Reviewing the 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser

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The Toyota Land Cruiser has been manufactured for 67 years, and it’s geared toward a niche audience of SUV buyers seeking ruggedness and off-road durability. It’s the second- largest and oldest vehicle in the manufacturer’s lineup.

For 2018, the Land Cruiser remains much the same as last year. It seeks a market share with the Land Rover Discovery, Lexus LX 570 and Lincoln Navigator in the behemoth SUV category.

The auto industry’s gas guzzlers are easy to dismiss. How can anyone justify an $87,000 SUV that averages 13 and 18 miles per gallon, respectively, in city and highway driving?

For the few thousand Land Cruiser buyers each year, the answer is simple: They know what they want and don’t have to justify their purchases.

An eight-passenger luxury SUV, the Land Cruiser is offered in only a fully loaded trim.

It operates with a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower, an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It’s powerful but not performance-oriented and weighs slightly less than 6,000 pounds. The features list is long in technology, comfort and convenience areas. 

Not many vehicles can go any- where and in any weather conditions without concern. But the Land Cruiser is as sturdy as any vehicle on the road, and its occu- pants ride in luxury. The navigation system is intuitive, with directions provided well in advance and on a well-pixelated screen. 

While the Land Cruiser’s exterior has a utilitarian look, the inside features leather seats and upscale material throughout the dashboard and console. The massive SUV is surprisingly smooth and quiet on the highway. Front seat occupants sit high to overlook the road and have ample legroom and headroom. Several driving modes are offered. The Land Cruiser doesn’t maneuver well in tight spots and has mediocre acceleration.

Second- and third-row passengers don’t have it as good as those up front. While individual screens are part of an upscale, backseat entertainment system, there’s less overall room. Third-row seating is unique with the seats individually retracted against cargo area walls.

The tailgate is split-level. The large top section opens with the key fob and closes with a push-button function. The smaller bottom section opens with a latch and has a smooth-fitting overlay shelf.

All Land Cruiser features and traits are commendable. But it’s still difficult to forget the bleak fuel efficiency. On a recent 425-mile round-trip trek primarily via highway travel, the gas mileage average was 14.6 miles per gallon. It’s a deal breaker unless you don’t care. 

James Raia, a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California, specializes in sports and lifestyle topics. He publishes the website


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