Used Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 2003 - 2009 review

Category: Large SUV

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a proper off-roader, but it's beaten by most rivals on the road.

Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (03 - 09)
  • Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (03 - 09)
  • Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 (03 - 09)
Used Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 2003 - 2009 review
Star rating

What's the used Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 like?

There's no getting away from it, the Toyota 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 hill-start assist 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, and 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.


The Toyota Land Cruiser is a proper off-roader, but it's beaten by most rivals on the road.

  • Off-road ability
  • Limo-like space
  • Relaxed motorway ride
  • Pronounced body roll
  • Size
  • Dated interior

Likewise, you can't really fault the Land Cruiser's interior practicality – even the three-door has plenty of room for five, and the five-door will take eight – but the Discovery most things better.

Ownership cost

What used Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4?

In addition to being big, 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 are 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 Land Cruiser 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.

Our recommendations

Which used Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 should I buy?

The best Toyota Land Cruiser is one from after October 2004, when our favourite engine, the 3.0-litre diesel, 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.

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