Trucks & SUVs

The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Smashed the 2021 Toyota 4Runner on Consumer Reports

4x4s tend to have devout followings. If you are a Jeep loyalist, then that is the end of the discussion. If you are a Subaru cat, well, then you have probably already checked out. But, if you are a big displacement Toyota fan, you probably have thoughts on the 2021 Toyota 4Runner and the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser. Don’t worry, I’m not here to bash either, but Consumer Reports certainly had some thoughts on the subject. 

Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner

Both of these 4×4 icons are undeniably great off-road vehicles, and even though they share many of the same pros and cons, they are still very different. The 2021 Land Cruiser got an overall score from Consumer Reports of 74/100. For a big 4×4, this is actually pretty good. The 4Runner only scored a 64/100. 

Is the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser a good truck? 

Hell yeah! CR doesn’t really have many bad things to say about the new Land cruiser. The new LC is fitted with the Jurassic 5.7-liter V8. Of course, this beast makes plenty of power and accelerates without any issues and runs through its automatic six-speed with crips and decisive gear changes.

The Toyota Land Cruiser parked in front of a mountain range.
Toyota Land Cruiser | Toyota

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The engine may be 20-years old, but it is rock solid. The LC scored an impressive 4 / 5 on predicted reliability. The only issue with that big ol’ motor is the fuel-economy, or should I say, lack of. The Land Cruiser only gets 14 mpg combined.

CR raves about how comfortable and quiet the Land Cruiser is. The suspension is soft enough to suck up nearly all road issues, and the cabin is well insulated against wind and road noise. Not only is it polite and comfy, but it is also strong. CR testers hooked up a 5,000lb trailer still hit 60 mph in 13.7 seconds. The Land Cruiser has a max towing capacity of 8,500 lbs. 

The only other issue CR had with the Land Cruiser was the emergency handling and braking. This always seems to be an issue with any big off-roaders. It makes sense. The Land Cruiser is huge, heavy, and typically on knobbier tires that aren’t made for gripping tarmac. Other than that, the 2021 Land Cruiser is great all around, both on-road and off. As well, it should be, seeing as how it starts at a steep $85,665. 

Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner a good car? 

In true Toyota fashion, the 4Runner is just about the same as it’s always been. The 4Runner is essentially just the Tacoma with an enclosed back and more seats. I’m really not being that overly reductive. It shares the same motor, chassis, and underpinnings. And, like the Tacoma, the 4Runner really hasn’t changed in a while. Sure there’s a new body style every now and then, and it has touchscreens and blue tooth, but the engine, transmission, and chassis remain basically the same. 

2021 Toyota 4Runner parked in the mountains
2021 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

Consumer Reports is keenly aware of all of these factors, so although it is a well-loved SUV, it never scores that well anymore. CR gave it a 5/5 on reliability because these essentially don’t have major issues often. However, the tried and true 4.0-liter V6 is a bit old-fashioned and still sucks a good bit of fuel. The combined mpg for the 4runner is only 18. The other parts that come with an old design are ride comfort and equipment. 

CR was not impressed by the bumpy and jarring ride of the tough old suspension. This suspension has proven to be great off-road but less than ideal for daily tarmac driving.

Along with the stiff ride and outdated chassis comes a clumsy and poor handling truck. Like the Land Cruiser, the 4Runner is tall and cumbersome around corners. In the event of any emergency handling, the 4Runner will not give much confidence to its driver. However, the 4Runner’s brakes are surprisingly strong and act quickly. 

Even though both are excellent in the rough stuff, overall, the 4Runner just isn’t as nice as the Land Cruiser in any way. That being said, the 4Runner is about half the price of the Land Cruiser. A brand new base 4Runner will start at $36,590 and tops out at $50,570. Still a cool $30k less than the base Land Cruiser. It may not be as nice, but the Land Cruiser is not twice as good as the 4Runner.