- 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser ($85,655 – $90,678)
- Pro: The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser is a large SUV that can go almost anywhere and do nearly everything you want it to both on and off the road.
- Con: The optional third row is cramped and it gets terrible fuel economy.
Whether you’re talking to a car enthusiast or not, if you mention the Toyota Land Cruiser, the other person will most likely know which car you’re talking about. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering Toyota’s flagship SUV has been around for over 60 years. And while the Land Cruiser has changed a lot since it first came out, it still has the same “go anywhere, do anything” attitude and capability that it has always had.
Sadly, 2021 is the last model year that Toyota will offer the Land Cruiser. So if you really need the off-road capability, or are just a die-hard Land Cruiser fan, then you might want to pick one up as soon as possible. However, if you would rather wait, then you’ll be happy to know that the Japanese automaker recently debuted the Land Cruiser’s spiritual successor in the form of the 2022 Lexus LX 600.
The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser looks rough and tough, but elegant
Although the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser’s design is miles away from the basic off-road architecture that it originated from, a lot of its styling cues pay homage to its past iterations. It still has the same blocky design and broad stature that it’s always been known for, but its most recent update added an eye-catching new front grille and LED headlights. The rear of the SUV is where it gets interesting, though. Instead of a single liftgate like most SUVs have, the Land Cruiser incorporates a clamshell tailgate in which the top and bottom portions fold out.
For the 2020 model year, Toyota introduced the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition to celebrate the nameplate’s 60-year anniversary. That edition comes with a special front grille, black side mirrors, dark chrome accents, and a few retro-looking badges. Bronze BBS forged aluminum-alloy wheels fill the fenders while a Yakima roof rack sits on top of the roof. Overall, it’s a good look and a good way to pay homage to Land Cruisers from the past.
The Land Cruiser’s interior is comfortable and spacious
The interior of the 2021 Land Cruiser is comfortable – thanks to its supportive leather seats – and spacious – thanks to its boxy design. There’s plenty of leg and headroom in the front and rear seats, however, if you opt for the available third row, then those occupants may be a little cramped. Unlike other three-row SUVs, the Land Cruiser’s third row is a couple of jump seats that fold to sides of the cabin when not in use. It creates a flat floor for loading cargo, however, the seats aren’t the most comfortable.
Nonetheless, the Land Cruiser is inviting for passengers of all sizes and it easily fit my 5-foot, 8-inch frame without any issue. As a plus, the second-row floor is flat, so middle-seat passengers won’t have any complaints. Just to note, the Land Cruiser can fit up to eight passengers unless you opt for the Heritage Edition, which fits five.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is packed with features
While the 2021 Land Cruiser costs nearly $90,000, that high-price tag comes with a bevy of high-quality features. As an added plus, shopping for a Land Cruiser is easy as there are only two different trims to choose from: Land Cruiser or Land Cruiser Heritage. Either one you choose has a set roster of amenities. According to Kelley Blue Book, the most notable standard features include a leather interior with heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 4-zone auto climate control, and a moonroof.
There’s also a nine-inch infotainment screen with navigation that sits front and center on the dashboard, in addition to a JBL premium sound system that includes 14 speakers and a subwoofer. I will say that the sound system is utterly sublime, however, Android Auto and Apple Carplay are surprisingly not part of the equation.
In terms of options, only one feature is available: a rear-seat entertainment system with two 11.6-inch screens, RCA jacks, an HDMI input, and two sets of wireless headphones.
The Land Cruiser handles well despite its large size and heavy weight
The Land Cruiser weighs in at a hefty 5,815 pounds (5,715 for the Heritage), but you’ll never guess it when pitching it into turns. No, it doesn’t handle like a sports car — or even a Toyota Highlander – but it can take a corner really well at speed but there is some body roll included. Otherwise, the Land Cruiser feels composed and has a supple ride when cruising on the freeway, despite its body-on-frame architecture.
I also found the Land Cruiser to be surprisingly quiet at highway speeds. When cruising, I felt like I was sitting on a cloud with a cocoon of sheet metal and expensive leather surrounding me. In fact, even the engine noise from its large V8 was barely noticeable under heavy acceleration and the whole driving experience feels safe and well-planted. Additionally, its light steering makes it easy to maneuver at slower speeds.
Power comes from a potent V8 engine
While other SUVs in the segment – like the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GLS Class – use supercharged and turbocharged V6 engines, the Land Cruiser sticks to its roots with a hefty 5.7-liter V8. This tried-and-true powerplant produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque and is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. That transmission then routes the power to all four wheels thanks to a standard full-time, four-wheel-drive setup. The Land Cruiser is also equipped with a two-speed transfer case and a locking center differential for when the road gets tough.
As you can imagine, the big V8 likes to guzzle gasoline. According to the EPA, the 2021 Land Cruiser is able to achieve up to 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. In my real-world testing in mixed driving conditions, I averaged 14 mpg, which is actually better than expected. Also, if you need to tow anything, you’ll be happy to know that this rig can handle up to 8,100 pounds.
The Land Cruiser may be huge, but it’s also very safe
When it comes to safety, the Land Cruiser comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense P suite of driver-assist features. The suite includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, a lane-departure alert with a sway warning system, auto high beams, and dynamic cruise control. Other safety features include 10 airbags and a high-strength body structure with side-impact door beams.
The Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t cost too much to maintain
Despite its high price tag, the Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t too expensive to maintain. According to Car Edge, it can cost an average of $2,129 to maintain a Land Cruiser during the first five years of ownership. As for reliability, Consumer Reports rated the Land Cruiser with a 4 out 5, however, given the fact that the SUV is over-engineered from the factory, it should last you longer than almost anything else that you currently own.
Fortunately, new Land Cruiser owners won’t need to worry that much about repairs for the first few years at the SUV is covered by the brand’s 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive basic warranty. Additionally, there’s a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and a complimentary maintenance plan for the first two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser is a legendary SUV that’s taking its last stand
Ultimately, whether you’re an avid off-roader or just want a luxurious SUV to tote around your family and all of their stuff, the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser is the ultimate answer. It’s timeless styling, spacious upscale interior, and rugged capability make it one of the best in its class and a legend in the automotive marketplace. However, you’ll need to act quickly if you plan to buy one because it will soon be gone, but surely not forgotten.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser an expert rating of 8.4 out of 10
The editors at MotorBiscuit gave the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser an overall rating of 8.4 out of 10. The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the best-looking SUVs in its class and it’s built to take on the toughest of roads. And while some of its tech is a little outdated, its sharp looks, strong engine, and off-road capability more than make up for it.