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Toyota Land Cruiser: Test Drive Review

Date: 23 November 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Land Cruiser
Category: Large 4x4
P11D price: £44,525
Key rival: Land Rover Discovery

All-new Toyota Land Cruisers don't come along that often, but when they do they have an exceedingly loyal customer base.

In fact, the only new customer of any significance in recent years is the Highways Agency, which takes nearly 25% of UK supply. This 25% also accounts for almost the entire fleet sales of the Land Cruiser.

So this is a road test for those thinking of emulating the Highways Agency or, indeed, the Highways Agency itself.

There's only really one seven-seat 4x4 rival to the Land Cruiser and that's the Land Rover Discovery.

The major difference between the two is that the Land Rover has the much classier interior and, at least in the UK, greater prestige.

While there's not much Toyota can do about the prestige, the dashboard layout is a particular disappointment. The controls for the off-road systems are positioned in three different areas: the centre column of the dash, the steering wheel and hidden at the base of the steering wheel.

Once you've been taught where all the off-road controls are and how to use them, you're into the kinds of electrical systems that you find in the Discovery's Terrain Response, such as settings for mud or rock-crawl.

The Land Cruiser is impressive off-road. However, given that the cars for the off-road section of our test route were wearing special off-road tyres, rather than standard issue road tyres, it's hard to give an exact comparison with the Discovery, which we've driven off-road on standard tyres. Even Toyota's 4x4 specialist said the special tyres could add up to 10% more off-road prowess.

However, the Land Cruiser has one large advantage over the Discovery: it is approximately £10,000 less expensive than the Land Rover if you match the specification levels. A not insubstantial amount. The Land Cruiser is also more fuel and CO2 efficient. The combination of lower price and lower tax band means a saving of more than £60 a month for a 40% tax payer.

While the Land Cruiser has always been the cheaper option, it lost out to the Land Rover in on-road behaviour. This is now a most improved area, with new Land Cruiser having lost the previous generation's horrid body roll. Refinement and comfort have also been greatly improved.

If you need this kind of car, both are good choices but for different reasons - the Discovery for its prestige and ease of use; the Land Cruiser for its price and efficiency. So in true fleet terms it comes down to costs, which gives the Land Cruiser the win, coming in at 90.7ppm, 7ppm less than the Discovery.

Toyota Land Cruiser 3.0
D4D 171PS LC5 5dr automatic
P11D price£44,525
Model price range£29,995-£44,795
Fuel consumption34.9mpg
CO2 (tax) 214g/km (33%)
BIK 20/40% per month£245/£490
Service interval10,000mls
Insurancegroup 15
Boot space (min)621 litres
Engine size/power2982cc/171PS
Top speed/0-62mph109mph/11.7secs
On sale November 2009
VerdictWill go as far off-road as a
Discovery, but a lot cheaper


Will go as far off-road as a Discovery, but a lot cheaper