2009 Toyota Land Cruiser Photo
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Quick Take
The 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser has a stellar, well-deserved reputation for off-road performance. On-road, the Land Cruiser falls far short of fantastic. Read more »
8.2 out of 10
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TheCarConnection.com has searched through some of the Web’s best reviews to compile a comprehensive review covering the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser. TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven the Land Cruiser on- and off-road to bring you this overall Bottom Line assessment.


  • Off-road ability
  • Confident handling
  • Powerful, torquey V-8
  • Towing capability
  • Well-earned reputation for longevity


  • Conservative, dull styling
  • Overly firm ride
  • Third row won’t stow away
  • Pricey!

The 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser benefits from a complete redesign for 2008, essentially carried over for ‘09. Last year, the vehicle stepped up to a more powerful engine, a quieter and more refined interior, and some nifty technological solutions for better handling, while preserving its legendary off-road prowess.

A 5.7-liter V-8—the same one used in the new Tundra pickup—powers the Tundra and makes 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The V-8 engine doesn't give the nearly 5,700-pound Land Cruiser blistering acceleration, but there's enough for very rapid takeoffs with an empty load and plenty for hauling or towing; the automatic transmission works perfectly with it, downshifting quickly.

The Land Cruiser's key off-road specs, including approach, departure, and break-over angles, along with ground clearance, are essentially unchanged compared with the model that ran through ‘07. The approach angle is especially impressive, at 30 degrees. Of course, four-wheel drive is standard in the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser. The four-wheel-drive system provides a separate low range, along with a Torsen center differential that can be locked in either range. The system sends 50 to 70 percent of its power to the rear wheels, depending on slip. Several electronic aids help the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser maintain stability and gain traction off-road. In addition to Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist, which are offered on other Toyota SUVs, a feature called Crawl Control helps maintain a very low speed when off-roading, employing the throttle, brakes, and stability control to do so. Tough body-on-frame construction for the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser allows more abuse than most vehicles, and the rear suspension is designed for nearly 9.5 inches of travel from normal to give good wheel articulation when off-roading.

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