2017 Toyota Land Cruiser: New Car Review
The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser shows how far this iconic SUV has come since it rose to prominence as the 2-door FJ40 Land Cruiser more than 50 years ago. The old Cruiser was a purely utilitarian vehicle, a Japanese Jeep Wrangler of sorts. In the past two-plus decades, the Land Cruiser has morphed into a 4-door luxury SUV with automatic everything, plush leather upholstery and a rear entertainment system. It comes with the whole nine yards. In other words, the latest Land Cruiser from Toyota is less Jeep Wrangler and more Range Rover, an opulent people-carrier clinging to its storied off-road legacy.
Is there a place for a V8-motivated, leather-lined, trail-busting SUV in this day and age? How about one costing over $80,000? For a handful of discerning customers each year, the answer is yes. It's empowering to know your vehicle can handle virtually any terrain in the world, and the Land Cruiser has the added appeal of being quiet, comfortable and surprisingly swift on the pavement. Throw in standard 3-row seating and tastefully restrained styling, and it's easy to see why the modern Land Cruiser is as impressive in its own way as those legendary Land Cruisers of yore.
What's New for 2017?
After considerable updates last year, the Land Cruiser heads into 2017 unchanged.
What We Like
Go-anywhere off-road capability; beastly-yet-refined V8; strong towing capability; luxuries and technology galore; 8-passenger seating
What We Don't
Imposing size; poor fuel economy; so-so comfort for rear passengers; cramped third-row seat that takes up cargo space even when not in use
Every Land Cruiser comes standard with full-time 4-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission and a 5.7-liter V8 cranking out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. Environmental Protection Agency-rated fuel economy stands at merely 13 miles per gallon in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in combined driving. That makes the Land Cruiser one of the least efficient vehicles on the market.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser is offered in only one fully-loaded level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, a surround-view parking camera, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, automatic LED headlights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, 4-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated 8-way power front seats, driver memory functions, heated second-row seats, a 50/50-split third-row seat, a power-adjustable steering wheel, a 9-in Entune touchscreen interface, a navigation system, Bluetooth, wireless smartphone charging, a rear-seat entertainment system and a 14-speaker JBL sound system with a CD player, HD Radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Land Cruiser comes with standard stability control and 10 airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags for the first two rows and full-length side-curtain airbags. Also standard are forward-collision warning with automatic braking, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. The standard Safety Connect telematics system offers automatic collision notification to ensure help is on the way in the event of an accident.
Due to its low production volume, the Land Cruiser has not been crash-tested by either the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Behind the Wheel
On the pavement, the Land Cruiser is an endearing brute. The throaty V8 certainly helps; it's pretty amazing how much get-up-and-go this SUV has. The Cruiser's enormous dimensions are readily apparent from behind the wheel, but you feel completely invulnerable up there, like you're on a personal suburban safari. Road noise is appropriately subdued for a high-end luxury vehicle. Off-road performance is excellent thanks to good ground clearance, low-range gearing, a locking center differential and a number of driving aids.
You can choose among numerous terrain modes and five different crawl speeds, while the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System can disengage the front and rear stabilizer bars to allow for maximum wheel articulation.
The Land Cruiser's front seats are plush and expansive, and they're mounted high to promote outward visibility. Dashboard materials are mostly upscale, though they don't have the premium feel of the more expensive Range Rover (or the Land Cruiser's mechanical twin, the Lexus LX 570). The second-row bench slides and reclines and has its own seat heaters. Although the bench is rather low relative to the front seats, there's ample room to stretch your legs.
The third row is also a 3-person bench, making the Land Cruiser a rare 8-passenger vehicle. Access is awkward, and space is at a premium, so we wouldn't want adults to be stuck back there on longer trips -- or at least not adults we like. The seats themselves also don't fold away into the floor -- they flip sideways, meaning they take up considerable space when not in use.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Infinit QX80 -- The 3-row QX80 has more expressive styling and comparable V8 power, plus a nice interior. Definitely drive this one if you're serious about the Land Cruiser.
2017 Land Rover Range Rover -- Still the king of luxury SUVs, the Range Rover costs more, but it features an available supercharged V8 and one of the finest cabins at any price. However, there's no third-row seat.
2017 Lexus LX 570 -- The LX 570 is the Land Cruiser's mechanical twin. Although you probably already know whether you'd prefer the Toyota or the Lexus based on their styling and image, the LX 570 is still worth mentioning, since it offers almost the same package as the Land Cruiser.
Since there are no options, the Land Cruiser makes our job easy. We absolutely recommend this vehicle, especially after last year's round of new features and equipment.