2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Review
Taking an “It ain’t broke, so why fix it?” approach, Toyota issues the 2017 version of the Land Cruiser with no changes from the 2016 model. With a heritage stretching back some 60 years, the Land Cruiser is one of the most venerable models in Toyota’s lineup.
A mild redesign for 2016 updated the look, powertrain and some of the electronic amenities. However, Land Cruiser still lacks a power liftgate, accommodating third-row seats and its fuel economy lags behind that of some of its more contemporary competitors. However, when it comes to blending comfort, solid road manners and true go-anywhere capability, very few of its rivals compare favorably.
Power comes from a 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, routing 401 ft-lbs of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case. Fuel economy is rated at 15 mpg overall. We did slightly better, averaging 19, though we spent a good amount of time on the highway. The Land Cruiser is rated to tow a maximum of 8,100 pounds and comes fully equipped with everything you need for the task including an engine oil cooler, sway control and wiring for a trailer-brake controller.
Enhancing the Land Cruiser’s off road abilities is a dynamic suspension system capable of decoupling the stabilizer bars to facilitate better wheel articulation over obstacles. This is nicely complemented by a driver-selectable multi-terrain system offering pre-set calibrations for the powertrain, stability control and traction control to deal with dirt, mud or snow. It also includes crawl control for steep descents, hill-start assist for setting the big Land Cruiser into motion in the midst of an uphill climb from a standstill, and off-road turn assist to improve handling on marginal surfaces.
Inside, the eight-passenger Land Cruiser is easily one of the best-equipped models in the category. Delivered in one fully loaded state of trim, standard accommodations include plush leather upholstery, genuine wood trim, four-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger, a nine-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, a surround-view camera system and a rear-seat DVD-based video entertainment system. Additional amenities include a 14-speaker surround audio system and Siri Eyes Free.
Further, many of the latest electronic driver’s aids are featured as standard equipment. These include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision alert and mitigation with pedestrian detection, along with Toyota's Safety Connect emergency telematics system.
Comfort is outstanding in the first and second rows, while the third row seats have limited legroom, so they’re best suited for children. Front seats are heated and ventilated, rear seats are heated — and so is the steering wheel. The second row split-folds 40/20/40, while the third row split-folds 50/50.
Although most rivals fold their third rows flat to increase cargo capacity, Land Cruiser’s fold out from the sides of the cargo compartment. This leaves 43 cubic feet of carrying capacity, which is kind of meager for this category. With the third and second rows folded, you’ll get 81.7 cubic feet. Deploy all three rows; you’ll have 16.1 cubic feet.
On the road, Toyota’s largest model is as smooth as a luxury car. Additionally, steering is precise, while braking and stability are reassuring. Yes, there’s body roll if you ask it to corner quickly, but grip is admirable Power is ample and the eight-speed transmission always finds the proper gear for the situation. Off road, the Land Cruiser easily lives up to its name, with 8.9-inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford streams of up 27.5 inches in depth.
With all of that said, this is a pretty old platform, Of course this means it’s also exceedingly reliable as all of the bugs have been worked out over the 10+ years of evolution since it was introduced. On the other hand, as we mentioned above, modern features such as a power rear liftgate and the efficiency of newer designs are lacking. Still, all things being equal, we have no problem recommending the Land Cruiser to an outdoor-oriented family. Pricing starts at $84,775.