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Which Toyota Land Cruiser Is the Best Toyota Land Cruiser?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

One of the most frequent topics of discussion among my friends relates to the Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota's ultra-capable-and-then-ultra-luxurious full-size SUV that's been available in the United States for about 50 years now. I love the Land Cruiser, and I love all of its body styles, but my friends and I always fight over one specific question: Of the five Land Cruisers sold in America, which one was the best? Few vehicles change their personalities from generation to generation quite as much as the Land Cruiser, so it's a difficult fight -- and now I'm going to bring the question to you, with some of my own commentary thrown in. Feel free to provide your own opinions.

Land Cruiser 40 Series

Land Cruiser 40 Series: 1960s and 1970s

The original Land Cruiser wins the award for "most likely to be confused with a Jeep," as the vast majority of people -- even car enthusiasts -- are stunned to find out it's a Toyota Land Cruiser. Of course, its age means it's also the most mechanically simple Land Cruiser: the FJ40, as it's called, is low on electronics and high on durability. It's also small, slow, and probably laughably unsafe -- but if you want to do some serious off-roading, it's nice to have something light and sure-footed.

Land Cruiser 60 Series

Land Cruiser 60 Series: 1980s

The 1980s saw the arrival of the "60 series" Land Cruiser, which was a four-door SUV with boxy design and more practical usability. The 60-series still had a manual transmission (up until a late-1980s facelift replaced it with an automatic, signaling the death of the three-pedal Land Cruiser in America), and it also offered a fairly basic design with only rudimentary creature comforts. Still, if you want the practicality of older Land Cruiser models with the simplicity of an early Toyota truck, the 60 series might be your vehicle.

Land Cruiser 80 Series

Land Cruiser 80 Series: 1990s

Things got a little more luxurious with the "80 series" model, which came out for 1991 -- and then dramatically more luxurious with its 1995 facelift, which effectively gave the Land Cruiser a long list of standard upscale amenities like dual airbags, tinted rear windows, leather seats and a power sunroof. But while the Land Cruiser was growing more luxurious, it still retained a lot of the excellent items it always had -- like legendary reliability, amazing off-road capabilities, and a standard 6-cylinder engine. If you like your Land Cruiser with a few more amenities -- but not too many -- this might be your pick.

Land Cruiser 100 Series

Land Cruiser 100 Series: 2000s

The 100 series is the most common Land Cruiser you'll see on the street today. Sold from 1998 to 2007, the "100" finally saw the change from "mostly luxurious" to a full-on luxury SUV. It dropped the 6-cylinder in favor of a 4.7-liter V8, and it added a long list of upscale features that only grew as the years went on. It may not be as distinctive as earlier Land Cruiser models, but it's still highly capable, highly reliable, and more affordable than the others. The best 100 models came after a 2003 facelift, which gave the SUV a more modern look and improved equipment.

Land Cruiser 200 Series

Land Cruiser 200 Series: 2010s

The latest Land Cruiser, dubbed the "200," is the biggest, bulkiest, and most opulent of them all -- but with amazing new equipment like crawl control, it's also probably the most capable. The only problem is that few buyers are interested in taking the latest Land Cruiser off-road, now that its base price is in the mid-$80,000 range. But for shoppers interested in the best combination of luxury equipment, off-road prowess, towing and hauling ability, and passenger room, nothing beats the 200 -- provided you can afford it.

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RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser
Used 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser
$46,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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New 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser
New 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser
MSRP $86,374
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Which Toyota Land Cruiser Is the Best Toyota Land Cruiser? - Autotrader