALL.
The Best - 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Gary Tricarico - October 4 - 2:00 am
This is my 3rd Landcruiser. And by far the best Toyota has built for urban jungles. It is the quietest, smoothest, most comfortable if you load it with all options, it also cost the same as the Lexus once you load it. The navigation system is outstanding, better than several others I have seen on other vehicles. My average fuel is 15 to 17 hwy. Start of 3rd year, 80,000 miles plus, not 1 thing has gone wrong, service only. I dont go off road, but on road this car is very safe and reliable in any road conditions.
Best SUV on the road - 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser
By Bill - September 20 - 5:50 am
Great car, no issues. Have owned the car for 2k miles and love every drive I take.