Toyota Land Cruiser car review
- We like...Standard equipment; tough build
- We don't...Wood and leather steering wheel
Your wrist watch may be built for a diver to use, waterproof to hundreds of metres. You may never even get it wet... but it’s nice to know that it’ll cope, if you did. And we reckon the same approach holds good for 4x4s like Toyota’s just-revamped Land Cruiser.
You might doubt from looking at it, but this is actually the smaller of the two Land Cruisers you can currently buy– ‘V8’ badged ones are even bigger. This one is Toyota’s response to the updated Land Rover Discovery, which is its closest rival.
Like that vehicle, this car has the tough steel chassis, ground clearance and huge power to make it capable of cleaning muddy climbs that look impossible, pitch over ruts or even wade across a stream. But at the same time, Toyota says it has put equal effort to make it docile and restful to pilot across town en route to the shops.
But where the Discovery in its latest form edges away workhorse usefulness and towards executive chic, the Land Cruiser is unswayed by trend. Ours is the full-bling LC5 range-topper (cheaper LC3 and LC4 variants are also available) but, despite its gadget-packed cabin, wood and leather rimmed wheel and hide-covered seats, a look tells you that it is more about toughness and hard work than it is deep-pile carpet and soft seat leather. It is, however, very comfortable, now a couple of inches longer than before and as roomy as you’d want if you’re sat in the front or mid rows. There are also two extra seats that drop handily into the boot floor until needed. But they’re a squeeze for adults to use and are best left for children.
While it is big enough to be a handful to edge along narrow, double-parked city streets at least its steering is light and positive, its brakes responsive and progressive. Big door mirrors, parking sensors front and rear and a rear-view camera help out in tight spaces but it is too big to fit neatly into a typical supermarket space.
You sit high, high above the road and that means you feel a fair bit of ‘bounce’ from the suspension but it’s usually well tamed. The engine is gruff if asked to work hard but the car’s height keeps you at a distance from whatever sound it makes. It’ll take you along the motorway comfortably and quietly.
And if you go for our LC5, it is really very well kitted out. Part of it is practical such as ‘crawl control’ (which keeps you going over testing terrain), cameras so you can see obstacles behind and to either side, leather seats, eight airbags, standard sat-nav – the list goes on and on. It may not be as executive-friendly as the Discovery but for us it looks better value.
Should you buy one? In truth, you’re rarely if ever need a car that’ll do as much or that can hope in such hostile road conditions. But, going back to what we said at the start, it’s good to know what it is capable of, even if you never use it.
* Rating shown below is from new 1-50 groupings system
- Engines3.0 diesel
- 0-60 mph11.7secs
- Insurance groups33E*
Motors.co.uk value verdict: