The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is kind of like that guy in school who was good at everything. He was great at sports, he excelled in academics, he was funny, he was nice and everyone who knew him loved him. Yes, that kind off all around excellence is rare but it can also be kind of annoying to those who aren’t so perfect.
As such, I can imagine that luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Porsche Cayenne, Land Rover LR4, BMW X5 and even the Range Rover secretly resent the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser. Really, how can an SUV be this capable and this luxurious and not come from a snooty luxury brand?
Because the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser, unlike the aforementioned models, is not just meant to impress your neighbors and make people think you are outdoorsy (although it can do both). No, the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is actually tough enough to tackle the harshest off-road trail yet it also offers minivan levels of passenger hauling ability.
There is enough room in the 2010 Land Cruiser for eight adult sized Americans with serious, life threatening Big Mac addictions. And unlike many SUVs/minivans with three rows of seats, there is still enough room in the cargo area for a folded baby stroller when all of the perches are in use.
I don’t imagine that anyone could possibly find a way to really test all of the Land Cruiser’s off-road ability even if they were taking a pleasure cruise across the remotest unpaved roads in Afghanistan. During my week with the SUV I often felt that this would also be the perfect vehicle for someone who lived near a wildlife preserve in Kenya yet still demanded luxurious refinement.
Given the long history of the Land Cruiser name, it is no wonder that this granddaddy of the SUV genre is so capable. You don’t become the unofficial vehicle of the United Nations for no reason. While the 2010 Land Cruiser may just be considered by some to be another luxury SUV, it really is a whole lot more than that.
Being that this review is intended mainly for North Americans, however, I have to keep in mind that most owners won’t be using their Land Cruiser to cross the Amazon River or the Kalihari Desert. For the geographically challenged, those places are both on other continents. Try pulling out an atlas once in a while!
But this all brings up one very important issue relating to a model like the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser. Are they relevant in this country? Really, how does it handle the urban and suburban concrete jungles so many of us call home? Read on to find out.
The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is a huge SUV and there is no getting around that fact. But somehow it doesn’t assault the ocular nerves with the same morbid obesity that blights so many other super sized SUVs. It appears macho and tough but never so much as to become a Jeep Wrangler like caricature of itself.
What the 2010 Land Cruiser also doesn’t do is cross the line into ridiculousness by fitting oversized chrome rims (18-inch alloys are standard) like you see on most Cadillac Escalades. There is an understated chrome grille and stylishly oversized headlamps but the Land Cruiser is an SUV that is made to work so the no nonsense appearance reflects that.
It’s a tricky balancing act when an SUV needs to look just as good covered in mud as it does driving up to a valet on Rodeo Drive. The 2010 Land Cruiser manages to be understatedly elegant in appearance but being dirty doesn’t take away from that at all.
Toyota must agree that the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser looks best after it has been off-road. On their U.S. website most of the photos of the Land Cruiser show the SUV covered in dirt and mud both inside and out. That pretty much says everything, now doesn’t it?
Interior Design and Execution
Sure, a Range Rover or a Land Cruiser may have fluffier feeling carpets and squishier leather but that is not part of the 2010 Land Cruiser’s DNA. This is an SUV designed to survive a stampeding herd of wildebeests. Seriously, do you think inch-thick wool carpets would look good after a week of off-roading in the Australian Outback?
You never feel short-changed inside the 2010 Land Cruiser as it offers up all of the luxury features that buyers at this level demand. There is room for eight, the front powered/heated seats have a 3-position memory function (hello overkill) and the JBL Synthsis 14-speaker audio system is awesome. Just because you are miles away from the nearest restroom doesn’t mean you can’t hear Beethoven’s Symphony #9 as clearly as if you were sitting front and center at a performance of your local Philharmonic.
The interior door handles and transmission shift lever do come from the Tundra but as they work fine in that application I had no problem with that. I think people that complain of component sharing among different vehicles in an automaker’s lineup need to get a life. Seriously, go to a movie, volunteer at an animal shelter or take a pottery class. Duplicating trim pieces like that simply doesn’t matter as long as it is done right the first time.
The dash layout is very straightforward and sturdy looking in a manner that bears more in common with architecture than any sort of modernist design. It is meant to serve a function yet it does so in a way that is timeless and classy. If you want artful swoops and frilly ornamentation made from exotic materials look elsewhere.
There is room for 8 inside the Land Cruiser and when I say that I mean ACTUAL room for 8 people. Or 7 people and a dog. Or 5 people, two parakeets and a grizzly bear cub. My only real problem with the Land Cruiser’s interior is the fact that the third row does not fold flat, rather it splits in two and fits flush against the rear-most side windows.
This blocks rear visibility and reduces cargo space. I realize there is no room to fold the seats into the cargo floor because of the hardcore off-road hardware underneath it, but any buyer should be aware of this one drawback. Do keep in mind that folding the third row is a very straightforward affair requiring only one person to complete the task.
The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser comes with full time 4-wheel drive and a 2-speed transfer case operated by a knob on the dashboard. There is also a Torsen locking center differential, hill start assist and a crawl control system for steep inclines. At the front is an independent double wishbone suspension with coil springs and at the rear is a sturdy four link suspension also with coil springs.
All 2010 Land Cruisers also come with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System which doesn’t really come into play on paved roads but can be a life saver if you are off-roading. For instance, this system comes into play when one of the wheels drops during a boulder crawling maneuver. Controlled by a series of interconnected hydraulic cylinders, this system can engage and disengage the front and rear stabilizer bars to help get you unstuck. Pretty cool, huh?
Pricing, Features and Fuel Economy
While the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is by no means cheap ($74,099 as tested), you have to consider the vehicles it is competing with. It is a bargain by Range Rover standards, it is classier and more capable than the Cadillac Escalade and who would take an X5 or Cayenne off-road? No matter, The Land Cruiser’s mixture of family friendly utility, incomparable off-road prowess and luxury is something you can’t find at this price anywhere.
The 2010 Land Cruiser starts at $65,970 and comes with a 5.7 liter 381 horsepower/401 lb. feet of torque V8, a 6-speed automatic, full time all-wheel drive, 4-zone climate control, leather seats, a JBL Synthesis 14-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB port with iPod integration, heated front seats, parking sonar, power front seats with 3-position memory, halogen headlamps with auto off function, a moonroof and tinted windows.
But for the full luxury experience you really should order your 2010 Land Cruiser with the only available option package. Known only as the “Upgrade Package,” it ups the price by a substantial $7,120 and adds voice activated navigation, a very helpful back-up camera, XM navigation traffic, rear seat DVD entertainment with a 9-inch screen, rain sensing windshield wipers, a subtle rear spoiler, headlamp washers, second row seat heaters, a refrigerated center console cool box and a leather/wood grain covered steering wheel/shift knob set. Thusly equipped the 2010 Land Cruiser becomes a masterful road trip companion.
Now, when any vehicle weighs 5,688 pounds yet somehow goes 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, you have to figure fuel economy won’t be stellar. On this count, the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser does not disappoint. EPA estimates are 13 city/18 mile per gallon highway. Thanks to intoxicating levels of thrust from the V8 engine, however, I could never average higher than 11 miles per gallon.
Do keep in mind that the Land Cruiser runs on regular unleaded and that it has a 24.6 gallon fuel tank to ensure decent cruising distances. If you want a vehicle that can do as many things as the 2010 Land Cruiser, you have to be aware that there are going to be some drawbacks. And 11 miles per gallon qualifies as a drawback.
Driving Impressions in Suburbia
I live in South Orange County so the furthest off-road any 2010 Land Cruiser would venture around here is traversing the extra large speed bumps at the chi-chi South Coast Plaza Shopping Mall. Luckily, however, the Land Cruiser is surprisingly adept at maneuvering crowded mall parking lots due to the fact that it never feels all that huge from behind the wheel.
Compared to something like a Cadillac Escalade or Range Rover Sport, the Land Cruiser’s steering feels hefty and well weighted with body roll being the only enemy of truly spirited driving. The 5.7 liter 381 horsepower/401 lb. feet of torque V8 makes the Cruiser feel half as heavy as it really is with the 6-speed automatic always offering up the right gear in a smooth and unflappable manner.
Passing power on the freeway is ferocious and the interior is extremely quiet at cruising speeds, making you wonder why anyone would bother buying the more expensive Lexus version. Braking is also another area in which the Land Cruiser excels as stopping distances are short and I never experienced any brake fade during stop and go traffic situations.
Now, don’t confuse the 2010 Land Cruiser with a sports car because it isn’t. But when you compare it with a lot of its competition it is much more pleasant to drive. It is sort of the giant SUV equivalent of a 1960’s muscle car. Brutally fast in a straight line, not as fun around corners but still wickedly cool, nonetheless.
How Dog and Kid Friendly is It?
I think this should give you an idea of the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser’s family friendliness. Over the Labor Day weekend 3 adults, 3 kids in car seats and a 60 pound dog drove around with me in my test Toyota Land Cruiser and everyone had plenty of space. There was even room for a baby stroller in the rear cargo hold. It’s like a minivan only so much cooler.
I am usually better at describing my experiences with a particular vehicle but when it comes to the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser all I kept thinking was that it was “cool.” It brought out a kid-like wonderment and amazement that is rare (for me at least) when it comes to modern day SUVs. Why, you ask?
The reason why the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is so cool is that it is a real, tough, macho, off-road ready SUV but somehow it gives away nothing in creature comforts. It is fast, it is as fun to drive as the laws of physics allow for a vehicle this size and it just makes you feel special when you drive it. And you just can’t put a price tag on that.
Vehicle Tested: 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser
Base Price: $65,970
Price as Tested: $74,099 (including destination)
Options on Test Vehicle: Upgrade Package : ($7,120)-includes voice activated navigation with back-up camera, rear seat DVD entertainment center, rear spoiler, rain sensing wipers, JBL Synthesis 14-speaker audio system with XM traffic function, headlamp washers, refrigerated center console “cooling box,” seat heaters for second row seats, leather wrapped steering wheel/shift knob accentuated with wood grain trim enhancements.
Engine: 5.7 liter V8
Power: 381 horsepower/401 lb. feet of torque
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
0-60: 6.5 seconds!
EPA Fuel Economy: 13 city/18 highway
Fuel Economy During Test: 11 miles per gallon
Fuel Tank Size: 24.6 gallons
Seating Capacity: Eight Passengers
Towing Capacity: 8,500 pounds
Cargo Capacity (Behind Third Row): 16.1 cubic feet
(Behind Second Row): 43 cubic feet
(Behind Front Seats): 81.7 cubic feet
Weight: 5,688 pounds
Cup/Bottle Holders: 12
Crash Test Ratings: (Not Tested by Either NHTSA or IIHS)
Warranty: 3 years/36,000 mile bumper to bumper
5 years/60,000 mile powertrain
2 years/25,000 miles free maintenance