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New Car/Review


Toyota Land Cruiser (2001)

SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 52,895
     Price As Tested                                    $ 58,820
     Engine Type              DOHC 32-valve 4.7 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 284 cid/4664 cc
     Horsepower                                   230 @ 4800 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               320 @ 3400 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  112.2"/76.4"/192.5"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5290 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  25.4 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                              P275/70R16 radial
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                      Eight-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            13/16/14
     0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1745 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         6500 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - In the last 50 years, Toyota's Land Cruiser has been a benchmark of off-road vehicles matching comfort with a large level of reliability. It's found all over the world, on all continents, and in most countries. The Land Cruiser is still a workhorse, but this week's tester, the new 2001 version, is as much a comfort and luxury vehicle as it is a rugged four-wheeler. A 230-horse, 32-valve V8 powers the Land Cruiser, and its 4.7-liter dual overhead cam design gives it 320 pound feet of torque. That insures that it will be able to get over any mountain as well as get into any freeway merge with ease. Its only transmission is a four-speed automatic which pushes through a full-time four-wheel drive system with a locking center differential.

MIKELE - I was impressed to read in the press kit that the history of the Land Cruiser is really the history of the sport utility vehicle itself. It's been used in rally competitions all over the world and many photographers on assignment with the National Geographic Society use the Land Cruiser to get them to remote locations. We didn't use it to scale mountains or anything like that, and most of its buyers will do more mundane tasks like dropping off the kids at school. I used it as a shopping vehicle as well as a dog transporter.

BRENDAN - The front double-wishbone suspension uses torsion bar springs and a stabilizer bar. In back, it has a four-link rear suspension controlled with coil springs and a stabilizer bar connected to its solid rear axle. It's definitely a truck, but careful chassis tuning gives the Land Cruiser a nice ride and great handling. It's not a sedan by any means, but it's good for an extra-large SUV. The interior features are really impressive. Some of the standard features are privacy glass with ultra-violet reduction, a tilt and slide power glass moonroof with one-touch operation and pinch protection, a leather- wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, and an automatic-dimming rearview mirror that even has a built-in compass. And if the compass isn't enough, it also has a top-notch navigation system that should be standard on all cars. You know how us guys hate to ask for directions. The DVD/CD player was amazing, playing movies or CD's through its six-disc changer in the console. I watched some of my favorites, then listened to some tunes through the seven JBL speakers. The system only plays the DVDs when the Land Cruiser is stopped so the driver can't be distracted.

MIKELE - You mentioned some cool stuff there, Bren, but you forgot the six cup holders, three auxiliary power outlets, and outside temperature display. The ten-way power driver and eight-way power front passenger heated leather seats were easy to use, and the reclining 60/40 split fold-down second-row bench seat was thoroughly enjoyed by the pups. The third row seats are good to have, but I wish they'd fold away into the floor. Outside, the Land Cruiser has an unassuming design that doesn't exactly attract a crowd, but it's still very luxurious-looking. Color-coordinated front and rear bumpers and body side moldings give it a classy look, but its big P275/70R16 tires on five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels look tough.

BRENDAN - It is a fully loaded vehicle, Mikele, and it has all the usual safety features. Toyota's Vehicle Skid Control system works with the four-wheel-drive and anti-lock brakes to help reduce tire slippage due to a sudden change in road conditions. Vehicle sensors monitor steering angle, G-loads, and yaw rate to determine whether the tires are beginning to slip. It then applies brakes or reduces engine output to help restore traction and guide you to safety. In the past, we've tried this in the snow and it really works well. It also has a extra-low transfer case gear ratio for really tough terrain.

MIKELE - It's a pretty impressive vehicle, Bren. Your brother Matt has an older Land Cruiser, and he loves it. Maybe we can get one of these newer models sometime in the future.

BRENDAN - Since there's no such thing as a "stripper" Land Cruiser, Mikele, it will probably have to be in the far distant future.