What Car? says...
The Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial is the sort of vehicle you might use to make a delivery if the address is ‘Third red tent from the left, Everest Base Camp, Nepal’. That’s because the Toyota Land Cruiser it’s based on is widely believed to be the most rugged yet reliable SUV available.
To turn the regular Land Cruiser into the Commercial version, Toyota has ditched the rear seats in favour of cargo space, and blacked out all the rear windows to keep everything in there safe from prying eyes. The load area is lined with rubber matting that you can hose down, and now features lashing points so you can keep everything where it should as you ascend that mountain pass.
Further good news comes in the form of decent amounts of equipment, even in the basic Utility spec. For example, you get keyless entry and start, air-conditioning, cruise control, a DAB radio and heated electrically adjustable door mirrors. The Active model adds a touchscreen multimedia system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
The Commercial gets the regular Land Cruiser’s four-wheel-drive system, which is what gives the car its legendary off-road ability, but is not available with air suspension. That's a shame, because it’s an optional extra on the biggest rival, the Land Rover Defender Hard Top. The other rivals are pick-ups such as the Ford Ranger, the Isuzu D-Max and the Toyota Hilux – which are all pretty hand off road, but will need a roll-top cover to keep everything in the load bed secure.
In this review, we'll tell you how the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial compares with the best commercial SUVs and pick-ups in terms of performance, day-to-day usability and load-lugging ability. We can help you to work out whether or not it should be on your company's shopping list, too.
And don’t forget, you can get a leasing quote for whichever make and model of car or van fits your personal or business needs using our free What Car? Leasing section.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Under the bonnet is the same 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel as you'll find in the regular Toyota Land Cruiser, but despite making a healthy 201bhp, the Commercial isn’t exactly quick. If you go for the manual gearbox option, 0-62mph takes 9.9sec, while the automatic takes 11.2sec.
However, because it has plenty of torque, it never feels underpowered once you’re up and rolling. Even with a load in the rear, you can simply leave it in a high gear and let the low-down grunt shove you forward.
Speaking of gears, we’d go for the manual gearbox. It has a long throw action but it’s precise and the clutch is easy to modulate. Meanwhile, the automatic option delivers smooth enough shifts, but tends to hunt between gears when you ask for a bit more power.
In terms of ride comfort, the Land Cruiser Commercial is surprisingly supple thanks to its soft suspension. It’s certainly more compliant than pick-ups such as the Ssangyong Musso and Toyota Hilux and remains quiet when cruising.
The compliant suspension lends itself well to off-roading, and the Land Cruiser’s abilities are bolstered by full-time four-wheel drive. All versions get low and high-range gear ratios, which can give you much more traction on slippery surfaces. That gives it an uncanny ability to reach places many large SUVs can’t.
The downside of the suspension set-up is that Commercial doesn’t handle too well. There’s lots of body lean in faster bends and the steering feels a bit numb.
The towing capacity of 3000kg should be plenty for many – but falls short of the 3500kg the Land Rover Defender Hard Top can manage.
Strengths Lots of pulling power; ride is surprisingly supple; permanent four-wheel drive
Weaknesses Dim-witted automatic gearbox; doesn't feel quick; sloppy handling
The interior layout, fit and finish
When you sit in the Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial’s driving seat, the first thing you notice is the soft, squishy cushioning that’s rather like a favourite armchair. It’s not just immensely comfortable, thanks to standard-fit lumbar adjustment, but we also love the old-school cloth it’s wrapped in. Compared with leather, it feels warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
The seat perches you high up in the interior and there are tall side windows that help to give you decent visibility. However, if you’re a particularly nervous parker, we would recommend stepping up to Active grade as this brings a reversing camera and rear parking sensors.
The dashboard is pretty old-school too, and dominated by physical switches. We like this set-up because the buttons are easy to poke and prop even when you’re wearing thick gloves.
Less successful is the infotainment system. The 9.0in touchscreen (that comes as standard on Active grade cars) is placed high up, which is helpful, but the icons are small and the menus confusing. It does, however, feature Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, so you can bypass the Toyota system altogether.
In the standard Toyota Land Cruiser the materials don’t feel quite plush enough for a luxury SUV, but in the Commercial, they’re fit for purpose. Everything feels well screwed together and hard-wearing, which is important in a working vehicle.
Strengths Comfortable seats; decent visibility; proper switches
Weaknesses Need to step up to Active trim to get a reversing camera; sluggish infotainment
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
This is where Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial excels. Up front there is plenty of space on offer, with good head and leg room in the front, while the wide interior provides plenty of shoulder room. Storage options aren’t bad, either, with cupholders, a large glovebox and door bins, plus a deep cubby under the sliding centre armrest. There’s even the option of a refrigerated centre console, so you can keep your drinks chilled.
Behind the rear door (that opens sideways, like on the Land Rover Defender Hard Top) there’s a van-like open cargo space. There are numerous lashing points, a heavy-duty hose-down rubber mat and a big cavernous space where the rear seats used to be. It’s also worth noting that the glass rear tailgate can be opened independently to the rear door to make room for appropriately secured longer loads.
In terms of measurements, the short-wheelbase (SWB) offers up 1574 litres of space which is roughly on par with a Defender 90 Hard Top and a Ford Transit Courier small van. Not bad for such an off-road capable vehicle.
We’d opt for the more capacious long-wheelbase model. It has a narrower maximum load width than a Defender Hard Top 110 (1045mm vs 1423), but gets a longer load bay (1480mm vs 1472) and a taller roof (982mm vs 937mm). The result is that the Commercial offers up 2216 litres of load space, which is slightly more than the 2059 litres offered by the Hard Top 110.
In terms of payload capacity, it falls short of most pick-ups, which have to carry more than a tonne to qualify as commercial vehicles. That’s not to say it’s unimpressive, though – it can lug up to 756kg, which is a lot for a large SUV.
Strengths Lots of space for your odds and ends; good head and leg room; cavernous boot
Weaknesses Payload falls short of most pick-up trucks; Defender Hard Top can carry wider loads
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
The Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial is a no-frills kind of large SUV and as a result, it comes with the bare minimum as standard. You get steel wheels, keyless entry and start, automatic headlights, heated and powered door mirrors, cruise control, manual air conditioning and that’s about it. The upside to this, however, is that it massively undercuts its closest competitor, the Land Rover Defender Hard Top.
Even in Active trim with goodies like dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and the touchscreen infotainment system that we mentioned earlier it's still significantly cheaper than the Defender. Better yet, the Toyota is predicted to hold on to more of its value over three years of ownership than the Land Rover.
It won’t be particularly cheap to run, though, with that big 2.8-litre diesel returning just over 30mpg on our mixed test route. That said, the same is true for the Defender Hard Top 110 (that barely cracked 28mpg on our test route). Fortunately, commercial vehicles have a fixed rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), so you won't pay more because of the Commercial’s emissions.
Also putting your mind at ease should be Toyota’s legendary reliability. The Japanese manufacturer came second out of 32 manufacturers in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey.
Strengths Relatively low purchase price, Toyota's reliability record
Weaknesses Expensive running costs; base trim is sparse on kit
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Yes. Toyota has produced a dedicated light commercial vehicle (LCV) version in which the rear seats have been removed and replaced with a rubber-lined load bay, complete with lashing points and blacked-out windows.
It has a towing limit of 3000kg, which will be enough for most people. However, bear in mind that its main rival – the Land Rover Defender Hard Top – can tow 3500kg.
The 2.8-litre four-cylinder engine is not particularly light on fuel. The model fitted with the standard manual gearbox manages an official WLTP average of 27.1-29.4mpg. It will be fractionally more economical with the optional six-speed automatic transmission fitted, with an average economy figure of 27.7-31.0mpg.
It's classed as a light commercial vehicle (LCV), but isn’t really anything like a van. It’s a rugged off-roader that can take stuff to places most other vehicles can’t. Its main competitor is the (much more expensive) Land Rover Defender Hard Top.
|RRP price range||£49,225 - £65,225|
|Number of trims (see all)||2|
|Number of engines (see all)||1|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||diesel|
|MPG range across all versions||29.4 - 30.4|
|Available doors options||5|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£3,474 / £4,658|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£6,949 / £9,317|