The Toyota Land Cruiser might be expensive, but many enthusiasts regard it as one of the best luxury SUVs. Its interior is undeniably roomy and luxurious, plus it can hold its own in off-road adventures. But despite the high praise, Toyota will discontinue the Land Cruiser stateside after the 2021 model year.
The announcement sparked a run on Land Cruiser purchases, Car and Driver reported. It saw a 221 percent sales increase in January, the full-size SUV’s most successful month of the decade. So, comparing the three latest models, which one should you buy?
The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser boasts the highest rating
U.S. News gives the 2019 Land Cruiser the best overall rating, mostly due to its impressive performance. It has the same engine as the current model, a V8 producing 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive.
Despite its size, the 2019 Land Cruiser exhibits surprisingly little body roll, U.S. News reports. The brakes are strong enough to bring this large SUV to a halt as needed, and the ride is comfortable. And the suspension retains that smoothness even in an off-road setting.
For off-roading, drivers can use the standard multi-terrain management system, complete with a camera monitor for the Land Cruiser’s underside. A lockable limited-slip differential and crawl control are also standard on every 2019 model.
Fuel economy is one of the Land Cruiser’s only low points. It’s rated for only 13/18 mpg city/highway. Still, many drivers will appreciate that it doesn’t need premium gas, a rarity for a luxury SUV.
However, some critics also dislike the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser’s third-row seats, which aren’t as spacious as the other two rows. The seats also have to be folded from the side, which takes up valuable cargo space. But fortunately, the Land Cruiser can tow a decent amount of weight, up to 8,100 pounds.
What’s new for the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser?
The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser didn’t undergo any major changes, except for the addition of the Heritage Edition model. To celebrate the Land Cruiser’s 60th anniversary, it comes with unique badges, a new grille, and special BBS wheels. It’s available only as a two-row model, but it comes with a Yakima roof rack for added utility.
Even with a powertrain identical to the 2019 model, some critics think the 2020 Land Cruiser isn’t as pleasant to drive. This Land Cruiser has ungainly handling in turns, and the gas mileage is still terrible. However, it still performs excellently in an off-road setting and has all the same standard adventuring equipment as its predecessor.
Final improvements for the 2021 model
You can still get a Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition for this model year, now with an optional third row. Although the third row is still quite cramped, all three rows boast premium materials. Leather seats are standard, equipped with heating for the first two rows and ventilation for front-seat riders.
The Land Cruiser hasn’t received any major technology updates since 2016, leaving its infotainment system noticeably dated. Drivers will likely long for smartphone integration, but at least the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser has a ton of safety features.
Which Land Cruiser is the best buy?
All three Toyota Land Cruisers model years are considered reliable and are nearly identical in terms of features. However, the Heritage Edition is available only for the 2020 and 2021 model years, perhaps the biggest selling point for collectors. But if you’re after the best ride quality and a slightly lower price, a used 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser might be your favorite.