Real-World Review

2016 Toyota Land Cruiser: Real World Review

RELATED READING
See all Toyota Land Cruiser articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Jason Fogelson July 2016

Go anywhere in the world where the roads are rough, and you'll come across Toyota Land Cruisers. In most corners of the globe, multiple Land Cruiser models abound, workhorses that traverse mountains, deserts, tundra and mud. Here in the United States, we get just one version of the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser. Ours features a near-luxury interior, sophisticated electronics and shiny good looks, and it's still a workhorse, eager to conquer rough terrain when the mall parking lot proves too refined.

We had a chance to test drive and review the latest Land Cruiser at the Motor Press Guild's Droptops & Dirt event at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California. Droptops & Dirt is a full-day driving event for automotive journalists. Manufacturers bring their latest and greatest off-roaders and convertibles out, and journalists take them out for drives on the challenging trails (for the off-roaders) and local canyon roads (for the convertibles).

Land Cruiser Legacy

Land Cruiser has a long history at Toyota -- and almost as much history in the United States. Initially a 1950 factory project in Japan designed to emulate the Willys Jeep, the first vehicle with the Land Cruiser name rolled out of the factory in 1954 and showed up in the U.S. in 1958. In Toyota's early days in the U.S., from 1961-1965, Land Cruiser was Toyota's best-selling vehicle. Over the course of generations, the Land Cruiser grew in size and took on more and more comfort and convenience features. By 1991, Land Cruiser had evolved into a premium full-size, body-on-frame SUV.

Early Land Cruisers are treasured by collectors and enthusiasts for their elemental design, rugged durability and off-road chops. Multiple specialty restorers and customizers, including TLC and Icon, snap up classic FJ40, FJ60, FJ80 models and others, turning them into 6-figure specialty vehicles with modern features beneath their old-school skins.

Current Generation

For 2016, Land Cruiser has gone under the knife. It receives a new front end, with projector-beam LED headlights with integrated cleaners, power bulges on the hood and new LED brake lights with signature light-tube running lights. Eighteen-inch alloy wheels are standard.

The days of Land Cruiser's rough edges disappeared long ago. The current vehicle has an air of sophistication, luxury and style worthy of flagship status for the Toyota SUV lineup.

Under the Hood

Land Cruiser gets its power from Toyota's venerable 5.7-liter 32-valve V8 engine (381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque) now hooked up to a new 8-speed automatic transmission with full-time 4-wheel drive. Fuel economy ratings, not a Land Cruiser strong point, come in at 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway. Fortunately, the Land Cruiser only requires 87-octane regular gas.

Befitting a flagship, Land Cruiser features the first implementation of Toyota's Safety Sense P system, which includes frontal-collision avoidance (including pedestrian protection), frontal-collision mitigation, lane-departure alert, automatic high beams and dynamic radar cruise control.

Handling and Off-Road Chops

Four-wheel independent suspension (double-wishbone front/4-link rear with stabilizer bars at both ends) enhances Land Cruiser's on-road ride and off-road capabilities. Power-assisted variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering delivers precise control. Multiterrain settings tailor throttle response, transmission performance and traction control for surface conditions.

On the trails, the Land Cruiser performs like a dream, inspiring confidence and feeling as if there's no obstacle too hairy to conquer. The long wheelbase (112.2 inches) and overall vehicle length (194.9 inches) and width (77.9 inches) place some limits on tight corners and peaked hills, but 9.1 inches of ground clearance provides impressive crawling ability. Surefooted and agile, the Land Cruiser can go places a lesser vehicle only dreams of traveling.

On the road, the Land Cruiser's composed performance belies its size. It never feels tippy and doesn't display excessive body roll. You still need to keep in mind that you're driving a heavy (5,815 pounds), wide full-size SUV, but the commanding driving position and brisk acceleration mark Land Cruiser as a thoroughly modern vehicle.

Spiffed-Up Interior

The previous-generation Land Cruiser's interior was looking a little dated, but Toyota has simplified the design and upgraded the materials to bring things in line with its premium status. The latest generation of Toyota's Entune infotainment system has been fitted to the dash, accessible through a 9-in touchscreen display. Premium JBL sound -- with 14 speakers, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free and all the expected technology -- abounds.

The Land Cruiser can handle up to eight passengers in its three rows of seating. The third row is removable or can fold up. Behind the third row, there's 16.1 cu ft. of luggage space, expandable to 43.0 cu ft. with the third row folded or 81.7 cu ft. with the third row removed and second row folded. With all the potential space on offer, this SUV is ready for a road trip or off-road camping excursion.

Cruising to a Close

The echoes of its legacy can be found in the new Land Cruiser, but this modern interpretation has been smoothed of its rough edges to reveal a modern SUV. Just one trim level is available with a starting price of $83,825 fully equipped. The standard Toyota warranties apply: 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive, 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain, 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion perforation and ToyotaCare 2-year/25,000-mile complimentary maintenance with roadside assistance.

The Land Cruiser competes directly with its corporate sibling, the Lexus LX, an even more luxurious full-size SUV that rides on the same platform. It will also be measured against the Land Rover Range Rover, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX80 and a few others.

As Toyota's flagship SUV, the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser inspires admiration and desire. The current generation carries its heritage well and will continue to attract fans for years to come.

Find a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale

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.
2016 Toyota Land Cruiser: Real World Review - Autotrader