Big and Burly: 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser Review

If you need space, a comfortable ride, and superior off-road ability, the 2019 Land Cruiser 4WD V8 may be the right SUV for you. The Land Cruiser I drove had an MSRP of $84,765 and with rear seat entertainment system, the delivery, processing and handling fee, the price came to $88,280. Since there is only one trim option, decisions are few and the price will be very close to the MSRP.

The 2019 model is a big, three-row SUV that seats eight. Leather interiors add some style to this heavy workhorse. At 5,815-pounds, it is certainly no lightweight. Surprisingly, despite this weight, its V8 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission provides a pretty smooth ride.

The Land Cruiser has 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque and is rated to tow aplenty at 8,100 pounds.

Driving the Land Cruiser in the city delivers a strong sense of invincibility. The interior is comfortable and roomy both for driver and front passenger as well as rear seat passengers. The third row however is cramped, and thus only smaller passengers will want to sit there for longer rides. If you are driving smaller children – who may be the only ones comfortable there – and if the need arises, you won’t be able to reach them.

The infotainment screen is sufficient at nine inches and is conveniently touchscreen, but images are not as crisp and clear as other vehicles of this class. Its 14-speaker JBL audio system is good but does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration and this may be a deal breaker for some buyers. The optional rear seat entertainment system has two large, 11.6-inch display screens, DVD player with HDMI input and headphones that will certainly keep passengers of the young variety busy on long car trips.

Heated and ventilated front seats add to the ride’s comfort. The steering wheel is partially leather wrapped with the remainder a wood veneer oddly placed in the top third of the wheel that I found a bit annoying.

Looks can sometimes be deceiving. So if serious schlepping is one of your staple activities, despite this SUV’s gargantuan girth, major cargo carrying will need to take place when passengers have already been dropped off and the seats folded. With all three seating rows in place, there is only 16.1 cubic feet of cargo space – just about enough for five bags of groceries.

There is 43 cubic feet of space with the third row of seating stowed. And these seats do not fold down forward in a standard fashion, but fold and compress in an unusual manner off to each side thus reducing available cargo space. With the second row of seating also folded, cargo space jumps to a respectable 82 cubic inches.

Paying homage to its roots, the rear hatch door has a split door opening, neither of which are automatic. The bottom ledge is terrific if tailgating or perhaps hunting are regular activities and an open flat workspace is desired. Closing the top of the hatch – since it must be done manually – is not easy for those who are vertically challenged.

Where the Land Cruise shines with its off road capabilities. It has full-time 4WD and there are several terrain modes from which to choose as well as five crawl speeds. So if dependable off-roading is a purchaser’s primary use, then automotive happiness will prevail.

If off-roading isn’t your thing and you are seeking classy city slicker to haul your take from Costco runs and shopping mall meccas, you will want to look elsewhere. The EPA estimates the Land Cruiser gets 13-mpg city and 18-mpg on the highway, which is precisely the mileage I obtained. The plus side of that less than optimal mileage is that the Land Cruiser uses regular gasoline. I also found the steering to be fairly heavy handed and overall it was fairly cumbersome to drive in the clogged arteries of the city.

The 2019 Land Cruiser’s warranty is 36-months or 36,000 miles, shorter than the competition, with roadside assistance for 24 months and the power train covered for 60 months.

The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is at the same time big and burly for the city while being an off-road superstar. Unless off-raiding is your main vehicular objective, there are other luxury SUVs that provide more luxury for the hefty price tag.

Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel stories for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com


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