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- Proper off-road cred
- Great ride quality
- Decadent interior
- Dripping with personality and heritage
- Strong V-8
- Ponderous steering
- Ghastly expensive
- The Lexus LX 570 exists, too
- Miserable fuel economy
- Do you really need all those off-road toys?
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is a conundrum: it’s way better on-road than its off-road credentials suggest it should be, but that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
The 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is an archaic enigma. It’s certainly outclassed on-road by most of its rivals, and yet it’s something nearly all of us would park in our garages.
We’ve rated it a 6.4 out of 10 overall, but there’s more to the 2018 Land Cruiser’s six decade heritage than just numbers. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
It’s hugely capable off-road and has an enviable reputation for reliability even under the harshest conditions. Those attributes have long made Land Cruisers a staple in the most remote, war-torn regions of the world, but they don’t really come into play in suburbia.
This year, the Land Cruiser is largely unchanged after a hefty refresh in 2016. Its rear-seat entertainment system gets with the times and becomes a stand-alone option instead of standard (since most kids are attached to their tablets these days) and its exterior mirrors now fold inward when the SUV is locked.
Lexus dealers sell their own version of the Land Cruiser as the LX 570. Aside from some suspension changes, styling differences, and a predictably tonier interior, the LX 570 is essentially the same vehicle.
The Land Cruiser comes in just one flavor: four-wheel drive with a 5.7-liter V-8 engine rated at 381 horsepower. Underneath its bulbous body sits a positively old-school ladder frame with an independent front suspension and a coil-sprung solid rear axle. That big V-8 provides admirable thrust, but ultimately the 5,800-pound curb weight means that fuel economy is abysmal. Even down hill.
Befitting its name, the Land Cruiser is well-equipped for going well beyond where the pavement ends. Full-time four-wheel drive with a proper low range, a locking center differential, a multi-mode traction control system, and a crawl control knob that works like off-road cruise control are all standard affair. Land Cruisers employ Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which combines extra-large sway bars with an automatic hydraulic disconnect to reduce body lean off-road while still allowing for tremendous wheel articulation on-road.
The system doesn’t turn the Land Cruiser into a corner carver, but it does take winding roads with commendably limited body lean. Plenty of sidewall and soft springs mean that the Land Cruiser also takes bumps in stride no matter the road (or lack thereof).
Inside, the Land Cruiser pampers with luxurious leather and room for eight (in a pinch), but some chintzy plastics serve as reminders that it’s really a dressed-up work truck. That’s not to say that safety has taken a back seat. The Land Cruiser comes standard with a full complement of airbags, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.