The Toyota Land Cruiser has been manufactured for 67 years, and it’s geared toward a niche audience of SUV buyers seeking ruggedness and off-road durability. It’s the second-largest and oldest vehicle in the manufacturer’s lineup.
For 2018, the Land Cruiser remains much the same as last year. It seeks a market share with the Land Rover Discovery, Lexus LX 570 and Lincoln Navigator in the behemoth SUV category.
The auto industry’s gas guzzlers are the easiest segment to dismiss. How can anyone justify an $87,000 SUV that averages 13 and 18 miles per gallon respectively in city and highway driving?
For the few thousand Toyota Land Cruiser buyers each year, the answer is simple: They know what they want and don’t have to justify their purchases.
An eight-passenger luxury SUV, the Land Cruiser is offered in only a fully loaded trim. It’s operated with a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It’s powerful but not performance-oriented and weighs slightly less than 6,000 pounds. The features list is long in technology, comfort and convenience areas.
Every Land Cruiser includes: LED headlights, a proximity key with push-button start, heated and cooled front seats a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, four-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights and blind-spot monitoring. Ten airbags are standard. The navigation system is intuitive, with directions provided well in advance and on a clear, well-pixelated screen.
Not many vehicles can go anywhere and in any weather conditions without concern. But it’s the Land Cruiser’s strength. It’s built as sturdily as any vehicle on the road and its occupants get to drive or ride in luxury.
As an off-road specialist, the Land Cruiser has short-comings. It doesn’t maneuver well in tight spots and has mediocre acceleration. It achieves the standard 0-60 miles per hour test in 6.7 seconds.
While the Land Cruiser’s exterior has a utilitarian look, the inside features leather seats and upscale material throughout the dashboard and console. For its size and off-road longings, the Land Cruiser is surprisingly smooth and quiet on the highway. Front seat occupants sit high to overlook the road and have ample leg and headroom. Several driving modes are offered.
Second and third-row passengers don’t have it as good. While individual screens are part of an upscale, backseat entertainment system, there’s less overall room. Third-row seating is unique with the seats individually retracted against cargo area walls. The configuration restricts the available space, but there’s still plenty.
The toolkit for the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser is conveniently located in a storage bin in the pull-down lower section of the tailgate.
A few stand-alone features help differentiate the Land Cruiser from top competitors. The center console has a dual-opening. The smaller top area is ideal for change, keys and other small items. The deep second level doubles a cooling box.
The tailgate is split level. The large top section opens with the key fob and closes with a push-button function. The smaller bottom section opens with a latch and has a smooth-fitting overlay shelf. Opening the bottom section also exposes to two rectangular shallow storage areas that open and close with plastic levers. One storage area includes the Land Cruiser’s toolset; the other is empty.
All of the Land Cruiser’s features and traits are commendable. But it’s still difficult to forget the vehicle’s bleak gas mileage. On a recent 425-mile round-trip trek primarily via highway travel, the gas mileage average was 14.6 miles per gallon. It’s a deal breaker unless you just don’t care.
Facts & Figures: 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser
ACCELERATION: 0-60 mph, 6.7 seconds.
FUEL ECONOMY: 13 mpg (city), 18 mpg (highway), 15 mpg (combined) 8-speed automatic transmission.
PRICE AS TESTED: $87,180.00.
WARRANTY: Bumper to bumper, 3years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 6 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; Maintenance, 2 year/25,000 miles.
Article Last Updated: August 7, 2023.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.