2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Six Decades Later Review By Larry Nutson
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
Toyota’s Land Cruiser has been around the U.S. shores for sixty years. Some of you may have noticed and yet again, some not.
One thing is for sure. The Toyota Land Cruiser is not easy to miss. It’s big and perfectly suited to cruise this big land. On my recent test drive I commented to my wife that if we had an Airstream trailer at our disposal we could have hit the road and go visit a National Park or two. After all, the Land Cruiser can to up to 8,100 lbs.
Toyota has figured out that Land Cruiser buyers are pretty much alike. Meaning, the Land Cruiser comes equipped only one way. There are no options; just the choice of six different exterior colors. And on the inside, the choices are black or Terra, a brown.
The eight-seat 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser will set you back $84,235. The 2017 model is unchanged from the 2016 that got a styling refresh, drivetrain upgrades and more infotainment features.
An aluminum 381-horsepower 5.7-liter DOHC V8 engine powers the Land Cruiser. Max torque is 401 lb.-ft. at 3,600 rpm, with 90 percent coming on a 2,200 rpm. An 8-speed automatic transmission puts the power to a full-time 4WD system that uses a TORSEN limited-slip locking center differential to distribute torque 40:60 front-to-rear.
When you’re driving something this big fuel economy is not high on the priority list. The EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg combined, with 13 city mpg and 18 highway mpg. So, yeah, nothing to brag about and with a modest 24.6 gallon fuel tank that might get you around 440 miles down the highway--in theory, anyway. Most of my driving was around town and I was getting 9 or 10 mpg.
Toyota also figures you might do a bit of off-roading with the Land Cruiser so it has been designed with decent approach and departure angles as well as a 27.55 inch fording depth. Believe it or not, these off-road design elements can even come in handy if you get into real-world jam such as a flooded roadway or the need to climb over a curb for whatever reason. There’s also a terrain selector switch and crawl-control for off-road turning as well as skid plates for protection along the undercarriage.
The Land Cruiser is built on a separate ladder frame with independent front suspension and solid rear axle with coil springs. There’s extensive use of high-strength steel that’s been custom designed and selected for specific body areas where more strength is needed. Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System on the Land Cruiser uses hydraulics and sway bars to make for better on-road handling and also make adjustments for better off-road ability.
The front seat area is really spacious. There’s a bit of a climb up into the front seats but once you are there the outward visibility and sight lines are good. The 9-inch touch-screen is large, easy to read and mounted high. Toyota’s Entune system includes navigation. There are also two 11.9-inch screens on the front seatbacks for the second-row DVD entertainment system.
The Land Cruiser is equipped with Safety Sense P driver-assist technology. Using millimeter-wave radar and a camera sensor it is designed to detect a pedestrian, a vehicle, and visible lane markers in the surrounding area. The system can help the driver identify obstacles and automatically apply braking if necessary to help mitigate or avoid collisions. Safety Sense P includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection function; Lane Departure Alert; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; and Automatic High Beams.
The Land Cruiser also has Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. A camera system gives you front, side and rear views for help in tight maneuvering. The backup camera also can be useful to aid trailer hitching and maneuvering.
It’s commendable that Toyota has made all these driver-assistance safety feature standard. Automatic emergency braking will become standard on all vehicles in the near future and Toyota is ahead of the curve on this.
More info and specs on the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser can be found at www.toyota.com. Check out other full-size luxury SUVs like the Lexus LS 570, Range Rover, or GMC Denali right here at The Auto Channel.
Worthy of note for all you are paying for the Land Cruiser is that it comes standard with ToyotaCare, a no-additional-cost plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. The basic warranty is 36-month/36,000 miles and the powertrain is covered for 60-month/60,000 miles.
The Land Cruiser is indeed big and roomy and occasionally required precise and careful maneuvering in crowded big-city driving and parking. The thought of pulling a trailer around the country for a month or so visiting National Parks is indeed intriguing and the Land Cruiser would be a great choice for the job.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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