The Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t change much, instead, it has evolved very slowly over time since it first arrived back in 1951 as Toyota’s version of a Jeep. The Land Cruiser has been produced in convertible, hardtop, and station wagon styles and is Toyota’s longest-running series of models and the second longest-running SUV in production behind the Chevrolet Suburban. Its reliability and longevity are legendary and have led to huge popularity, in fact, almost cult-like status.

So, the old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” applies here more than any other car I’ve driven. First impressions though are not Wow-inducing, it’s a large boxy unassuming SUV on some pretty old bones. But don’t let that fool you, the Land Cruiser is extremely competent off-road and super comfortable and spacious on road.

PROS: Superb Off-Road, Impeccable Build Quality

My 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser tester arrived with Magnetic Gray Metallic paint a complementary beige leather interior and a $2,220 Rear Seat Entertainment System as the only option. This takes the as-tested price to $90,141 which seems a lot but if you break it down to how long this car will last you, it starts to make sense. Consider that the average car lasts 12 years and Toyota builds the Land Cruiser to last 25 years, then the asking price makes more sense.

Toyota offers only one engine option a 5.7-liter V-8 making 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty to get the 5,800-pound Land Cruiser both on and off-road. The engine is mated to a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission which will propel the vehicle from zero to sixty in 7.0 seconds.

Driving Impressions

On-road you notice the Land Cruiser’s suspension is soft and compliant, and it makes for a very pleasant ride. You can waft along sitting on your high perch as it soaks up the worst pavement that Southern California can throw at you. Yes, there is a lot of body roll but it’s well-controlled and does its best to disguise the tallness and overall mass.

CONS: Older Tech, Quite Pricey

The Land Cruiser’s brakes are very good with a good pedal feel and provide reassuring stops time after time. They need to be since they provide support for the Crawl Control and Hill-Descent Control. The Land Cruiser was specifically designed to be an off-roader hence it has a ground clearance and short overhangs.



The solid-axle displays impressive wheel articulation off-road, we took it over some fairly deeply rutted road, and it passed with flying colors, however, I’m not sure the folks who fork out $90k for one of these would take it where we did. If necessary, the Land Cruiser will ford up to 27.6-inches and has four underbody skid plates to avoid a damaged bottom.

The Land Cruiser has a veritable array of off-road hardware at your disposal which includes a two-speed transfer case and a locking center differential as well as a nifty off-road turn assist function that can tighten the turning circle by grabbing the brakes on the inside wheels. Add to that Hill Descent Crawl Control, Differential Locks a multi-terrain monitor, and multi-terrain selection control.

The only real downside is fuel economy, the big V8 is somewhat thirsty, I averaged 16 mpg for the week I had it, so visits to the gas pumps are a common occurrence if you’re on a long road trip.


Take a step back in time and admire the interior of this Toyota, it’s not super luxurious particularly at its price point, but it is thoughtfully laid out and you instantly feel at home. The seats and steering wheel are wrapped in very supple leather, the seats are supremely good and even on the longest of journeys provide perfect support and comfort.

The old school shows itself in the huge center stack that would almost put Yosemite’s El Capitan to shame, it’s huge and blocky and I love it. The center screen is touch-sensitive as well as having backup buttons for Volume and Tuning. The gauge cluster ahead of the driver is old-school too, a digital dash would surely look out of place.

Space inside is very good, my tester had the 3rd row so technically could seat 8, however, access to the rear is tricky as the rear DVD screens do get in the way. That 3rd row is good for kids meanwhile the 2nd row is very spacious, and the seats back recline as well as offering heat.

Being so square and boxy the Land Cruiser’s cargo capacity is generous offering 6.1 cubic feet behind the 3rd row, 43 cubic feet behind the second row, and 81.7 ft³ with all seats flat.

Final Thoughts

You may think it would make more sense to look at the Land Cruiser’s size and powertrain and consider saving $20K or more and get a Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro, however, I pitched that question to my wife (who loved the Land Cruiser) and she said “Nah”. This car is the real deal and will last 25 years, the Sequoia won’t.

It’s perfect for a road trip with the family, you could saddle up and drive to Moab from San Diego, in a perfectly relaxed manner and then take an off-road adventure into the wilderness. It’s that good.

You certainly need money, but it doesn’t shout flashy, you just get the occasional nod of approval from other motorists who just know. I loved the land Cruiser for the week I had it, I really hope Toyota continues to sell it here with possibly a new twin-turbo V6 under the hood.

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Numbers

BASE PRICE: $85,515
VEHICLE LAYOUT: Front-engine, RWD,  8 passenger, 4-door SUV
ENGINE: 5.6L DOHC 32-valve V-8

POWER: 381 hp @ 5,600 rpm
TORQUE: 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

0-60 MPH: 7.0 seconds
CURB WEIGHT: 5,815 lbs
CARGO CAPACITY: 16.1 to 43 ft³, 81.7 ft³ with seat area
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 24.6 gallons
city/17 highway/14 combined
PROS: As solid as it gets, impeccable build quality, hugely competent off-road
CONS: Getting old, expensive

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser REVIEW- A singular masterpiece