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Toyota Land Cruiser (2001)

SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

by Brendan Hagin and Mikele Schappell-Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 52,595
     Price As Tested                                    $ 58,230
     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                                     5147 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  25.4 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                          P275/70R16 mud & snow
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                    Front-engine/all-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                            13/16/15
     0-60 MPH                                        9.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                                      1745 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         6500 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

BRENDAN - Toyota has made the Land Cruiser for half a century and even though it gradually has become a luxury SUV, it still has the ability to travel on the roughest terrain. It's a vehicle that can be driven though a desert, up a mountain, to soccer practice with a load of kids or to the lumber yard. This week we test the 2002 Land Cruiser, and while not much has changed since 2001, it has enough new stuff to merit comment. It has many new standard items, and although it isn't cheap, it's a good value. The Land Cruiser is powered by a 230-horse, 4.7-liter eight-cylinder engine that could use a few more ponies to go along with it's massive 5100 pounds of weight. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission offered in the Land Cruiser, but a smooth-shifting gearbox that doesn't require any effort is perfect for this big rig.

MIKELE - I fell in love with Land Cruisers when we reviewed it a couple of years ago. In the new press kit, Toyota states that the Land Cruiser has a full-time four-wheel drive system with a locking center differential, and its front double-wishbone suspension system uses torsion bar springs and an enlarged stabilizer bar. And it serves up a nice ride - better than most other big SUVs. In back it has four-link suspension with coil springs and a stabilizer bar connected to its solid rear axle. The interior features some items that weren't standard on last year's model, like a HomeLink universal garage door opener, an independent rear automatic climate control system and a third row of seats. The 50/50 split rearmost seats can fit three additional passengers, but two is more like it.

BRENDAN - Our tester had leather upholstery and heated seats up front and in second row, so if you're going to use the Cruiser to go to the mountains, this feature would be quite pleasant for second-row passengers. Other standard items in the interior are privacy glass with ultra-violet reduction, a tilt and slide power glass moonroof with one-touch operation and pinch protection, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever. Our tester had an optional multi-function Navigation system that includes a JBL premium sound system and a six-disc CD/DVD player in the center console. The Navigation unit features voice guidance, just in case you aren't comfortable looking at he screen while driving, which I'd say is a normal, but sometimes dangerous, human reaction.

MIKELE - The exterior of the Cruiser is very basic, but I like it because most of today's SUV's try too hard to be "cutting edge." The Cruiser didn't elicit drop-jawed expressions from onlookers when we drove it, but it's still very cool. It's color-coordinated front and rear bumpers and body side moldings give it a smooth, refined appearance, but it still has big P275/70R16 tires on five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels to add some toughness to its looks. Safety-wise, the Land Cruiser has all the goodies like front airbags, adjustable headrests, three-point seat belts, a second gear start feature for winter roads, and side impact door beams. It also features four-wheel antilock brakes, a center high-mount rear stop lamp, and Toyota's Vehicle Skid Control system, which works with the four-wheel drive system and anti-lock brakes to help reduce tire slippage due to a sudden change in road conditions. All that stuff makes for a really safe family vehicle which, along with Toyota's top-notch reliability standards, makes for a great vehicle.

BRENDAN - Land Cruisers have been family favorites of the Hagins since its early days, and it has an interesting history. The original Land Cruiser of 1953 used a made-in-Japan Chevrolet 235 "Stovebolt" engine which brought it to the attention of serious off-roaders as the recipient of a Chevy V8 engine transplant.

MIKELE - We ought to tell that story to my GM-loving Dad, Brendan. It might lighten his antipathy about imported cars.