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2015 Toyota Land Cruiser: New Car Review

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for information on a newer Toyota Land Cruiser, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Review.


The 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser shows just how far this iconic SUV has come since it rose to prominence as the 2-door FJ40 Land Cruiser more than 50 years ago. That old Cruiser was purely a utilitarian vehicle — a Japanese Jeep Wrangler of sorts. In recent years, the Land Cruiser has morphed into a 4-door luxury SUV with the whole 9 yards: automatic features, hard-drive-based navigation and a rear entertainment system. In other words, the latest Land Cruiser is less Jeep Wrangler and more Range Rover — a luxury vehicle clinging to its original off-road legacy.

So is there a place for a V8-motivated, leather-lined trail-busting SUV in this day and age? One that costs nearly $80,000? According to a handful of discerning customers each year, there is. It’s empowering to know that your vehicle could handle virtually any terrain in the world if it had to, 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. See the 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser models for sale near you

What’s New for 2015?

The Land Cruiser is unchanged for the 2015 model year.

What We Like

Beastly yet refined V8; capable in the dirt; luxuries and technology galore; 8-passenger seating

What We Don’t

Imposing size; poor fuel economy; so-so comfort for rear passengers

How Much?

Starting at $81,000

Fuel Economy

The full-time 4-wheel-drive Land Cruiser is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 that cranks out 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic. Although the Cruiser weighs close to 3 tons, the V8 provides effortless acceleration and is one of the most refined large engines on the market. Fuel economy is an expectedly dismal 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. On the bright side, you can tow a trucklike 8,500 pounds if you want.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser is offered in one very well-equipped trim level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, power leather-trimmed front seats, 4-zone automatic climate control with separate second-row controls, JBL premium audio and a rearview camera. There’s also a hard-drive-based touchscreen navigation system with the smartphone-based Entune interface, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and connectivity for iPod/USB and Bluetooth devices. Every Land Cruiser comes fully loaded, so there are no factory options.


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. The front seats also have active head restraints. The standard Safety Connect telematics system offers automatic collision notification to ensure that help is on the way in the event of an accident.

The 2015 Land Cruiser has not been crash-tested either by the government or the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

On the pavement, the Land Cruiser is a brute — but kind of an endearing one. The throaty V8 certainly helps; it’s pretty amazing how much power 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 slew of driving aids.

You can choose from numerous terrain modes and five different crawl speeds, while the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) 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, although they don’t quite have the premium feel that you get with the more expensive Range Rover. The second-row bench slides and reclines, and it even has its own seat heaters. Although the bench itself is rather low compared to the front chairs, 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. We wouldn’t want adults to be stuck back there on longer trips, but the kids will love it, especially since there’s a standard DVD entertainment system.

Other Cars to Consider

Infiniti QX80 — The 3-row QX80 has more expressive styling and comparable V8 power than the Land Cruiser does, plus a very nice interior. Definitely drive this one if you’re serious about the Land Cruiser.

Land Rover Range Rover — Still the king of luxury SUVs, the Range Rover costs more than the Land Cruiser does, but it features an available supercharged V8 engine and one of the finest cabins at any price. There’s no third-row seat, however.

Cadillac Escalade — If you don’t need the Toyota’s off-road ability and you want the ultimate in bling, the newly redesigned Escalade delivers. It’s not the most gratifying luxury SUV to drive, but it has an image like no other.

Autotrader’s Advice

Since there are no options, the Land Cruiser makes our job easy. We absolutely recommend this vehicle, especially after its styling tweaks for 2013. Find a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale

Our editors are here to make car buying easier. We’ve driven, reviewed and compared thousands of cars. We’ve bought and sold more than our fair share, too. And as part of the sprawling Cox Automotive group of companies, we have exclusive access to a range of valuable data and insights. Whether you’re looking for the best car, the best deal or the best buying advice, you can trust... Read More about Autotrader

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