Toyota Land Cruiser is included in the large luxury sport utility segment for vehicle classification, but by design, it is in a class of its own in the select world of large luxury SUV vehicles. While others in the segment focus first on their luxury amenities and optional features with off-road capability considered second, Toyota has stayed true to the off-road roots of the Land Cruiser that go back several generations.
A Venerable and Capable Off-Road SUV First
The venerable Land Cruiser, in its 2014 iteration, continues to do exactly what it has done for many years now and that is to build first a very solid body on frame SUV that shamelessly delivers robust performance as an off-road vehicle. Though classed as a luxury SUV due to its luxury amenities and features, along with its commensurate price - Land Cruiser makes no apologies for the considerable luxury elements of their SUV being secondary to its off-road prowess.
The Land Cruiser's off-road prowess is anchored by a full-time four-wheel drive proven power train that also provides a towing capacity of 8,500 pounds plus being able to haul 1,295 pounds of up to eight passengers or a mixed payload of people and cargo in its spacious cabin.
To hammer home that point, Toyota offers the Land Cruiser in a single model and power train only. One version does it all in this traditional large SUV with a full range of off-road capability fully packed into it first - then followed by a complete range of the luxury amenities that provide the appropriate premium accents that a buyer is expecting in its price range.
The 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser has a base MSRP of $78,755 – with all of its off-road and highway capability, comfortable luxury and current technology included. There are a few accessory items available like a carpeted cargo mat for $225 and of course, delivery. A brand new Land Cruiser will set you back around $80,000.
For example, our recent ride and drive test Land Cruiser had a final sticker price (with carpeted cargo mat included) of $79,840. As a plus, expect your Land Cruiser to hold its value having been named an ALG 2014 Residual Value Award winner in its Premium Full-size Utility Vehicle Category.
Our test 2014 Land Cruiser came in a glowing Sonora Gold Pearl with a refined Sandstone interior augmented with subtle contrasting accents including rich wood trim elements surrounding the driver and passengers in true luxury cabin ambiance.
And, just in case you have a need to make choices when buying a vehicle, we would note here that you do have one choice as there are, in fact, eight colors you can select from when ordering your Land Cruiser.
Power Train is the Land Cruiser Difference
The 2014 Land Cruiser is powered by the proven 5.7-liter V8 DOHC engine producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. With 90-percent of peak torque available at just 2,200 rpm, this engine makes the Land Cruiser an outstanding tow vehicle. Fuel economy is not the strong suit of this engine at 13/18 mpg City/Highway with an expected average 15 mpg, but how it performs is generally more important to large luxury SUV owners than is fuel efficiency. The Land Cruiser uses a very reliable six-speed automatic electronically controlled transmission with sequential shift mode to deliver the horsepower and torque efficiently for the vehicle.
To tackle rough terrain off-road, the Land Cruiser is equipped with a full-time four-wheel drive system with Active Traction Control (A-Trac) and a Torsen limited slip differential with locking feature that distributes power 40:60 front-to-rear sending power to the wheels with best grip on rough terrain.
For off-road running, Land Cruiser has a ground clearance of about 9-inches and both engine and transmission are protected by under-body skid panels.
Augmenting the four-wheel drive system, Land Cruiser has a Multi-terrain Select system that allows the driver to select the terrain being traveled and then then let the system control wheel slip to match. For loose terrain like mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.
Land Cruiser’s off-road prowess is further enhanced by the five-setting CRAWL Control with Off-Road Turn Assist to make traversing difficult terrain easier through engine speed and output management metered to the setting selected. With CRAWL operating, the driver can then maintain focus on steering over extremely rough level ground or steep grades without having to use the throttle or brake pedals. The Off-Road Turn Assist feature applies slight brake pressure to the inside rear wheel, creating a pivot point and helping the vehicle make tighter turns when maneuvering on rugged terrain.
Land Cruiser also has Downhill Assist Control (DAC) to help maintain downhill speeds with little driver intervention as well as Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) that provides additional control for off-road driving on a steep incline or slippery surface.
For stability and control while off-road, Land Cruiser uses the Toyota Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which hydraulically adjusts the lean resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars in response to changing road conditions and driver inputs. On the highway, the KDDS vehicle dynamics control system also works to provide a more comfortable ride.
Land Cruiser also comes standard with a towing connector and sub-wiring harness to connect a commercial trailer-brake controller. Standard Trailer Sway Control uses the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to minimize the impact of trailer sway.
Luxury Amenities and Features are Second
The 2014 Land Cruiser does not have a svelte and sophisticated look as some of its competitors do. It looks like what it is - and intends to be – a sturdy and capable SUV that is also a luxury vehicle. The exterior did receive a freshened look in 2013 that included updated front grille and HID low-beam headlamps. The reliable and rugged look of the Land Cruiser was enhanced by bolder front and rear fenders for emphasis. Other new exterior treatments included LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), chrome side molding and updated mirrors and tail lamps.
Inside, the Land Cruiser added upgraded perforated leather trims and ventilated front seats, more vibrant wood trims, varied metal finish accents, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, plus the very useful new Multi-terrain Monitor system that enabled front, side or rear views to be selected and viewed on-screen by the driver to enhance driving safety and control.
Standard features that add to the convenience and ambiance (read that as luxury elements) of the Land Cruiser that we particularly noted include: new Five-Spoke High Gloss Alloy Wheels, Halogen Headlamps with Auto On/Off, Power Tilt/Slide Moon Roof with Sunshade, Smart Key System and Push Button Start, Rain Sensing Variable Windshield Wipers, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Rear View Camera, Roof Rack, Running Boards, Front and Rear Frame-mounted Tow Hooks and Front and Rear Heavy Duty Mudguards.
On the inside, notable features include: Illuminated Entry Lighting, Multi-Stage-Setting Heated Seat Eight-Passenger Seating, Reclining 40/20/40 Second Row Seating with fold and tumble feature including center armrest, unique Fold Away (to the side) 50/50 Third Row Seating, Four Zone Automatic Filtered Climate Controls, twelve cup and bottle holders, new TFT Multi-information Display with comprehensive vehicle management and performance settings and Rear Seat DVD Entertainment System with 9-inch Color Display and Wireless Headphones.
But our favorite inside was the large Center Console Cooler box with fan to assist in temperature control. Plus the top opening lid is easily manipulated by driver or passenger at their convenience (read into that whatever you want).
Oh yes, the infotainment and navigation is exceptional with the Toyota Entune Premium HDD Navigation and JBL audio system that has all of the features of the Toyota Entune system operated through an eight-inch center stack color display with split screen capability. Sounds? You have them with the 14 JBL speakers plus a sub-woofer placed around the cabin.
Toyota says “Let’s Go Places”. The 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser takes you just about any place you want to go – with very nice luxury to boot.