Sometimes when I am doing a week long road test of a certain vehicle I wind up having overlapping days with a vehicle that comes from the same genre but feels utterly dissimilar genetically. Such was the case when I had both a 2010 Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD and a 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser at the same time. Can you say big brother/little brother fight?
Or perhaps, since these are macho SUVs, I should call this a bare knuckle brawl. But despite the fact that the 2010 Land Cruiser is clearly the vehicle you want when crossing Sub-Saharan Africa, it doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense as transport to the mall. The 2010 Honda CR-V, on the other hand, is not the vehicle you want to use for a trip to a remote wild animal preserve in Kenya. But trips to Target are definitely in its repertoire.
To be honest, if you live in North America I doubt you would ever use the 2010 Land Cruiser to its full potential. The 2010 Honda CR-V is unquestionably enough SUV for about 80% of the family car buyer demographic. But since both the CR-V and the Land Cruiser are sold here, shouldn’t they be held to the same standard? Get ready for an interesting comparison test.
Even though the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser is rather obnoxiously huge, it masks its length and girth with styling that is rugged yet classy. This is an SUV you could take off-roading in the afternoon and then use it to drive your friends to the fanciest restaurant in town that evening. You may, of course, want to get it washed first but you get the point.
While the 2010 Honda CR-V is a pleasant enough design, it is more of a T-shirt and jeans sort of SUV that majors on practicality. With the CR-V form follows function as the interior of the CR-V is a packaging miracle. How on Earth Honda fits so much cargo and passenger room into such a small exterior is beyond the telling. Still, there is something appealing about the overbearing machismo of the Toyota Landcruiser. (Advantage: 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser)
Both the 2010 Honda CR-V and 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser have interiors that are exemplars of the best designs ever seen from either manufacturer. The organically shaped dashboard in the Land Cruiser is tastefully accentuated with metal and wood trim that really makes it feel luxurious. But it is not so luxurious as to undermine the Land Cruiser’s off-road credibility.
The major problem with the interior of the 8-passenger Land Cruiser (the CR-V only seats 5) is the fact that the third row of seats don’t fold flat into the floor of the cargo area. Rather they fold to the sides of the cargo area when not in use severely limiting its utility. A 43 cubic foot reading (behind the second row) is simply not good enough for a vehicle this size.
The Honda CR-V’s interior, on the other hand, is the picture of understated simplicity. Looking at the CR-V’s ergonomically delightful dash it makes you wonder why so many other automakers make their designs so user-unfriendly (hello BMW). All the knobs and switches move with an oily precision and there is plenty of rear seat legroom and cargo space (35.7 cubic feet with the rear bench in place, 72.9 cubic feet with the rear seats removed).
My only issue with the Honda is the fact that its USB/iPod interface is only standard on EX-L models like my tester. This feature should be standard across their model range. Still, Honda claws back points with the CR-V by cleverly locating the USB port in the upper glovebox (it has two) so you don’t have to look at unsightly cords. (Advantage: 2010 Honda CR-V)
Value and Fuel Economy
This one is very easy. My test 2010 Honda CR-V stickered at $29,745 while the 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser cost an eye watering $74,099 even before destination fees and taxes. So what did the Land Cruiser have that the CR-V did not?
Well, it has a much more powerful V8 engine, hardcore off-road running gear, a rear seat DVD entertainment unit and a third row of seats. While the CR-V has a tow capacity of 1,500 lbs, the 2010 Land Cruiser can haul a whopping 8,500 lbs. So if you can afford a huge boat maybe you can afford a 2010 Land Cruiser.
Speaking of the 5.7 liter 381 horsepower V8 in the 2010 Land Cruiser, it returns 13 city/18 highway on the EPA cycle. We got 11 miles per gallon during a long freeway jaunt. The CR-V might not be as powerful but it is fast enough and returns a less traumatizing 21 city/27 highway in 4wd form. (Advantage: 2010 Honda CR-V)
Both of these vehicles have interiors that seem purpose built for road trips (you have to love the refrigerated “cool box” in the Land Cruiser’s center console) and both are constructed to the highest standards evidenced by their manufacturers. But while the Land Cruiser can haul more people, the awkward storage of the third row limits its overall utility. Plus, it’s much higher off the ground making it more difficult to load cargo.
Extended seat time in the CR-V and the Land Cruiser proved that their divergent interior design cues still allow them to excel in comfort and ease of use. But the CR-V has the edge in “dog friendliness” thanks to a low jump in height (for older dogs) and the fact that you can fold the rear bench seat forward behind the driver and passenger seat.
This acts as a barrier between canine and human passengers and leaves two car seat D-rings exposed in the floor that are perfect for attaching pet safety harnesses. You do use car seats for your children, don’t you? So why not use a safety restraint harness for the dog? (Advantage: 2010 Honda CR-V)
Now this is the section where you could easily see the “little brother” Honda CR-V telling its mommy that “it’s just not fair!” The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser boasts a brutally powerful 5.7 liter 381 horsepower/481 lb. feet of torque V8 while the CR-V makes do with a 2.4 liter 180 horsepower/161 lb. feet of torque four cylinder.
The Honda uses a five speed automatic while the Land Cruiser has a six-speed unit. Both transmissions are perfectly calibrated for getting the most performance from their respective engines and work seamlessly. Both are very quiet at cruising speeds but the Land Cruiser does have overall edge in refinement.
But don’t count out the 2010 Honda CR-V quite yet. The CR-V has what is easily the best steering rack in the SUV universe and thank to its lower ride height body roll is not as pronounced as it is in the 2010 Land Cruiser. Still, try to remember that these are SUVs and are still prone to the limiting laws of physics.
So, this all comes down to what matters most to you in regards to your driving experience. If you want a vehicle that can smoke many lighter luxury sedans from the stoplights then by all means buy the Land Cruiser. But if you understand the joys of a properly buttoned down suspension and actual steering feel you probably will prefer the CR-V. (Advantage: 2010 Honda CR-V)
This comparison test really comes down to one decisive point. How much SUV do most families need as a part of their daily lives? While I have to say I really enjoyed my week with the 2010 Land Cruiser, it is definitely more SUV than anyone in their right mind needs. It may be expensive but considering the engineering that went into its creation it is probably worth it. That is if you have the money.
Looking at the 2010 CR-V it is easy to see that Honda really hit the nail on the head with its mixture of pricing, economy, features, performance and interior design. It ticks all of the necessary boxes for most families and you will never regret buying one. Plus, if gas prices go up it won’t bankrupt you. (Winner: 2010 Honda CR-V)