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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Off-road ability; limo-like cabin; relaxed motorway ride

Against Pronounced body roll; size

Verdict A proper off-roader, but beaten by many others on Tarmac

Go for… 3.0 D-4D LC3

Avoid… 4.0 V6 LC5

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4
  • 1. A few early cars were recalled because of a possible fuel leak
  • 2. The steering is slow to respond, which can make the car a handful to drive
  • 3. This is a big car, and the cabin is large and roomy
  • 4. 4.0 V6 petrol engine drinks fuel at a frightening rate
  • 5. There's an awful lot of body roll, and rivals suffer less
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Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 full review with expert trade views

Quite simply, the Land Cruiser is a very big car, longer than a Mitsubishi Shogun and barely any shorter than a Land Rover Discovery. Like those rivals, it’s extremely impressive off-road, helped by optional features such as the hill-start and hill-descent control systems.

The trouble is that almost everything that makes it so good off-road means it’s not so good on-road. Cars such as the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90, which are designed almost exclusively for road use, are better to drive, but even the Discovery shows up the Land Cruiser’s limitations. The Toyota suffers from too much body roll and slow steering, although we do like the smooth low-speed ride.

Likewise, you can’t really fault the Land Cruiser’s cabin – even the three-door has plenty of room for five, and the five-door will take eight – but the Discovery does it all a little better.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Was strong on image but weakened by European competition. Still a good used buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The best Land Cruiser is one from after October 2004, when our favourite engine, the 3.0-litre turbodiesel, was uprated and the whole range gained extra standard equipment.

The only alternative to the diesel engine is a 4.0-litre V6 petrol unit. However, although it gives the big Land Cruiser an impressive turn of speed (even with a standard automatic ’box), it drinks a frightening amount of fuel in the process.

That’s not say the diesel is particularly frugal, but it is at least more economical, and its stronger low-down pull is better suited to off-roading or hauling around heavy loads.

All models are well equipped, with air-con, alloys, electric windows and a CD player across the board, so there’s little point buying anything dearer than the cheapest model, the LC2 or, after the range was cut back in October 2004, the LC3.

Trade view

James Ruppert

V6 LC5 has it all but needs to be cheap, 3.0 diesel best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru

There’s no getting away from it – the Land Cruiser is expensive to buy and run. It’s almost as dear as the latest Land Rover Discovery, and has running costs to match.

That said, it’s no worse than its rivals. For example, insurance groups run from 12 to 15, which is almost exactly the same as the Discovery’s and slightly better than the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s.

Likewise, the fact that the Land Cruiser returns barely 30mpg on the combined cycle may not look very attractive, but again it’s virtually identical to the Jeep’s and Land Rover’s.

Where the Toyota is more impressive is in its regular servicing costs, which are lower than both the Grand Cherokee’s and Discovery’s. However, there is a risk that any unscheduled repairs could be dear. Warranty Direct tells us that repair costs on Toyotas (and on previous Land Cruisers in particular) are higher than average.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Was strong on image but weakened by European competition. Still a good used buy

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Apart from a few early cars that were recalled because of a possible fuel leak, the Land Cruiser seems bereft of problems.

Mind you, that should come as no surprise. Toyota has consistently performed well in JD Power surveys, and other 4x4s from the company have also done well.

Warranty Direct has no figures on this latest Land Cruiser, but the omens are good. The previous generation car has enjoyed better than average reliability and the company's smaller 4x4, the RAV4, has always been one of the most reliable cars on the company’s books.

Last, but not least, reports from owners have been good. True, there is the occasional glitch, but for the most part there have been no reports of any major problems.

Trade view

James Ruppert

V6 LC5 has it all but needs to be cheap, 3.0 diesel best for retail

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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