Whereas most big 4x4s have six-cylinder diesel engines as the mainstay of their engine range, the Land Cruiser makes do with 3.0-litre four-cylinder units. The entry-level car has a 185bhp version mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, but the others get 187bhp and a five-speed, auto'. There's sufficient low-down shove to do the job on- or off-road, but it's not as quick or as flexible as rivals.
The Land Cruiser's separate-frame chassis is biased towards off-road ability and it will go just about anywhere you point it. As a result, it's not as agile as some big 4x4s on the road, and its sheer size can make manoeuvres a daunting prospect. The ride is okay over small bumps, but it doesn't cope as well with potholes or undulating roads.
Some rivals can match executive saloons for refinement, but the Land Cruiser isn't that smooth. The separate chassis keeps road and suspension noise to a minimum, however the bulky shape creates some wind noise. The engine needs to be revved hard and isn't as hushed as some rivals' six-cylinder units, but it's relaxed enough at speed.
The entry-level version is keenly priced, but the higher-spec models cost an awful lot more and can't match most rivals at that level for power. Even though the four-cylinder engine helps to keep fuel and tax bills down, this is not a cheap car to own. Resale values aren't likely to be particularly strong for the class, either.
What do you want from your big, expensive 4x4? If it's a swanky interior with plush materials and smart design, then the Land Cruiser won't be for you. If you want one that's built to withstand the toughest treatment and last a lifetime, however, it should do the job just fine. Plus, you have the extra peace of mind that it's backed up by a five-year warranty.
If the Land Cruiser's sheer size isn't enough to make you feel safe on board, the seven airbags (including one for the driver's knees), active front head restraints and stability control system should do the trick. Deadlocks, an alarm and 'glass break sensors' mean that potential thieves would do better to look elsewhere, too.
The Land Cruiser has the raised driving position you'd expect of a 4x4, and visibility isn't bad thanks to the square shape and large windows. You'll appreciate the rear-view camera on high-spec cars, nonetheless. Most of the controls are simple enough, but some of the switches are a bit fiddly and the controls for a few of the off-road functions are too easily obscured by the steering wheel.
There's lots of space in the front two rows of seats. Entry-level LC3 models have five seats as standard, with two further folding chairs as an optional extra. LC4 versions have two electrically powered rear-most seats. These provide just enough head- and legroom for adults, but load space behind them is minimal. In five-seat mode, the Land Cruiser's boot is large, however, the floor is high and the huge, side-opening tailgate is a pain in tight spaces.
The cheapest model has climate control, alloy wheels and Bluetooth, but there's a massive premium for the LC4 version, which adds desirable extras such as leather trim, electric seat controls, satellite-navigation and automatic headlights and wipers.
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