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4-Door 4WDRegular Unleaded V-8, 5.7 L
Four Wheel Drive
|$ 71,246||$ 79,605|
Even by the standards of full-size sport-utility vehicles, the 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser is enormous, from its thirst for fuel to its remarkably high pricetag. The Land Cruiser name is one of Toyota's most venerable, but over the years it has morphed from a tough but basic Jeep-like truck to a huge and high-end vehicle that retains its off-roading abilities despite its many luxury features. While its past was filled with mountain climbing, desert treks, and safaris, the Land Cruiser seems more likely now to be used in high-end shopping malls and affluent surburbs. Still, it remains a vehicle that can do all things in all places, and that's an enduring niche if a low-volume one.
Starting at just a smidge south of $80,000, the Land Cruiser's classic SUV talents stand in roaring contrast to almost every other sensible, reliable, unflashy car carrying the Toyota brand--including the uber-green Prius hybrid. Its looks aren't all that different from the far cheaper Sequoia or the Land Cruiser's near-twin, the Lexus LX 570. Its 381-horsepower V-8 powers the hulking, 5700-pound, body-on-frame utility vehicle through four-wheel drive with a locking differential that combines with rugged suspension design to provide hardcore off-road ability. It will both accelerate the 5700-pound Land Cruiser to highway speeds and beyond (though with a prodigious consumption of gasoline) and slip and slide over slick rocks far from any highway at all.
But this prodigious off-road talent compromises its usefulness as an urban utility vehicle. The steering's loose; the ride can be choppy unless it's fully laden with up to eight passengers. And three of them will have to ride in third-row seats that fold up to the sides of the cargo area--not into the floor like most modern crossovers, because that's where the rear axle lives. In this land of compromise, the latest electronics keep the Land Cruiser happier both on and off the pavement, controlling the way it trundles down and up hills, the way it traverses all kinds of terrain, keeping its hydraulic suspension at the proper stiffness.
The universe of mega-SUVs is shrinking, especially when provided by a mass-market brand like Toyota. That makes it surprising that Toyota even bothered to bring the very expensive Land Cruiser back for an encore. It's not the luxury icon that Land Rover has in the Range Rover, and it's $30,000 pricier than Toyota's own, slightly more practical Sequoia. Unlike the Range Rover, its shape is hardly iconic, and the base price is extraordinarily high--but what other vehicle has inspired the "Land Crusher" nickname and lived (again) to tell about it?
To woo more buyers for the 2014 model year, Toyota's added as standard equipment all the Land Cruiser's previously optional safety and luxury options. To go with its standard 10 airbags, CD player, and leather upholstery, the Land Cruiser now gets a power moonroof; heated front and rear seats; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; push-button start; Bluetooth; a rearview camera and parking sensors; a navigation system; HD radio; and Entune, the Toyota connectivity offering that enables mobile apps for use with its audio system, whether it's streaming Pandora audio or on-the-go Facebook updates filed by voice commands.
- Inspires confidence by sheer bulk
- A true off-roader
- V-8 is powerfully smooth
- A long-haul experience
- Tows and carries...anything?
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- Choppy ride
- Uninspired looks
- Astronomically expensive
- Third-row seats