The Land Cruiser Heritage celebrates this model’s 60th anniversary.
Taking the trail less traveled is something Jeep does very well. But Toyota is also represented by multiple models, including the Tacoma, 4Runner, and the Land Cruiser. The four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser is the granddaddy of the three, with its roots traced to the company’s first utility vehicle introduced nearly 70 years ago. This SUV is also unusual, at least for Toyota, as it marries luxury aspirations to off-road grit.
Unique Heritage Edition
Toyota prices the 2020 Land Cruiser from $85,415 for the standard model to $87,745 for this year’s special Heritage Edition. Both trims incur a $1,395 destination charge. The Heritage model salutes the Land Cruiser’s 60th anniversary, losing the chrome embellishments and running boards of the standard version. This one adds blacked-out touches, BBS aluminum-alloy wheels, multi-terrain monitoring, an upgraded audio and navigation package, and deletes the third-row seat.
A roof basket is also included, which is useful for carrying extra cargo and gear. Although you’re not likely to navigate the Serengeti, North Carolina’s Uwharrie National Forest is a logical place to pack up and visit, but keep in mind the trails are closed during the winter.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is everything you imagine it to be. It’s a full-size model with room for eight or five with the Heritage Edition. A bold grille, upright roof pillars, huge tires, and a split-folding tailgate are just some of its features. Its commanding presence is itself a statement, signaling that this is no ordinary utility vehicle.
Inside, the creature comforts are high-end, nearer to a Lexus than it is to Toyota. A leather-trimmed interior, extra wide and comfortable front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, oversized storage compartments, and a full array of tech and audio gear is present.
The first two rows of seating supplies ample room for five. In the standard model, the third-row seat is cramped and not nearly as supportive as the second row. The maximum cargo space, as measured behind the first row is 82.3 cubic feet. This model tows too, pulling a robust 8,100 pounds when properly equipped.
Tech & Safety
Toyota equips the Land Cruiser with a 14-speaker JBL audio system and a 9-inch touch-screen display. Bluetooth, satellite radio, and HD Radio, Qi-wireless charging, and Apple CarPlay smartphone compatibility are also standard. A rear-seat entertainment system ($2,220) is available with the standard model.
Further, on the safety front, the Land Cruiser comes with automatic high beams, lane departure alert, and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. Adaptive cruise control comes standard.
Bold & Rugged
The Land Cruiser may not share the same comfortable ride as the Toyota Highlander crossover, but its suspension system eases much of the harshness common to truck-based vehicles. Although designed for off-road use, we think most owners keep this SUV firmly planted on the pavement.
All models come with a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. The terrain management system is the jewel here, enabling this SUV to conquer rocks, logs, and mud by controlling a knob. Should a quagmire take hold of your vehicle, an automated crawl control system comes to the rescue as it slowly, but methodically pulls free.
With nearly nine inches of ground clearance and excellent approach, breakover, and departure angle ratings, the big Toyota proves its worth. Its girth makes navigating tight trails a challenge, however, and its EPA-estimated 14 mpg rating is in stark contrast to the Corolla Hybrid. The 24.6-gallon fuel tank is a plus as is the SUV’s ability to run on regular gasoline.
Toyota Land Cruiser Musings
Lastly, the high price for the Land Cruiser puts it out of the reach of most consumers. Happily, the Tacoma and 4Runner get it done for less than half the price, minus many of the luxury trappings unique to the Land Cruiser.
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