2010 Toyota Land Cruiser Review

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Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor
December 27, 2009

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.

TheCarConnection.com has compiled excerpts from the Web's best reviews bring you a detailed look at the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser in the Full Review. TheCarConnection.com's editors also took the wheel of the Land Cruiser both on- and off-road to bring you this Bottom Line assessment.

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.

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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.








7

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Styling

The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser isn't too spectacular inside, but it looks good from the curb.

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.

Function still takes precedence over form in the 2010 Land Cruiser-not that it's in anyway ugly. It's a look that's "unmistakably 'Land Cruiser,'" says Motor Trend, and though Car and Driver notes that Toyota eschews "heroic Nissan Murano-like experiments with the styling here," it's a refreshing change from its bulging-fendered competitors. Kelley Blue Book sums up the styling ethos of the Land Cruiser, declaring "when you're confident of your ability, you don't have to pretend."

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. Edmunds calls the cabin "fresh" and notes its "enhanced features," compared to the previous model. Kelley Blue Book, on the other hand, complains that the main control surfaces "are awash with switches, gauges and displays; it will take owners some time to figure out what they all do."

8

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Performance

The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser performs incredibly well. It's an off-roading wonder.

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.

"Velvety" power delivery is explained by the V-8's application of variable valve timing, a variable-volume air intake, and drive-by-wire throttle, according to Car and Driver. Uncorking the engine evokes a "muted yet mellifluous snarl from the engine bay," they add.

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, the ride in the 2010 Land Cruiser can be quite firm at times, even jolting over larger bumps. The KDSS is better suited to handling the task of helping the tall, heavy Land Cruiser corner well on smooth surfaces. Automobile calls the ride "disheveled" over broken surfaces.

Car and Driver finds even bumpy pavement no trouble for the Land Cruiser's suspension, however, saying drivers can "expect unflappable nonchalance over acned asphalt." Kelley Blue Book agrees, arguing the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser's "ride comfort comes close to...luxury sedans" with "precise and confidence-inspiring" handling. "Body lean is fairly well controlled," according to ConsumerGuide, and they praise the Land Cruiser's "responsive steering" and "good maneuverability for such a large vehicle." It handles even better when towing, says Automobile: "With a trailer hooked up, the Land Cruiser's driving demeanor radically changed, and it came into its element as a true truck."

Off-road performance is predictably very good, with an approach angle of 30 degrees, standard four-wheel drive with low and high range, a live axle, and a locking Torsen center differential. Crawl Control takes the driver's feet completely out of the equation when off-road, both accelerating and braking as needed to keep the Cruiser crawling at a predetermined speed, either uphill or down. 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 helps its off-road ability, with its body-on-frame construction making it more rugged and tougher than most. The rear suspension offers a full 9.5 inches of travel to help articulate the wheels over the most demanding terrain.

All of these features combine to make the Land Cruiser "a mountain goat with stitched leather upholstery," according to Motor Trend.

8

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser offers great seating for five-but not for seven.

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 the optional 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.

Front seats in the 2010 Land Cruiser are "large, comfortable ... with lots of adjustments" and passengers will find "ample headroom and legroom," says ConsumerGuide. There's a good sense of space in the cabin, too, as Car and Driver notes "the glass area feels big, the view panoramic." They also praise the seats, calling them "thrones." Getting in and out of the cabin can be tough at times, though, due to the 2010 Land Cruiser's height and absence of running boards.

Second-row seating is similarly accommodating. ConsumerGuide notes that though "foot space is tight unless the front seats are raised," overall available space is "impressive," with enough room to "fit three across in a pinch." Separate audio and climate controls for rear passengers are convenient, and the ability to side back and forth about three inches improve legroom.

If there's one area for concern, it's the third-row seating. Motor Trend refers to the "iconoclastic side-folding third-row seats," noting they're none too comfortable to sit on and tend to get in the way of cargo when folded up. That's only a problem once you get back there, of course. "Entry is a jungle-gym climb," cautions Car and Driver, "and once you arrive-typical of SUVs with rigid rear axles-the cushion is barely off the floor." The end result is an awkward compromise between both comfort and cargo space, though there's still enough room for Autoblog to call it a "prairie-sized cabin."

Overall refinement is good, with most reviewers praising ride quality and cabin noise. "Wind, road, and engine noise are well controlled, even at highway speeds, making the Land Cruiser as quiet as some luxury cars," gushes ConsumerGuide. They go on to note that "materials are generally luxury grade" and "workmanship is likewise impressive."

9

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Safety

The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser hasn't been safety-tested, but it has all the crash-avoidance and passenger-protection bells and whistles one expects.

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.

Car and Driver highlights the Land Cruiser's "barrage of airbags." That's 10 airbags, to be exact, including knee airbags for both front occupants, two rows of side impact airbags, and three-row curtain airbags.

Even with stability and traction control, the Land Cruiser is a heavy, tall SUV, and rollovers are therefore a real risk in the event of a crash. Bigger may feel safer, but that's not always the case when the rubber leaves the road and the metal meets it.

Still, the Land Cruiser should prove as tough as any SUV. Edmunds points out a stiffened frame that enhances crashworthiness and provides a foundation for the other safety feature to do their jobs, like the optional precollision system, "which cinches the front seatbelts when the various electronic sensors detect skidding or sudden hard braking."

9

2010 Toyota Land Cruiser

Features

The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser includes plenty of features to keep every potential driver happy, whether they're a gearhead or just along for the ride.

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. With all this technology at hand, it's easy to feel like the dash is "mission control and you're the NASA engineer," says Autoblog.

The Land Cruiser's off-road capabilities are prodigious, thanks in part to its rugged body-on-frame construction and in part to its wide range of assistive technologies, including Hill Assist Control, Active-TRAC, and Downhill Assist Control. All of these can be activated and adjusted by controls in the center console.

Available options include a rear-seat entertainment system with 9-inch screen, Bluetooth hands-free calling, sonar-based backup and rearview monitor system, heated second-row seats, and a center console refrigerated compartment. 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. Autoblog likes the 9-inch touchscreen, noting its "excellent resolution and all-condition visibility." Edmunds points out that "there is only one trim level," but Car and Driver states, "every convenience item known to the driving public has been integrated."

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8.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7.0
Performance 8.0
Comfort & Quality 8.0
Safety 9.0
Features 9.0
Fuel Economy N/A
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