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There are greater than 40 manufacturers providing 230-some nameplates in America right this moment. Not a single one is a direct Land Cruiser competitor. So what’s the Land Cruiser’s mission?
It’s not aimed on the towing crowd. A $50,000 full-size half-ton something can tow greater than the Land Cruiser’s eight,100 lbs. It’s not for hauling individuals. A Sequoia, or every other full-size SUV, provides extra inside quantity, with at the very least $20,000 left over. It’s not for model snobs, as Toyota provides the practically an identical and vastly extra well-liked Lexus LX for these individuals. And no, it’s not even for the unconventional off-road fanatic. There are Wranglers, Tacomas, 4Runners, and Raptors with off-road capabilities to match the spectacular Land Cruiser.
The market evaluation justifying the Land Cruiser is contained someplace deep inside Toyota’s North America’s product planning places of work in Plano, Texas. However till a disgruntled worker or careless contractor leaks the file, we are going to merely want to invest.
The Land Cruiser appeared in industrial portions within the 1950’s and from there went on to earn its repute for go-anywhere sturdiness. I can personally attest to the utility and functionality of the 70-Collection Land Cruiser primarily based on my time in a high-roof troopie that shrugged off poor driver selections in Malawi (all the time test water crossings earlier than going wheels moist) and baboons (there’s a superb line between curiosity and malevolence). However right this moment’s North American spec Land Cruiser originated with the J50, which bifurcated the Land Cruiser lineup again in 1967. Thereafter, the Land Cruiser badge can be positioned on a rising vary of sunshine industrial autos (J20/30/40/70), in addition to on simpler to reside with but extremely succesful passenger-oriented SUVs (J50/60/80/90/120/150/100/200).
None of those merchandise have been designed for the North American market. And right this moment’s Land Cruiser isn’t any totally different. It receives minor adaptions to verify to the peculiarities of our market. However at 112 inches, its wheelbase is 4 to 10 inches shorter than different full-size SUVs. And its width and total size are likewise three-quarter dimension. Positive, it has Toyota’s 381 horsepower 5.7-liter gasoline V8 and a speedo that reads in mph, however these alterations hardly conceal a automobile as near African spec as one can find on a supplier lot in North America. This is without doubt one of the few unadulterated international market autos journalists and lovers pine for.
The common Toyota supplier sells seven of those rigs yearly.
That’s not as a result of it’s dangerous. It’s good. In truth, it’s nice. Simply don’t attempt to lump it right into a comparability with every other automobile accessible in America right this moment. The present-generation Land Cruiser dates to 2008.
In 2016 Toyota executed a refresh together with a brand new grill, rear finish remedy, eight-speed transmission, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), and the newest Entune multimedia interface. The brand new visage is extra nuanced and delicate to this reviewer’s eye. However who cares what it appears like, it’s a kind follows perform product with a no-nonsense repute to uphold. Sculpting its physique like a F86 merely wouldn’t be proper. Any magnificence within the Land Cruiser’s exterior is conferred by the data of what this rig can do.
Inside, the story is much less utilitarian. This Land Cruiser is supplied for consolation. And all of the goodies are current, with out the necessity to possibility it up. It’s an all or nothing affair together with heated and cooled energy seats, contact display navigation, 14-speaker JBL sound, energy steering wheel adjustment, park help, blind spot monitoring, LED headlights, and extra. That is nothing just like the truck-come-tractor 70-Collection I drove in Africa. Apply some Lexus logos, improve the leather-based, blow out the audio system and it might have been the Lexus LX.
Not like different full-size SUVs, the Land Cruiser was not designed with an on-road bias backed up by secondary off-road functionality. No, this automobile was designed round an obligation cycle that might rattle a Sequoia, Tahoe, or Armada to items at 40,000 kilometers. And it exhibits within the Land Cruiser’s on-road manners. They’re in a phrase, unlucky. Each automobile presents compromises. For the Land Cruiser it’s pavement. The brakes are non-linear. They characteristic an inflection level when slowing by means of 30mph the place they grow to be progressive and haul the large SUV to a cease with undesirable abruptness. After every week with the large Toyota its brakes didn’t develop on me.
Furthermore, Land Cruiser drivers shouldn’t be in a rush. Regardless of its modest dimensions, it’s as heavy or heavier than every other full-size 4X4 SUV. It even outweighs its notoriously portly near-peer, the LR4. Acceleration, steering, and cornering are languid. The Land Cruiser is the tortoise of vehicles. It tells its driver, Take your time, there’s no rush. Simply observe that Avalon in the proper lane.
Filth, sand, and dirt are house for the Land Cruiser. However it’s not because of a character transformation. The Toyota is like your blunt opinionated cousin who entertains at Thanksgiving however can’t appear to get forward professionally. The Land Cruiser hasn’t modified; it’s merely a matter of context, and off-highway is its most well-liked venue. Washboard, a reliably uncomfortable check for many SUV’s, isn’t any downside. The Toyota doesn’t strategy washboard like a Raptor, which smoothes the bumps by means of velocity and internal-bypass wizardry. The Land Cruiser takes them head-on with a workman-like strategy befitting its heft and close to six-digit worth. Boulders, water, rutted out off-camber inclines, the Land Cruiser doesn’t care.
We took the Land Cruiser up scenic Oriflamme Canyon, east of San Diego. This average to difficult 11-mile route climbs out of the Anza-Borrego Desert into San Diego backcountry. 1 / 4 of the way in which up the path on a piece of path lower right into a steep barren hillside we encountered our first actual impediment. A CJ2 sized boulder that fell from above and lodged itself throughout half of the already slim single observe. The choice was easy. Again down the path or squeeze between the boulder and the equally unforgiving hill face whereas executing a slight leftward pivot to keep away from upper-body injury. The Land Cruiser will not be a small rig, however we knew Wranglers had efficiently navigated the impediment. With solely a pair additional inches of girth versus the Jeep, we determined we might make it.
From there the observe received nasty. However nothing our rig’s clearance and a dose of prudence couldn’t deal with. That stated, this path wouldn’t be an applicable check route for a Sequoia or Expedition. Some latest rains made for a modest water crossing, one thing of a rarity for wheelers in San Diego. And round mile eight the height impediment got here into view. The steep, uneven, and closely rutted Stairway to Heaven provides one the prospect to summit the route’s four,150-foot excessive level. Or, you’ll be able to simply stroll it, benefit from the view, then cruise the final couple of straightforward miles to Freeway 78.
With a middle locking diff, multi-terrain choose, crawl management, modest all-terrain Dunlops on off-road applicable 18-inch wheels, a formidable 32-degree strategy angle, an honest 21-degree breakover, and a wholesome 24-degree departure angle, the Land Cruiser is strictly the form of rig to sort out this in need of technical climb. And it wanted all of the articulation and traction is might muster. We did discover the restrict of its departure angle in a deeply rutted set of craters with off-camber, high-centering danger. The again finish stroked the filth however shrugged it off on its approach to the highest. Sure, that is simply the form of rig to get pleasure from such shenanigans in.
The Land Cruiser begins at $84,325. 4-wheel drive, the 5.7-liter V8, and all the pieces else is customary. Choose from six exterior and two inside colours. That’s it. The MSRP on our tester was $85,520, together with a $1,195 supply processing price. Marketed gas economic system is 13 miles per gallon metropolis, 18 freeway. Noticed gas economic system was 14.2 mpg.
So who’s the Land Cruiser for? It’s for oil and mine managers, the middle-eastern middle-class, NGO nation administrators, and well-off Australians who wish to do the Outback in type. It’s not for us. It’s too small and costly to compete with different full-size SUVs. It’s too uncompromising and plebian to compete with premium SUVs. And it’s far too costly to compete with different off-road centered choices. In America, Mercedes sells extra G-Wagons and Audi extra A8’s than Toyota does Land Cruisers. However as leisurely because the Land Cruiser is on-road it’s equally good off-road. And I applaud those that toss conference apart and put certainly one of these stubbornly unapologetic SUVs of their storage.
However I concern there will not be sufficient of you to maintain the nameplate alive in North America. The departure of this storied and immensely succesful SUV from our market can be a disgrace. Please go purchase one.
[Images: Garrett Martin and Seth Parks]