The mighty Toyota Land Cruiser is king of the SUVs
2021 is the final year for Toyota's deservedly legendary Land Cruiser. After more than 70 years of production, the final Land Cruisers are at dealerships now. It's the end of an era, and the Land Cruiser departs as one of the best premium SUVs on the market.
Originally developed as a Jeep-like vehicle for military and off-road use, the Land Cruiser went through several generations on its way to becoming Toyota's premium SUV. However, the Land Cruise never lost its tough off-road chops, and still comes with real low-range four-wheel-drive gears, if you need them. The Land Cruiser also rides a shorter wheelbase than its typical full-size, three-row competitors. This makes it a little more nimble on the road, while still offering plenty of passenger and cargo space up to 82.8 cubic feet.
The Land Cruiser uses the same 5.7-liter V8 engine found in the 2021 Tundra full-size pickup. The engine is good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to an advanced eight-speed automatic transmission with full-time four-wheel-drive, and optional low-range gears for serious off-roading. This gives the Land Cruiser great power, consistent traction, and more ability to get where you're going than many of its competitors. Towing capacity is 8,100 pounds.
The Land Cruiser also offers 8.9 inches of ground clearance. If you're short, you might want to invest in running boards to help you up into the driver's seat. But once you're up there, the view from the Land Cruiser is commanding. There's plenty of window glass and not a lot of decorative body styling. One thing the Land Cruiser has always possessed is a rough-and-ready look that befits a capable adventure vehicle.
However, the Land Cruiser also has a luxury side. This is the nicest vehicle you can buy with a Toyota badge on it. Lexus has a version of the Land Cruiser, too, but you don't really need to plus up this interior. All the modern conveniences and comforts are there, including a state-of-the-art nine-inch infotainment touchscreen display, seat heat and ventilation, and a heated steering wheel. A special shout-out goes to the wireless device charging, which is convenient on the center console and also allows you to cover your phone while it's charging, so you're never tempted to look down at it.
On the road, the Land Cruiser is solid and comfortable. The steering is steady and responsive for the size of vehicle, and the brakes are so good you'll have to learn to be gentle. The suspension has enough give to let you know this is a serious off-road vehicle, but combines smoothness and stability to deliver a confident ride.
The last of the Land Cruisers are Toyota's "Heritage Edition." You may have to look around a bit to find one, but if you've ever wanted a Land Cruiser, now is the time to act.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
Base price: $85,515
Price as tested: $87.845
Type: Full-size SUV
Engine: 5.7-liter V8 (381 hp, 401 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 13/17
Overall length: 194.9 inches
Curb weight: 5,815 pounds
Final assembly: Aichi, Japan
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.