2020 Toyota Land Cruiser: big, expensive and thirsty

Inspired by the explosion of interest in vintage SUVs, with price increases on Ford Broncos, Chevy Blazers, Jeep CJs and Land Rovers in the 1960s and 1970s, I asked someone at Toyota, “Do you still make Land Cruisers?” ? ”

So overshadowed in recent years by the massively popular Range Rovers, which can now replace Mercedes-Benz as the cliche “California Chevy”, it has slipped slightly below the venerable veteran radar. As sport utility vehicle sales soared, Land Cruiser sales increased. The total number of these toyotas sold in the US fell from an impressive 15,000 units in 2000 to 3,219 in 2018.

Toyota, in fact, still manufactures Land Cruisers. With the 2020 model coming soon at the dealership, I decided to borrow one for a couple of weeks to see if the legendary street warrior still holds on to his legend.

The vehicle has a colorful history, stretching back to World War II, when the Japanese military captured an American Jeep in the Philippines and asked Toyota to copy it. After the war, the US Army asked Toyota to manufacture more of them for service in the Korean War.

In 1957, the FJ40 version – which still resembled an army brat – was the U.S. Toyota became the first vehicle introduced in India.

Over time, the Land Cruiser looked less like a Jeep and more and more like an English Land Rover. Sales were steady, more than 6 million units through 2018.

The early models were tough and ready to serve in tough off-road locations. Perfect for camping or hunting, making many guests and equipment bales, early models were long on capacity and short on comfort.

Not anymore.

The modern cruiser, including the current model, is a large, lumber luxury SUV – about 7 feet long, about 7 feet wide, full 16 feet long and weighing just under 3 tons. It offers generous location, good visibility and all the comforts of home. The perch is high, seated on 18-inch wheels that buy 8.9 inches of ground clearance and a 27-inch “gunk depth”. The suspension is soft, the ride is quiet and the road feels far away.

For some, this would be a plus. For others, a minus.

On the freeway, skipping along the maximum speed limit, I was pleased with the silence and the flushed steering. But on city roads, and a lot of unaffected roads, I disconnected from the surface I was traveling on, driving without much feeling and without too much feedback without tires.

Toyota loads its Land Cruiser with enough bells, whistles, safety technology and off-road tools. Standards on the 2020 model – whose basics have not changed since 2019 – adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beam and rain-sensing windshield wipers – plus trailer-sway control , As this cruiser is also a toy hauler with 8,100 pounds of towing capacity.

Standard nicetes include heated and ventilated front seats, climate control for the rear seats, leather interior, a “cooler box” for snacks and beverages in the center console and a seat featuring wireless headphones for rear-seat passengers. Includes back entertainment system. .

Off-road accretion includes various four-wheel-drive settings, an easy “crawl” feature that will allow all gases and brake pedals to operate in slow-motion conditions, and cameras that allow the driver to perform front, side, and inspection Allow rear scenario (except cockpit) when the foot looks suspicious.

Also standard is a full-size spare tire, tilted under the rear of the vehicle – essential for any serious off-road search.

All in all, how Toyota justifies paying a base fee of $ 86,000 for one of these bad boys. At that price, it parallels the hardcore Range Rovers from England – and far from the rugged Jeep-like nets that make up the cruiser’s reputation.

I took a trip to the Angeles National Forest for an overnight camp-out, hoping to put the vehicle in a city test for over a week. Since we were only two campers, we didn’t need more than two of the cruiser’s seven available seats, or make the most of the available 81.7 cubic feet of storage space when the rear seats were flat.

But we used off-road capabilities. When we reached the first camp after three kilometers of bumpy dirt road, we found many other campers to our taste. Seeking solitude, we pressed on and built another bumpy road over another three miles. We took several SUVs where we were afraid to walk, and kept the next campsite with us.

The big cruiser was replaced by the U.S. Is offered with only one powertrain. It is a 5.7-liter V-8, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that makes 381 horsepower and a powerful 401 pound-ft of torque.

To manage that power from the sidewalk, Toyota loads the Cruiser with full-time all-wheel drive, a locking differential, a hill start assist and very impressive suspension.

This gave us all the muscle we needed to crawl our way comfortably to camp. But it came at a price. Around the city, this Gujjar gets a gallon of only 13 miles. If Toyota can sell a Tacoma pickup truck that reaches 18 miles to a gallon – still less – 13 is it really the best it can do with a Land Cruiser?

In fairness to Toyota and unbiased sales figures, this is a special vehicle. As the cruiser has grown, it has grown and become even more of a niche vehicle. In fact, unless the owner has a family, and requires more than five seats, and requires massive cargo capacity and off-road roughness, what is it for?

For 2020, Toyota will offer a heritage version with a special grille, bronze wheels and a land-cruiser heritage badge, in addition to the standard model.

The Land Cruiser may have inherited Toyota to better capitalize and bring back one of the smaller models, as Land Rover has done with its defender. I’m sure sales would have increased if Toyota had introduced an updated version of the FJ40 or FJ45 from its earlier years.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser

Times’ take: Respected carrying is done on all

highs: Still beautiful and capable
Ascension: Overfed, overpowered and very thirsty
Vehicle Type: Four-door, eight-passenger SUV
Base Price: $ 86,060
Price according to the test: $ 88,280
Powertrain: 5.7-liter V-8 Gasoline Engine
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
power Horse: 381
Torque: 401 lb-ft
Estimated Fuel Economy Rating: 13 miles per gallon city / 18 highway / 15 combined

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