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2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Test Drive Review

If you’re reading this right now, it’s likely that you own a sport utility vehicle. If that’s not the case, you probably owned one in the past or intend to buy one in the future. The odds are good that at least one of your immediate neighbors owns an SUV.

America has gone crazy for SUVs…again. Customers are throwing large sums of money at automakers in exchange for large, spacious, high-riding, and capable vehicles that make a statement and take a load full of people to a vacation destination or a group of kids to their extracurricular activities. Companies are listening, too. Subaru now has a three-row SUV. Ford is doing away with all but two of its passenger cars (don’t worry – the Mustang is safe) to focus on producing trucks, crossovers, and SUVs.

Toyota has options for everyone, whether you want an eye-catching sedan, a mid-size truck, a full-size pickup, a family-friendly minivan, a compact SUV, or an off-road capable rig. Given the current appetite for SUVs, it’s no surprise that the Land Cruiser — which Toyota first started selling in the U.S. 60 years ago — is still going strong. Toyota’s flagship SUV combines handsome looks with ample power, plenty of interior space, and impressive capabilities over rough terrain. We spent a week in a 2018 Land Cruiser and can totally understand why it’s still around after all of this time.

Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Exterior

The Land Cruiser has been around so long that it was here when the term “sport utility vehicle” entered the American vocabulary. Maybe that’s why even the current Land Cruiser features classic SUV styling. At more than six feet tall, 6.5 feet wide, and more than 16 feet long, it’s large. It’s ready for rough roads with 8.9 inches of ground clearance and approach, breakover, and departure angles of 32, 21, and 24 degrees, respectively.

The Land Cruiser’s broad, chrome-ringed grille gives it a square-jawed handsomeness and sits between a pair of LED headlights. LED fog lights are also ready to light the path ahead in the murkiest weather. Twin power bulges on the hood hint at the power underneath it.

Chrome strips on the bottoms of the side doors and full-length running boards visually connect the 18-inch wheels, which are wrapped in all-season rubber that can handle road trips and rocky trails.

Out back, more chrome spans the width of the power liftgate and joins the massive LED tail lights.

There’s no mistaking the Land Cruiser when you see it out on the road. You know it’s a Land Cruiser. And the Land Cruiser’s defined lines and solid looks make it clear exactly which kind of vehicle it is.

Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Interior

Visually, the Land Cruiser makes things simple. There’s no mystery about whether or not it’s an SUV. It also keeps things simple inside. There’s only one Land Cruiser trim line and one option package you can select. Standard equipment includes three rows of leather seats (heated and ventilated in the front; heated in the second row); four-zone automatic climate control connected to 28 vents; a moonroof; a nine-inch touchscreen; a 14-speaker JBL audio system; navigation; the Entune App Suite with Pandora, Slacker Radio, OpenTable, and MovieTickets.com compatibility; and a cooler box in the center console. That sole option package contains a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with a pair of 11.6-inch flat screens behind the front headrests. Our test vehicle was equipped with it, but we spent our time using the Land Cruiser’s ample interior storage capacity to move from one apartment to another. With its third-row seats folded down, the Land Cruiser offered 16.1 cubic feet of space. With those out of the way, volume increased to 43 cubic feet. If we laid the second row down flat, capacity peaked at 81.7 cubic feet – plenty of room for flat storage bins, racks full of shoes, boxes packed with miscellaneous items, and small appliances.

When we got all the moving done, we made sure to sit in every row of the Land Cruiser. Space in the front captain’s chairs was not an issue. The second row offered plenty of legroom for yours truly, who’s 5’10”, as well as ceiling-mounted HVAC vents. The third row also featured its own HVAC vents, but headroom and legroom was noticeably tighter. Its space won’t be an issue for shorter passengers, children, or people who can convince those in the second row to slide their seat forward an inch or so.

Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Performance

Powertrain engineers kept the Land Cruiser’s engine simple, too. There’s only one: a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and full-time four-wheel drive system processes it all. Toyota’s been using that engine for a long time, but even after all of these years, it still has plenty of grunt and enables the Land Cruiser to tow up to 8,100 pounds. Unfortunately, partially as a result of its nearly three-ton curb weight, the Land Cruiser only gets 13 city, 18 highway, and 15 combined mpg.** Good thing it has a 24.6-gallon fuel tank.

On the road, the body-on-frame Land Cruiser’s independent double-wishbone front and four-link rear suspension systems did a respectable job of dulling the impacts of rough, bumpy pavement, but did allow for noticeable brake dive when we engaged the 14-inch front and 13.6-inch rear disc brakes.

It’s a shame we didn’t have time to take the Land Cruiser off-road because we’ve done that in the past and found it to be an enjoyable showcase of the vehicle’s advanced technologies. The Land Cruiser’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System automatically disconnects the sway bar and adjusts the suspension for better wheel articulation over uneven terrain. The Torsen limited-slip center differential was designed to send power to the axle or wheel with the most traction. With the twist of a knob, we could tell the Multi-terrain Select system to handle a variety of surfaces, including rocks, mud, and sand. Crawl Control was there to manage throttle and brake application if we felt like traversing challenging trails with minimal footwork.

Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Safety

All Land Cruisers come standard with 10 airbags; the Star Safety System’s stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking system, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, and Smart Stop Technology; Blind Spot Monitor; and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

The standard Toyota Safety Sense P suite adds a Pre-Collison System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, automatic high beams, and speed- and distance-monitoring Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.

Toyota Land Cruiser

2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Overall

SUVs aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Neither is the Land Cruiser. Make sure you go to an an AutoNation Toyota dealership when you’re ready to buy one. Prices for the 2018 Land Cruiser start at $84,315.* Our review vehicle had an as-tested price of $87,180.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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