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2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

4dr 4WD (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 13 MPG City - 18 MPG Highway

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  • $64,100 original MSRP
Printable Version

2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

Benefits of Driving a 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

The Toyota Land Cruiser has a long-established reputation for being a model that stands up to some of the world's toughest environments. With more power, a redesigned suspension, and more attention to noise and vibration, the 2008 model is more pleasant and responsive on-road, while the new Crawl Control system allows it to be even more capable off-road. The Land Cruiser's interior is roomy, comfortable, and safe, and with a maximum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds it's also one of the best choices for those who regularly tow.

What's new for 2008?

Toyota's big Land Cruiser sport-utility vehicle has been completely redesigned for 2008, with a stronger V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission, a stronger frame, redesigned front suspension, a new Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, and Crawl Control, an electronic aid that helps make demanding off-road situations safer and smoother. With about two inches more length and an inch more width, the new Land Cruiser is about the same size as the model it replaces, with space for eight in three rows of seating.

Model Strengths

  • Off-road capability
  • interior space and comfort
  • safety
  • towing capability
  • reputation for toughness.

Model Review

The 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser is powered by a new 5.7L V8, making 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The aluminum-block engine is similar to that used in the new Tundra full-size pickup, with direct ignition, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, and variable-length intakes; it now runs on regular unleaded gas and meets ULEV-II emissions. It delivers power through a new six-speed automatic transmission with a flexible-lockup torque converter for smoothness. All Land Cruisers have full-time four-wheel drive, including a low range, limited slip rear differential, and a locking Torsen center differential.

Printable Version

2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

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2008 Toyota Land Cruiser

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

It's unusual to find SUVs in today's marketplace that are still engineered for more than ordinary use. The all-new 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser is one of those few remaining that are capable in more than one venue.

The Land Cruiser is designed to transport people and gear over any kind of road or primitive trail, in any kind of weather, with speed, comfort and security. It can tow up to 8500 pounds with the right equipment. It offers integrated comfort and convenience features to rival luxury cars in this price range.

The 2008 Land Cruiser looks pretty much the same as the previous Land Cruiser, but make no mistake: it has been completely re-engineered from the frame up. Refinements include a suite of safety features, state-of-the-art electronics, more power with better mileage, and innovative engineering advancements that permit outstanding performance in contrasting circumstances.

More than just all-weather, the Land Cruiser offers legitimate all-terrain capability. Among the innovations making this possible is a brilliantly designed suspension that enhances performance on irregular terrain, yet does not compromise cornering or braking on paved roads.

The Land Cruiser's high-utility, capability-driven design comes at a price. Building multiple-use potential into a single vehicle requires more expensive materials, extensive developmental testing, and more engineering innovation. That makes the Land Cruiser the vehicle of choice for well-heeled customers who have a cabin in the woods, an adventurous vacation routine, or perhaps a whole lot of highway and dirt road between the family home and a camping trip. For their investment, Land Cruiser owners enjoy an exceptionally secure, comfortable SUV that can make extreme use seem routine.

Then there is the matter of quality. All Land Cruisers are built in small volumes in Japan. Production is shared between the Yoshiwara plant, in Aichi, Japan, (now manufacturing Prius, LX470 and 4Runner) and Toyota's vaunted Tahara plant, which mostly manufactures Lexus vehicles. These are Toyota's flagship manufacturing facilities. Standards at the Tahara plant, in particular, have been described in American newspapers as untouchable, approaching fewer than 10 defects per 1 million parts.

As a result, the Land Cruiser's brick outhouse reputation for durability and long-term value is likely to be continued. It is normal for four-wheel-drive vehicles to require unscheduled repairs due to greater complexity, and exposure to dust, water, and vibration. However, in the case of the Land Cruiser, we would be surprised to encounter many significant problems beyond long-term maintenance.

Because of its iconic exterior design, Land Cruisers never seem to look dated or go out of style. Used Land Cruisers are scarce and command high prices.

Model Lineup

The 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser ($63,200) is available only as a four-door SUV with rear clamshell-type hatch. Standard equipment is extensive; there are few options.

Standard interior equipment includes leather upholstery; CFC-free automatic climate control and independent automatic rear climate control system; four-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio, telephone and voice recognition controls; power tilt and telescopic steering wheel with memory; power door locks and windows, including power rear quarter windows; Smart Key keyless entry; HomeLink; variable intermittent front and rear wipers and washers; cruise control, 12 cup holders; combination meter with Optitron electroluminescent instrumentation; JBL 605-watt AM/FM/6CD/MP3 system with auxiliary mini-jack and 14 speakers; tilt/slide power glass moonroof with sunshade and one-touch open/close operation with jam protection; auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass; multi-information display; rear window defogger; digital outside temperature display; Intuitive Park Assist (back-up sonar). Standard seating arrangements include 10-way driver and eight-way front passenger power-adjustable heated leather trimmed seats and adjustable headrests; tumble, foldable and reclining 40/20/40 three-section split second row seat with fore/aft slide and three-point seatbelts; folding 50/50 third row seat with headrest and three-point seatbelts on all three seating positions.

Safety features include multi-terrain ABS with Electronic Brake Force distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist; VSC electronic stability control with cutoff switch; Active Traction Control (A-TRAC); dual-stage advanced airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and front knee airbags for driver and front passenger; second-row seat-mounted side airbags; three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags with roll-sensing cutoff switch; tire-pressure monitoring system.

Optional equipment includes a touch-screen DVD navigation system with eight-inch display, (includes integrated audio system); climate control, back-up camera and monitor and Bluetooth wireless networking. The optional Country Club Package includes simulated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, pre-collision system, rear seat entertainment, back up camera, cool box, DVD-based GPS navigation with Bluetooth, second-row seat heaters, rear spoiler and headlight cleaners.

Walkaround

The 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser, with its upright bodywork and wide, flat hood, is unmistakably linked to the historic Land Cruiser line. Called Land Cruiser 200 internally, it's an all-new Land Cruiser, but the exterior design retains the traditional distinct flare on the front fenders, horizontal four-slotted grille and rear liftgate of the previous-generation Land Cruiser 100. A slightly reduced, more sophisticated greenhouse and compound front headlamps are the most obvious differences, as is the lower, more fluid beltline as viewed from the side. LED tail lights are another contemporary touch.

The effect is to replace dated styling cues with contemporary design, without stepping outside of the Land Cruiser lineage. There is no bling factor in the Land Cruiser design, which is solid, stable and grounded in every sense of the word. It is designed to be impressive more for what it is, than how it looks.

The all-new Land Cruiser may look a lot like its predecessors, but it's clear that every effort has been made to reduce wind noise and clean up the coefficient of drag. The wipers use an aero blade design for quiet operation, sweep a larger area, and retract low on the windshield to reduce wind noise. The mirrors are shaped and mounted so as to keep whistle to a minimum, and the rear tow hitch has a cover to clean up the rear bumper. Overall, it's just a little sleeker, which adds up to a more modern appearance. It's about 2.4 inches longer than the previous generation, which is mostly used to improve second row leg room.

Interior Features

Previous Land Cruiser owners will feel perfectly at home, yet there is a modern, technical update to the cabin that integrates features that have trickled down from the Lexus LX 470. The overall sense is of conservative design tastes, with all features smoothly integrated, prioritizing value and quality over style. Every aspect of the interior reinforces a sense of security.

Much of this feeling exists on an unconscious level, generated by an unusually quiet cabin, a distinct lack of clutter, and the characteristic scent of leather. While the interior is not opulent in design, there is nothing cheap or garish about it. Attention to detail can be seen in the stitching on the leather and the tight seams between the components of the dash and console.

Front-row seats are medium-firm, supportive and highly adjustable. The driver's seat has 10-way adjustability with power lumbar support, and the steering wheel itself has power tilt and telescopic adjustments with generous range. Between the seats is a roomy center console, which has two levels inside. The Country Club Package converts the center console into an air-conditioned cooler box.

Chrome-accented Optitron style gauges are mounted in a deeply shaded instrument pod, flanked by a multi-information display and shift position indicator. Subdued gray leather trim with slim silver accents and wood grain moldings are used throughout the cabin.

The front cabin is spacious enough, with ample legroom and headroom for all but the tallest drivers.

Second-row seating is comfortable and well appointed.

Third-row legroom and headroom is at a premium, however, so these seats are best occupied by smaller people. Access to the third row, via a tumble forward passenger-side seat, is not easy for adults.

Most of the time, it's likely that the third-row seats will be folded sideways and stowed on their mounts to allow for cargo. It's an arrangement that looks makeshift, but works quite well in practice. The mounting setup holds the seats tightly, braced with straps so they don't vibrate, and with the seats stowed flat quite a bit of room becomes available. If you really need all the room back there, you can remove the rear row altogether. While the Land Cruiser is not as spacious as, say, a Suburban, it is versatile enough to accommodate 81 cubic feet of cargo with some preparation.

The air conditioning system was designed to supply four climate control zones with 28 vents located throughout the cabin. First- and second-row passengers have individual controls, so they can stay comfortable if one side of the vehicle is exposed to the sun. The fan has seven speeds.

The JBL audio system does not produce perfect surround sound, but with 14 speakers, it fills the cabin well. The head unit is a Pioneer item; the system is MP3 and WMA compatible. With the optional navigation system, which we had on our test unit, the audio system is controlled via the eight-inch navigation touch screen. We're familiar with the way the audio and HVAC controls work with Toyota navigation systems, but even if we weren't, the touch screen arrangement seems reasonably intuitive. Most every menu is accessible with one or two touches and there are no joy-stick controls that require push-and-turn sequences. Our only beef with the navigation system is that Toyota does not permit changing a route or any other input on the fly. You have to pull over and put it in Park. The optional nine-inch LCD rear-seat entertainment system plays DVDs and has audio/video jacks for video games.

Keyless entry, an option we have come to adore, is available with either of the two available options packages. With the Bluetooth key fob anywhere on your person, doors click open at a touch of the handle.

Driving Impressions

To drive a Land Cruiser is to feel secure and in command. Especially on long trips, the Land Cruiser is relaxing to drive.

Press the start button and the gauges light up, needles bounce once, the steering wheel and mirrors return to previously set positions, and the V8 quietly hums to life. A gentle but insistent chime prompts seat-belt use.

Find Reverse, and the back-up camera displays what's behind you on the navigation screen. It's a welcome option, helping to make this SUV easier to park and safer for kids to play around.

In everyday driving, the Land Cruiser feels and behaves just like any other well appointed, full-size SUV. Civilized ride quality is achieved by use of coil-over spring-and-shock combinations in the front, and a four-link/coil spring setup in the rear. There is more travel at the rear than in the previous generation, which translates into better ride quality for passengers closer to the rear axle.

Steering, a rack-and-pinion setup, feels light at low speeds, which aids in maneuvering and parking. Because it is a variable-ratio system, at higher speeds it feels solid and progressive, not twitchy in any sense, with a distinct return-to-center tendency. We found it tracked well at cruising speeds along the scenic two-lane highways heading into Yellowstone National Park.

Driver's seating is generous and relaxing. If you get tired of one position, as we did after a few hours, the seat/wheel adjustability allowed us to rotate through a variety of driving postures. Because of a 24.6 gallon fuel capacity, theoretical range is somewhere between 320 and 440 miles per tank.

On the highway, the Land Cruiser offers sharp handling (for an SUV) and a secure environment. More precise than bigger trucks, and immune to smaller traffic on sheer bulk alone, the Land Cruiser will rarely feel threatened no matter how competitive the morning commute may become.

Throttle response is improved due to the use of the 5.7-liter V8, a 381-hp engine shared with the Tundra full-size pickup. This more powerful engine delivers 90 pound-feet more torque off the line than the previous model, and improved fuel economy, especially on the highway where it is rated to deliver up to 18 mpg. Toyota has incorporated the latest variable valve timing technology, cam lobe design, and intake manifold tuning to optimize the engine for power output, fuel economy and reduced emissions. Like any good truck engine, the 5.7-liter makes more torque (401 pound-feet) than horsepower, allowing the Land Cruiser to loaf around at low rpm and still offer ready throttle response.

A good part of the drivability improvements are due to use of a slick six-speed automatic transmission. The transmission offers a very low first gear for heavy loads, and two overdrive gears at the top, including a super overdrive top gear that accounts for the smooth, efficient highway cruise mode. As we drove on a variety of highways and mountain roads, the transmission always seemed to be in the right gear, and without hunting back and forth. The automatic is computer controlled, constantly cross-checking with the engine's computer, to determine a shift pattern based on driving conditions. We noticed that, when decelerating down a long highway incline in sixth gear, the transmission would automatically downshift to fifth or even fourth gear to supply engine braking. It felt good and made it easier to drive.

While the Land Cruiser is a full-time 4WD truck, it drives and feels more like a rear-wheel-drive vehicle in normal conditions, with stable tracking and light, easy steering with no apparent torque steer. Should front wheels begin to slip, up to 70 percent of engine torque can be instantly biased to the rear. On the other hand, should the rear wheels begin to slip, the torque ratio changes to a maximum of 50/50, for ideal stability and balance. We did not encounter these kinds of conditions on our summer-day test drive, but our experience is that these types of drive-system transitions can be routinely handled by modern 4WD systems without most drivers taking notice.

Brakes are stout four-wheel discs, as they need to be with a vehicle of this size and weight. Pedal travel allows for a slight squish before the brakes begin to grip, at which point large calipers progressively haul down the Land Cruiser's 5800 pounds with minimal effort. The ABS also works on non-paved surfaces, and the brakes are improved by Toyota's Brake Force Distribution (an anti-spinout technology) and Brake Assist (shortens distances in panic stops).

And for those moments when push does come to shove, the Land Cruiser lives up to the capability requirements of a traditional, authentic four-wheel-drive truck.

We had the opportunity to drive the new Land Cruiser on challenging off-highway trails. These were to be found on and around the ski slopes of the Big Sky resort in Big Sky Montana, devoid of snow in mid-summer. To safely demonstrate the capabilities of the Land Cruiser in difficult terrain, a series of long, deeply rutted uphill trails were utilized, punctuated by sections of very loose, sharp-rock glaciers and tight, man-made obstacle courses.

We were surprised at the degree of risk; some of the trails we took were difficult, some frightening. One part, a breathtakingly steep, 300-foot downhill plunge across fractured shale, allowed for a test of electronic enhancements that control speed and stability. Considering that it could be fatal to lock the brakes on steep, loose surfaces, this situation did elicit some doubt in our minds. ("This is the route? Really? Better check the map . . . No, this is it . . . Gotta be kidding . . . ")

After a moment of debate (and a cry of Geronimo!), we dropped over the edge and found that a new Toyota system, Crawl Control, acts like ABS on steep downhills. It keeps the vehicle from rolling too fast, allowing the driver to select from three speed settings, depending on the surface condition and steepness of the hill. No braking is needed; the driver simply steers the vehicle. With practice, we found we could select from the three Crawl Control settings on the fly, using the system to maintain a comfortable speed as steepness varied.

We have seen similar systems on Land Rovers and other authentic 4x4 SUVs, but Toyota's Crawl Control seems to have evolved beyond what other SUVs have currently incorporated. The system does make a disconcerting noise as the brakes are selectively modulated, wheel-to-wheel, but we can vouch for the fact that it holds the vehicle to safe speeds even on the steepest downhills.

Other reasons why a Land Cruiser excels in rough terrain are more fundamental. It is proportioned with a wide track and very little body overhang, so it can climb slopes up to 45 degrees, sidehill up to 43 degrees without rolling over, and drive in and out of a 30-degree ditch, head-on. There are skid plates under the engine, transfer case and fuel tank, and two stout tow hooks in the front. The spare tire is a full-size tire, not a temporary spare. Frame strength, a fundamental durability requirement, has been increased by 40 percent over the current model.

An example of build quality can be found in the exhaust system. It's stainless steel (expensive) to resist mud and water without rusting. It is hung using two additional ball joints located just forward of the main muffler that reduce vibration in the exhaust system, so it will be a long time before the exhaust will crack, fatigue or rattle.

Another significant advancement is a new, very clever suspension control technology. The suspension is built around a robust stabilizer bar that enhances handling on smooth, paved surfaces. Yet, under variable wheel movement, such as driving on deeply rutted surfaces, the stabilizer bar permits enhanced suspension articulation, allowing the rear wheels to stretch as much as 27 inches to stay on the ground. The system is not electronic, but hydro/mechanical, and requires no power source. The significance is that the benefits of a taut suspension can be available for everyday driving, without sacrificing the need for a very flexible suspension off road.

In Low range, there is the firm throttle response of torque on demand, but the throttle is not touchy at low speeds. This is the result of electronic throttle control that accounts for the lower gearing, so accelerator tip-in is more progressive. Power gets to the ground through stout axles with large ring gears and double row bearings. The full-time 4WD system has a generous low range ratio of 2.618 to 1, and a locking center differential that can be engaged in high range or low range. Between the low gearing, the Torsen center differential, the electronic suspension and large tires, the Land Cruiser's design envelope offers the ability to get to any rational destination, regardless of conditions.

Summary

The 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser is distinguished by a rare mix of effortless highway performance, everyday comfort, and authentic, industrial-strength four-wheel-drive capability. It's built for those willing to pay for a very broad range of operating capabilities, more costly to buy, but you get what you pay for. Significantly improved economy, safety and luxury are all part of the package.

John Stewart filed this report to NewCarTestDrive.com after driving the Land Cruiser in Montana.

 

Copyright © 1994-2007 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Passenger On/Off Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Rear Parking Aid Std
Back-Up Camera Opt
Handsfree Wireless Opt

Security

Alarm Opt
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Sport Utility

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