The Toyota Land Cruiser is the ideal car for when the going gets tough, and offers surprisingly good value

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a very capable and reliable 4x4, but in spite of its legendary strengths, most drivers will find it simply too agricultural compared to contemporary rivals like the Land Rover Discovery.

Wholesale revisions in 2018 don’t go far enough to help the Land Cruiser compete with the wide range of luxurious SUVs and crossover models now available. Almost without exception, those rivals offer a degree of refinement and on-road dynamism that the Land Cruiser was never intended to match.

However, if you need genuine off-road ability with some added luxury, it’s still a great choice, and the latest updates make it better than ever. Put it this way: you wouldn’t pick any of the Land Cruiser's rivals over the Toyota for a trek through the African bush.

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Toyota Land Cruiser Active 5-door auto

Few cars for sale are as capable off-road as the Toyota Land Cruiser. The big SUV has built a reputation over more than 60 years as an unstoppable 4x4 that's only equalled by one other car - the Toyota Hilux pickup.

The UK Land Cruiser isn't the biggest version in Toyota's global line-up. While other markets get larger V6 and V8 models, the UK car is the slightly smaller model known as the Land Cruiser Prado in other countries. However, it's still one of the biggest 4x4s for sale in the UK, and it was given an extensive update in 2018, with the range now spanning functional Utility versions to luxury top-spec models.

Best 4x4s and SUVs

There aren't many traditional 4x4s like the Land Cruiser for sale today. The Mitsubishi Shogun is very old in comparison, while the only other models to feature a similar body-on-frame set-up are the latest one-tonne pickup trucks. A price range from around £35,000 to £55,000 means the Land Cruiser rivals more modern SUVs such as the Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery, Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLE.

Where the Land Cruiser stands out is its availability in 3 or 5-door body styles, while the range starts with the basic Utility model, and runs through Active, Icon and luxury-spec Invincible models (it's worth noting that the 3-door only comes in Utility and Active trims, though). There's also a Land Cruiser Utility Commercial, which is based on the 5-door body, but only has two seats and a vast load area in the back.

3.8
3.8/5
The Land Cruiser can't match the refinement of European 4x4 rivals, but you'd choose it for an outback adventure
2.2
2.2/5
The Land Cruiser won't be cheap to run, but it's reliable and is predicted to hold its value well
3.5
3.5/5
The Land Cruiser has strong presence, but while the interior offers plenty of toys, the design feels a bit dated
4.5
4.5/5
The Land Cruiser is a practical choice, although the optional third row of seats eats into the huge boot space
4.8
4.8/5
A reputation for peerless reliability and good safety credentials should make the Land Cruiser a good bet

Go for a base Land Cruiser Utility, and there is a six-speed manual as standard or an auto gearbox option. Meanwhile the five-door Land Cruiser Active has the option of either five or seven seats. Further up the range, the more expensive models get the auto box and seven seat layout both as standard, as well as kit such as a premium JBL sound system, Toyota Touch 2 infotainment with sat-nav, as well as the Off-Road Pack, which adds a whole suite of electronic and mechanical off-road assistance systems and cameras.

While the Land Cruiser is a big old beast, power still only comes from a four-cylinder diesel engine. It's a 2.8-litre unit with 174bhp, while up to 450Nm of torque is offered in the auto version, so it's well suited to hauling this 2.5-tonne 4x4 off road, or towing.

Last updated: 
26 Apr, 2019