Toyota’s reputation is untouchable in the auto industry for a reason and the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is the old vanguard on the block. Its reputation is nothing to play with (unless you like spending a lot of time outdoors). The big-boy SUV is a 4-wheel drive notched above the family-oriented Sequoia. When you buy the Land Cruiser in this model year, you get only one choice: Fully loaded. Toyota is not here to play games. The good news for the outdoor lovers is that Toyota hasn’t experimented and dropped the ball. This is the same tank of Japanese ingenuity that we’ve come to expect year-in and year-out.
Let’s jump right in and discuss the interior. Toyota’s focus is on customer comfort as well as vehicle longevity. The interior is plush and comfortable, starkly juxtaposing the interior feel with exterior’s ruggedness. For the trips to the ski slope or mountain-biking, this is a car that’ll get you there in style, comfort and dependability.
The materials Toyota uses deliver a seamless experience, whether it’s turning up the volume on a rock song through the speakers—or to drown out the rattle of the off-road equipment on the roof. Even luxury SUVs just don’t have the same attention to detail. If there’s a new level, Toyota’s up there.
Superfluous words aside, the exterior of the SUV is both dynamic and fluid, rugged yet sleek and very, well… Toyota. We loved the dynamic and Toyota’s nameplate is no joke.
Toyota’s flexibility and customization are its hallmarks and with the Land Cruiser, that has shown in the SUV’s adaptability for various markets around the world. Toyota positions the trucks for farmers to urban dwellers escaping to the mountains over the weekend to emerging markets where it’s not unlikely to see police and first responders hopping in and out of the car. (And then there’s the occasional foreign minister, as our own staff writer Slav Kandyba was fortunate to get a visit from Mr. Bernard Membe, Tanzania’s equivalent of Hillary Clinton, on a trip to Dar es Salaam in June 2007; Membe hopped out of a beat-up Land Cruiser with an imposing-but-friendly looking Islamic driver).
Back to the facts on the ground. The hardened doors and thicker windows are designed to eliminate noise inside the cabin and keep the SUV moving smoothly across rough terrain. The leather bucket seats are comfy on the back and the backside, and we definitely appreciated the heated/cooled seats. Toyota’s premium audio system is definitely premium too and the SUV is also equipped with radar cruise controls.
For the riders in the back seat, two 11.6-inch screens linked to a DVD entertainment system provide ample things to look at. Did we mention that Toyota also added a fridge in the center console? You bet that’s where the Soylent is kept.
There’s a lot of room in the Land Cruiser. All told, cargo capacity is at 81.7 cubic feet and the third-and second-row seats fold. The 40/20/40 split rear seat provides all the comfort you’d want and expect for up to three passengers. The SUV also includes a slide forward for convenient access to the third-row seats; all three sections can be folded and provide more than plenty space for baggage, luggage and gear. The SUV’s rear seats also fold flat and against the interior walls, creating a level load floor that can be utilized to move couches, TVs and everything in-between.
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is a hefty car, and its fuel efficiency isn’t the greatest. But, at 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway and a 15 mpg average, the Land Cruiser doesn’t do a shabby job. Mercedes-Benz GLS, Lincoln Navigator and Land Rover Range Rover may do better at gas mileage, while Toyota offers more features.
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser features a 5.7-liter V-8 engine with 381 horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. feet of torque. Toyota went all in with all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission as standard—and only—option. There’s also a two-gear transfer case and a locking center differential.
One marvel of engineering from Toyota are the anti-roll bars, formally called by the Japanese automaker as Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which are 1.68 inches in diameter and add to efficiency at high speeds. The Land Cruiser handles the curvy roads with ease, as result.
For city driving, the Land Cruiser fits right in like a chameleon, its power tucked away. The sole exception is that you push it around the city, its steering wheel can feel a bit bulky. The dimensions of the truck also make it less than pleasant to park. Turning it is also quite the hairy task, as it can be gentle bending corners while jolting the passengers at times.
The Land Cruiser weighs 6,000 pound with several passengers aboard and can tow up to 8,100 pounds. For all this heft, the SUV handles deftly when you press the gas pedal. Just don’t push it too hard, because its response won’t be as firm.
The SUV’s 18-inch tires are ample and deliver a firm, easy ride, although the feel of the road is lost in translation. That’s nothing to gripe at, though, considering the Land Cruiser’s clearly designed to slot into various global markets where its value has met expectations (that much is clear without looking at Toyota’s balance sheets).
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser carries a MSRP of $83,665 and with the Rear Seat Entertainment System ($2,220) and delivery fee, the SUV’s price sits at just a tick under $90,000.
What we liked: The standard features included are above expectations and add a touch of excellence, all very useful and utilizable from the moment you hop behind the wheel. The SUV’s fairly quick for its heft but handles well and has a posh interior that’s all about comfort, all the time.
What we didn’t like: For all of its functionality, the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is just that: Functional. It’s gas mileage is paltry, it doesn’t have much in the way of innovation and it’s not exactly priced to be affordable to anyone.
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is a premium SUV for the more discerning, definitely more affluent and adventurous buyer. We’re talking a step up from the guy or gal that gets a Chevrolet Tahoe and may be considering a Cadillac Escalade. The Land Cruiser is a very focused vehicle for buyers who want a car with off-road adventure DNA under its hood and throughout its entire “SUV-iness.”
Photo Credit: Copyright 2018 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog