Good news, there’s a newly facelifted Toyota model coming for 2016! It starts at over $80,000, comes standard with a V8 that gets 13 miles per gallon in the city, and weighs just shy of three tons. And really, this is great, because when we’re talking Toyotas of this size, we can only be talking about the Land Cruiser, the one vehicle on the planet you’d want if you needed to get your family across, say, the Yukon Territory in January, or maybe the Sahara Desert in a pinch.
Since its humble beginnings over 60 years ago as the Japanese answer to the Jeep CJ-Series and the Land Rover, the Land Cruiser has gone on to earn its reputation as one of the world’s most un-killable vehicles the world has ever known, surviving for decades in some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet, and ranking up there with Toyota’s Hilux pickup as the two trucks most likely to survive the apocalypse.
But in most markets (Asia and Australia still have the 70 Series LC that dates to the 1980s), the LC has grown up, following the path of Land Rover’s luxury model, the Range Rover, instead of the mass-market Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender. In its current guise, the 200 Series, the LC may not have the same brand caché as its British rival, but it can back up its price tag and Lexus-like levels of luxury with a bulletproof dependability that Range Rovers can only dream of. For 2016, Toyota says that it’s created “A Luxurious Bridge Between Civilization and Adventure,” and improved on the “ultimate.” Believe it or not, the company isn’t stretching much here.
Luckily, Toyota spared the updated Land Cruiser from its current catfish-grille treatment that the Rav4, Camry, and Mirai all suffer from. Instead, the 200-Series’s styling has been simplified and given an even more muscular look, making it arguably the most handsome vehicle in the company’s U.S. lineup. To sweeten the deal, Toyota is also offering two new colors, and new alloy wheels to compliment the new look. Under the revised sheet metal, the truck retains the current base 5.7 liter V8, good for 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a new eight-speed transmission, the LC is capable of towing up to 8,500 pounds.
But horsepower and torque aside, the Land Cruiser is built for rough terrain, and Toyota has ensured that the updated truck is even better at conquering it. With full-time all-wheel drive, an active TORSEN limited-slip locking differential, Active Traction control, Vehicle Stability Control, hill-start assist, downhill assist, crawl control (for the harshest terrain), and Multi-terrain Select, which the company says “allows more-than-normal wheel slip in loose terrain, such as mud and sand, to help the Land Cruiser keep moving without digging itself in.”
Inside, passengers are treated to luxury at a level that the company usually reserves for its Lexus products. From the press release:
“The Land Cruiser comes fully equipped, requiring no options or packages to add premium luxury. The very long list of standard amenities includes perforated leather trim, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping with memory. The list keeps going: Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start; anti-theft security system with engine immobilizer; power moonroof; auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors; HomeLink®universal garage-door/gate opening system, and much more.”
And by much more, Toyota means a four zone climate control system, updated infotainment system, cooler, JBL audio system, 11.6-inch rear seat monitors, and a wireless phone charger.
It might be a tall order to ask over $80,000 for a Toyota (2015 models start at $80,155), but with pickup trucks breaking the $70,000 mark, the 2016 Land Cruiser begins to look like a bargain. It’s the SUV ideal: a tough go-anywhere vehicle that can take a beating while carrying its passengers in comfort. Simply put, the Land Cruiser is the SUV that embarrasses all the others on the block. For 2016, it may have just upped the ante even higher.
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