You might wonder, if Toyota’s Sequoia is a full size SUV, why it needs a Land Cruiser as well. After all, they look very similar and they’re the same size. A friend of mine has a brand new Sequoia, so when I got the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser to drive for a week we compared rides.
The are both family friendly, full sized SUV’s, but the Land Cruiser is a step up, and so much of a step that it can’t just be a fancy features package for the Sequoia. No, it’s a class all its own and it’s designed with the mountaineer in mind. This is the vehicle you want if you live in the mountains. It’ll put up with the climbing, with hauling your ski gear, with off-roading in the backwoods, and it’ll do everything with class and luxury.
2016 Toyota Land Cruiser: timeless icon
In Toyota‘s own words: “The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser has a loyalty unmatched by any other SUV. The product of over 60 years of global adventure, it’s a sophisticated blend of off-road prowess, on-road comfort and unparalleled refinement. It also offers seating for up to eight passengers. After all, adventures are best shared.”
What We Loved
4-zone automatic climate control
Rear-seat DVD entertainment system
Center console cooler box
Seating for 8
81.7 cu. ft. of cargo capacity
What You Need to Know
381 hp @ 5600 rpm
8-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission
Front and rear frame-mounted tow hooks
Starts at $83,825
Let’s talk about the Land Cruiser’s interior first, shall we?
The moment my kids saw the inside of the Land Cruiser they were in awe. My oldest declared it “the perfect family travel car,” thanks to the roomy leather seats, big movie screens on the backs of the head rests, wireless headsets and remote, and back seat controls for everything from climate to heated seats to entertainment. And he was right. I had to take a little trip to a neighboring town to pick up over 40 gallons of milk for our local co-op and we had a very comfortable trip without a single complaint from the kids.
If anything, the Land Cruiser has too many features. Even after driving it for a week there were lights and letters and symbols on the dashboard that I didn’t understand. There were buttons I never used. I felt some days like I would need to be driving through the Rockies to fully appreciate all the Land Cruiser has to offer! All-Wheel-Drive all the time isn’t really necessary on flat Texas roads and I certainly didn’t need any of the mountain climbing settings or the 4×4 low.
Cool amenity: refrigerated console
One feature I particularly liked was the refrigerated center console. On a trip, this would be so handy for keeping sandwich fixings, drinks, yogurts, and other goodies cool!
Another great detail? The split tailgate. The top 3/4 of the tailgate opens upward, and the last 1/4 folds down like a truck’s tailgate. This makes it really easy to load things into the cargo space, and provides a nice place to sit and relax after a hike. Built into the drop-down gate are two tool box storage areas. One of them comes equipped with a full tool kit. My husband was super impressed by the selection and quality. Personally, I’d put a first aid kit on the other side!
Adjustable seats and cargo area
The third row seat has a 50/50 split and the seats fold up and to the sides instead of forward while the 40/20/40 split second row folds forward. I feel like this makes for just as much space as forward folding/flipping, but it does make for an awkward shaped cargo area. When we needed to pick up milk I had a hard time figuring out how to arrange several large coolers and make the best use of the space. But, we did it!
The second row seats are adjustable. You can slide them all the way back for extra legroom, or forward to allow the 3rd row passengers some extra space. Even all the way forward you have plenty of legroom. Oh, and that third row? The seat backs are adjustable so you can sit straight up, or recline a bit for added comfort. Toyota really did think of everything!
Powerful, beautiful beast
The exterior of the Toyota Land Cruiser is timeless, both rugged and beautiful. You feel like you could take it to a 5 star resort and fit right in at dinner time, then go on safari the next morning and no one would think twice. It is durable and engineered for the ultimate adventure. The Blue Onyx Pearl is a fantastic and luxurious color.
So why the Land Cruiser?
This particular luxury SUV is meant to compare to a Land Rover, and the price is quite comparable. But, the Land Cruiser seats 8, while the Land Rover only seats 5. The tow capacity is also greater in the Land Cruiser. I could go on and on about the fantastic features of this vehicle, but the truth is, you’ll need to live in a mountainous region to appreciate them all! It’s come a long way since its beginnings in 1957, but it’s remained true to its adventurous spirit.
Note: Toyota loaned me the 2016 Land Cruiser for the purposes of this review. Opinions expressed are my own.