- Real off-road capability
- Confidence-inspiring road feel
- Abundant power from the V-8
- Less-than-inspiring looks
- Too-firm ride
- Can't stow third row
The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser has a stellar, well-deserved reputation for off-road performance. On-road, the Land Cruiser falls far short of fantastic.
The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser builds on the complete redesign from 2008, essentially carried over for 2010, though with the addition of a few new features. Upgrades this year are primarily technological, with the introduction of the new Safety Connect telematics system and upgraded navigation and audio systems.
You'll know the 2010 Land Cruiser from a distance, with its characteristic and classic styling immediately recognizable. It's not surprising or inspiring like some of its rivals, but as the established benchmark for the class, it doesn't need to be. Interior styling is a bit more forward-looking, though not always in a good way. The technology-heavy presentation occasionally seems at odds with the rough-and-ready nature of the vehicle itself.
Only one engine is available for the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser, a brawny 5.7-liter V-8 engine rated at 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The same engine is also found in the Tundra pickup. Here it's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and though the hefty 5,700-pound curb weight doesn't do the Land Cruiser any favors in acceleration, the engine still feels strong in freeway merges and hauling or towing duty. The six-speed auto makes easy work of the necessary gear changes, operating quickly and smoothly. Despite the beefy power output, the 2010 Land Cruiser returns 13 mpg city and 18 mpg.
Off-road performance is predictably very good, with an approach angle of 30 degrees, standard four-wheel drive with low and high range, and a locking Torsen center differential. The all-wheel-drive system can send anywhere between 50 to 70 percent of the engine's power to the rear wheels depending on conditions, and a range of electronic stability and dynamics controls help to maintain grip on- and off-road. Hill Descent Control makes it easy to cruise slowly down tricky inclines, and Hill Start Assist helps keep you from rolling backward on uphill starts. The Land Cruiser's construction also aids its off-road ability, with its body-on-frame construction making it more rugged and tough than most. The rear suspension offers a full 9.5 inches of travel to help articulate the wheels over the most demanding terrain.
A hydraulic suspension system called Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System offers smooth and stable handling on-road while allowing all that wheel articulation off-road. The system acts to dynamically stiffen the front and rear anti-roll bars through a hydraulic reservoir system on the highway, but can effectively disconnect them on the dirt.
Despite the high-tech suspension setup, TheCarConnection.com's editors find the ride in the 2010 Land Cruiser can be quite firm at times, even jolting over larger bumps. The KDSS is better suited to handle the task of helping the tall, heavy Land Cruiser corner well on smooth surfaces.
There's a lot of comfort to be found in the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser. Its interior layout offers plenty of room front and rear, though third-row seating is still a bit of an afterthought. The third-row seats also don't stow into the floor like many modern SUVs, instead swiveling off to the side where they impinge somewhat on available cargo space. As far as quality and fit and finish go, the 2010 Land Cruiser is nice but not particularly stylish or luxurious, as befits the Toyota brand and the Land Cruiser name, if not the $70,000-plus price of a well-optioned model. Despite its big and boxy dimensions, there's not a lot of wind or road noise to deal with.
You won't run short of standard features and available options to ratchet up the price, either. All models come standard with a JBL six-disc CD changer stereo with 14 speakers, Smart Key keyless entry and push-button start, security system, cruise control, power moonroof, auto-dimming side and rearview mirrors, HomeLink garage door opener, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, and heated power front and rear seats with driver memory settings. Available options include a rear-seat entertainment system, Bluetooth hands-free calling, sonar-based backup, and rearview monitor system. A newly upgraded navigation system for 2010 is also available, as is the all-new Safety Connect telematics system that can inform emergency services in the case of an accident.
You might think the 2010 Land Cruiser is one safe beast due to its size, and that's a fair assumption, though it hasn't been tested yet. It does come standard with electronic stability control, traction control, driver and front passenger active front headrests, driver and front passenger knee bags, first- and second-row outboard thorax side airbags, three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags, and multiterrain anti-lock braking.