2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Expert Review

3.2 Overall Score
Performance 2.8 Comfort 3.6 Styling 3.0 Value 2.4

Editor's Overview

The 2019 Land Cruiser is Toyota’s brawniest, most capable 3-row SUV. At over $85,000, it’s also the priciest. The Land Cruiser combines serious off-road hardware with luxurious amenities that nearly match those of its Lexus LX sibling. But for all its capability, this aging SUV lacks the technology of fresher rivals like the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade.

You'll Like The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser If...

The Land Cruiser is legendary for its off-road ability and reliability. Today’s model retains credible off-road chops while cocooning its passengers in comfort. A big V8 engine and exceptional resale value are other strong points.

You May Not Like The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser If...

The Land Cruiser starts over $85,000 and has off-road-specific features most owners will never dream of using. Its body-on-frame construction is tough but has a truck-like ride, and its V8 guzzles gasoline. All this, and you still can’t get tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, easily found in rivals like the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade.

What's New

There’s no denying the Toyota Land Cruiser is getting long in the tooth, and it rolls into the 2019 model year with no significant changes.

Interior Features

The 2019 Land Cruiser has three rows and seating for eight, but the third row is tight. Unlike the Lexus version of this vehicle, the LX 570, this big Toyota SUV is not offered in a 2-row/5-passenger variant for those who don’t need the cramped last row. When not in use, the 3rd-row seats can fold, but not in the way of almost every other SUV: Instead of folding into the floor, they raise up against the side walls, eating up potential cargo space. The rest of the Land Cruiser’s interior is a warm mix of premium materials, high-class features, and a bevy of buttons, knobs and switches for off-road use. The seats are covered in supple leather, wood accents abound, and a spiffy 9-inch touch screen sits in the center of the dash. From the commanding driver’s seat, you may just believe you could conquer countries in this thing.

Exterior Features

Big, bold and brawny, the Land Cruiser makes an impression with its sheer size, even if its overall blocky design is rather simple and conservative. There’s a prominent grille up front, but it isn’t nearly as ostentatious as that of its Lexus sibling. At the rear, the Land Cruiser’s tailgate is power-operated and features a clamshell design in which the top and bottom portions lift and fold. The latter is useful for tailgating. This full-size Toyota sport-utility vehicle rides on 18-inch wheels and features a standard 8.9 inches of ground clearance. Underneath, skidplates protect the Land Cruiser’s sensitive parts. If you were to X-ray the vehicle entirely, you’d see it’s built on a tough, truck-like ladder frame, not the sedan-based unibody of more comfort-oriented crossover SUVs like the Toyota Highlander.

Driving Impressions

Beneath the big exterior and leather-covered interior of the 2019 Land Cruiser remains a surprisingly capable and rugged off-road adventurer. Riding on a rigid body-on-frame chassis that has been part of its well-respected resume for more than 60 years, the Land Cruiser not only goes where most SUVs only dream, it can take a level of punishment that would leave lesser SUVs waiting for AAA to arrive. A fully independent suspension permits the generous wheel articulation required for crawling over rocks and logs, yet also endows the Land Cruiser with a stable but somewhat firm on-road driving experience. Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) adjusts rollbar stiffness, preventing excessive lean in the curves while keeping all four wheels planted when off-roading. The 5,815-pound Land Cruiser isn’t a light or nimble SUV, but its big V8 and smooth 8-speed automatic transmission work well to move its heft. By its nature the Land Cruiser doesn’t have the comfort, efficiency or easy driving manners of a crossover SUV like the Toyota Highlander. Yes, the Land Cruiser will serve dutifully as a daily commuter, but Toyota’s flagship SUV remains its best roaming where the asphalt ends.

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Land Cruiser is Toyota’s most expensive vehicle, carrying a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) that tops $86,000 when factoring in the destination charge. At this price, the Land Cruiser sits a few thousand below a 3-row version of its Lexus sibling, the LX, but well above almost every other competitor. The new Land Rover Discovery, for example, is no off-road slouch, drives well on the road, and even offers a diesel engine, all for a starting price some $30,000 less. The Nissan Armada, meanwhile, starts nearly $40,000 less. The Land Cruiser’s own brother, the Toyota Sequoia, is actually larger and costs significantly less. Even when compared to full-size luxury SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLS, forthcoming BMW X7, Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, the Toyota Land Cruiser is more expensive. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. While the Land Cruiser carries an eyebrow-raising price, it also has terrific resale value.

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Notable Equipment

The 2019 Land Cruiser is pretty much an all-in model. There’s only one trim, and it comes extremely well-equipped, as should be expected for a Toyota that costs over $85,000. In addition to its V8 engine and slew of off-road equipment, you also get a leather interior, heated and ventilated front seats, 4-zone climate control, heated steering wheel, moonroof, Qi-compatible wireless phone charger, and power-adjustable steering wheel. The Land Cruiser’s infotainment system bundles a 9-inch touch screen with navigation and 14-speaker JBL premium audio system with AM/FM/CD player and HD Radio. Unlike rivals, it doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto phone integration, but does include USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and Apple’s Siri Eyes Free. As with other Toyotas, the Land Cruiser comes with the Safety Sense suite that bundles a pre-collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Also included is blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Notable Options

Outside of some dealer-installed items, there’s only one major option package for Toyota’s 2019 Land Cruiser: a rear-seat DVD entertainment system that includes two 11.6-inch displays, HDMI and RCA inputs for game consoles and other accessories, wireless headphones and a wireless remote. That system adds $2,220 to the Toyota Land Cruiser’s price.

Favorite Features

This standard suite bundles active safety and driver-assistance features like forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and radar-based adaptive cruise control. Together they make driving safer and less stressful.

Unlike almost every other vehicle for sale, you won’t have to debate which trim or options you want. The Land Cruiser comes in just one trim, and aside from an optional rear-seat entertainment system, it comes fully loaded.

Under the Hood

The only engine available for Toyota’s 2019 Land Cruiser is a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. Toyota says that 90 percent of that torque is available at just 2,200 rpm, meaning you don't have to rev this engine to get moving. But with a combined 15 mpg, plan on refueling often. This big, thirsty engine is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard 4-wheel drive. This big V8 has enough grunt to handle the Land Cruiser's weight with aplomb, and it is also rated to tow 8,100 pounds. That’s still behind the Ford Expedition’s 9,300-pound rating, but impressive all the same. In terms of sheer off-road prowess, the Land Cruiser SUV remains one of the most capable vehicles on the planet.

5.7-liter V8
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg

Editors' Notes

The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is the brand’s brawniest 3-row SUV. At over $85,000, it’s also its priciest. Descended from vehicles that roamed to the ends of the earth, today’s Land Cruiser is a leather-laden full-size SUV that nearly mirrors its Lexus LX 570 sibling in luxuriousness. Yet it retains incredible off-road ability with features like full-time 4-wheel drive, a disconnecting sway bar, terrain-select and crawl control. Will any new Land Cruiser buyer ever use these features or even know what to do with them? Probably not, and in reality, lower-cost rivals like the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator are better, more comfortable, more technologically sophisticated choices. But if you want to venture far off the map -- or portray the image that you do -- the 2019 Land Cruiser will get you there.

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