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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
a mountain goat with stitched leather upholstery
huge ability...in everything it does
Car and Driver
precise and confidence-inspiring
Kelley Blue Book
The 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser's performance is enough to get most reviewers raving. It's a tough, responsive vehicle.
Toyota's 5.7-liter V-8, shared with its other full-framed trucks and SUVs, was brought to the Toyota Land Cruiser in 2008. It churns out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, enough to move this 5,900-pound SUV to 60 mph from rest in just 6.5 seconds. Remarkably, this athletic, serene combination yields less emissions and better EPA numbers, at 13/18 mpg, than previous models. Car and Driver describes the power delivery as "velvety" and explains that it invokes the magic of variable valve timing, a variable-volume intake system, and an electronic fly-by-wire throttle to give performance that is "silky smooth and quiet"—until you ask it for max urge, at which point "you hear a muted yet mellifluous snarl from the engine bay."
Also impressive is the way the Land Cruiser comports itself on the tarmac. "Body lean is fairly well controlled," comments ConsumerGuide, which also finds "responsive steering, combined with a fairly tight turning radius, results in good maneuverability for such a large vehicle." "Expect unflappable nonchalance over acned asphalt," assures Car and Driver.
Kelley Blue Book says the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser's "ride comfort comes close to...luxury sedans" and calls its handling "precise and confidence-inspiring." A trick technology, KDSS in Toyota tech-speak, increases roll-stiffness when both shock absorbers on a given side of the vehicle are compressed, lending this big, cushy boat surprising resistance to body lean on paved roads.
That same KDSS increases suspension compliance dramatically on the 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser when only one wheel on a given side is forced upward, allowing for excellent suspension articulation necessary in true off-roading. That feature, a live rear axle (long known to be optimal for rock crawling), a locking Torsen center differential, and Crawl Control make the Land Cruiser "a mountain goat with stitched leather upholstery," according to Motor Trend. 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 2009 Toyota Land Cruiser performs incredibly well. It's an off-roading wonder.