The name “Land Cruiser” has been a part of Toyota’s lexicon for a long time. 1958, to be exact. Nearly as long as the name “Range Rover” has been a part of Land Rover’s lexicon. Both are incredibly storied names, yet only one stands for luxury and opulence. Can Toyota change that with the Land Cruiser for 2021?
Is the Toyota Land Cruiser a bargain luxury SUV?
Typically, the Land Cruiser badge is a byword for off-roader. However, in recent years, Toyota has also wanted to make it the brand’s luxury offering; the absolute best that the Japanese brand is capable of in nearly every way. As far as halo cars go for the brand, the Land Cruiser is right up there with the problem-child Supra. Happily, Toyota hasn’t forgotten the Cruiser’s roots in off-roading.
This SUV certainly does boast some serious off-roading chops. Equipped with a locking center differential, a two-speed transfer case, and a V8 making a healthy 381 hp, the Land Cruiser doesn’t mess around. Its off-road skills are the highlight here, and the interior certainly sends the message that luxury comes second to outdoor fun for this SUV. Per Car and Driver, the 2021 Land Cruiser starts at $87,030, with the optional Heritage Edition kicking the price up to $89,240.
The Range Rover is a premium SUV
Land Rover has always taken the opposite approach with the Range Rover. The Range Rover has forever been focused on on-road comfort and luxury, and it shows both inside and out. Like a British gentleman, the Rover is still willing to get its hands dirty when absolutely necessary, and still proves to be a competent off-road choice. Still, the Range Rover shines brighter on tarmac with a near-silent Rolls-Royce-like ride and excellent material choices in the cabin.
But price is where the Range Rover really hurts its chances against the Toyota’s Land Cruiser. While the Cruiser Heritage Edition stops around $90,000 with options, the Rover starts at $93,350 according to Car and Driver. Options can take the big SUV well into six figures. It’s not all badge that you’re paying for with the Range Rover though. The options are as luxurious as they are plentiful, from beautiful wood trim to a refrigerator masquerading as a center console. Both SUVs are kings of what they do best, but only one is the right choice.
Which one is better?
Cars are a very subjective thing, and just because my personal pick is the Land Cruiser doesn’t mean that is the end of the story. While the Land Cruiser is a fantastic value compared to Land Rover’s Range Rover, the interior quality is a little shy of the price the Japanese automaker charges. There is also a certain je ne se quoi about the Toyota’s retro badging that can’t be beaten.
Frankly, the only downside of the Range Rover is its price. $93,000 is quite the base price, and options are more still. But, the Range Rover is unmatched in road presence in any zip code. Whether you want the off-road-ready Toyota or the presence and poise of the Range Rover, it’s all down to what you want your luxury SUV to do.