The new Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel looks mighty, feels mighty, and might just be the best investment you make this year. It’s reliable, safe as houses, and boasts excellent off-road ability.
It’s a go-anywhere vehicle in the classic tradition, with a pedigree that can’t be argued with. However, Toyota has added more levels of luxury so that it’s not quite the robust, utilitarian 4×4 in the Land Rover Defender mould. It’s even plush on occasion indoors, while some of its equipment looks like it’s been taken from a limousine.
Don’t be fooled, though; it might be a bit posh, but it’s the one we’d choose for a wild adventure in the outback.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel review.
On The Road
There is no denying that this is a heavy, tall car. As such, it will lean in bends and the steering isn’t as sharp as a saloon’s. That said, it shouldn’t take you too long to get used to the way it handles.
It’s comfortable, even if it does jerk on certain surfaces. Certainly, it can’t handle smooth roads as comfortably as some of its rivals. Off-road, however, it comes into its own. Despite being aimed at families who want a few creature comforts, the Land Cruiser is very capable on rougher terrain, benefiting as it does from the inclusion of a lockable centre differential and a low-ratio transmission.
Add to this the brand’s impeccable reputation for reliability, and here is a car you can trust to bring you out of the wilds in one piece.
In terms of its engines, there is just the one available, a brand spanking new 2.8-litre diesel unit. It has four cylinders, develops up to 174bhp and packs 450Nm of torque if you choose the automatic gearbox, and 420Nm if you stick with the 6-speed manual.
The engine never feels fazed by the sheer size of the car, and can haul it from a standstill to 62mph in 12.1 seconds. It also never feels sprightly, though, and with a max speed of 109mph, it’s not going to be a fast lane monster on the motorway.
And while the engine is new, it feels nowhere near as smooth as its six-cylinder rivals. Indeed, it feels as gruff as a hungover rocker. So despite its luxuries, the Land Cruiser is still an off-road grinder that’s not exactly well-spoken, if you know what we mean.
Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel Interior, Design & Build
The Land Cruiser is the kind of macho vehicle that has serious road presence. Its chunky roof rails and bugling wheel arches help it to dominate the showroom, but they also prove super useful once you’re off-road.
In short, there is nothing wrong with the way it looks. It’s a pure 4×4 thoroughbred.
Inside, the new Toyota Land Cruiser is a bit more hit and miss. There is nothing wrong with the number of standard goodies included, but its design is beginning to show its age.
That said, there are touches of luxury that more rugged rivals don’t have. Wood trim for the steering wheel, anyone? Then there is the elegant design of the dash, which has a real upmarket feel. Opt for the Invincible model, and you also get treated to leather highlights.
It’s the design that’s the issue here. The dashboard is cluttered and looks clumsily put together, and while the huge rotary selector is ideally sized for when you’re wearing gloves, the sheer number of buttons seems needless.
Is the Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel practical? To a tee. It’s a five-seater as standard, but an extra row of seats can be added if you wish. Without them, this is still a very practical choice, and you can pick from either three or five doors.
Why on earth would anyone want a three-door version of a car like this? It’s aimed primarily at business users and tradesmen who’ll need the Land Cruiser when heading into remote areas.
Getting comfortable will be no problem for the driver, there are plenty of storage spaces dotted around the place, while all but the entry-level models get all kinds of useful practical touches, including rain-sensing windscreen wipers, all-round parking sensors and hill start assist.
An electric folding mechanism means you can take the rear seats down at the push of a button, head and legroom is impressive and helped by the high roof, while the boot measures 620-litres.
Equipment & Safety Of The Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel
Standard kit is good, with all models getting cruise control, a reversing camera, 17” alloys and keyless entry. All models also get the brands Touch 2 multimedia system, as well as Bluetooth. If you want the likes of sat-nav, aluminium side steps, automatic headlights and wipers and 18” alloys, you’d need to upgrade to the Icon model, which costs £9,000 more.
The Invincible model adds a Blu-ray player, a wood and leather steering wheel and a sunroof, while the Invincible X trim rounds things off with lashings of chrome and 18” black alloys.
In terms of how safe the car is, the entry-level and mid-level models miss out on blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control, which come as part of the Safety Pack. However, all versions get electronic stability control and access to Toyota’s first-class, highly reputable service teams.
Costs Of The Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel
Prices for the new car start out from £35,649. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £465 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its day to day running costs, the four-pot 2.8-litre engine returns 39.2mpg economy at best, and emits 194g/km of the old CO2. Road tax is hefty, thanks to a surcharge of £310 on top of the standard £140 yearly bill. Altogether, you’ll be paying £450 a year to keep the Land Cruiser on the road.
Insurance is also expensive, but the reliability record of Toyota at least means maintenance and servicing costs will be easier to stomach.
Pros and Cons Of The Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel
Excellent On Rough Terrain
It’s like it was born in the wilds.
Buyers need spacious cabins in cars like this.
Toyota has an impeccable reputation for reliability, which is exactly what you need as you make your way off-road. As the phrase goes, Toyota has “got you.”
Tough To Drive
Make no mistake, the heavy Land Cruiser will test anyone who has never driven a car like this before. It will take some time to get used to it.
Expensive To Own
It’s not exactly cheap to buy, but its £450 yearly road tax bill could put some buyers off.v
Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel vs BMW X5 vs Skoda Kodiaq
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel review.
Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel vs BMW X5
The new BMW X5 has the edge over most of its rivals in that it can offer more driver involvement. It does, however, suffer from unimaginative styling.
BMW has managed to shave a bit of weight off the X5 for 2017, with the result being that it’s easier to drive. Its handling is crisp and it feels lithe.
On the other hand, the artificial feel of the steering is unnerving, while it can’t match the Toyota for off-road prowess.
In terms of the engines, the huge, brutish 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 5.0i unit can launch itself from rest to 62mph in 4.9 seconds. However, you’d have to be pretty apathetic to environmental concerns, as it’s far from the cleanest. It returns 29.4mpg and spits 226g/km of CO2 into the O-zone.
If you do care about the environment, the 40e plug-in hybrid model is a viable option that does 0-62 in 6.8 seconds, and can run on just electric power for up to 19 miles.
If the economy and the environment are priorities but you prefer diesel power, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit is available in three guises, and each one has lots of pulling power. The 3.0d 255bhp should suffice for most, and can do 0-62 in 6.8 seconds while returning 47.9mpg economy.
If you need more power, the 375bhp 5.0d variant gallops from a standstill to 62mph in 5.3 seconds and returns 42.8mpg.
Inside, the hefty BMW X5 is robust and luxurious. Its interior is solidly built and will stand the test of time, while the dashboard is visually striking. A 10” high-def screen dominates, while the touch-sensitive pad is a neat addition.
In terms of how practical the car is, the X5 is a five-seater in the showroom but the third row of seats can be added. Doing so turns it into a people carrier, although you can’t specify extra seats with the hybrid of the M model.
Interior space is good up front and in the rear, and there is oodles of headroom. Storage spaces include numerous cup holders, big door bins and cavernous seat-back pockets.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 650-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can extend this to 2,010-litres.
Toyota – £35,649
BMW – £48,140 – £69,220
Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel vs Skoda Kodiaq
The new Skoda Kodiaq is a handsome five-seater that comes with the option of two extra seats. It’s practical and spacious, and boasts a decent driving experience.
It’s a huge car, but this doesn’t mean it’s woeful to drive. On the contrary, its accurate steering makes it easy to place the car, while body roll is kept under control well. Despite the improved driving experience, the Kodiaq is still very comfortable.
Driving Mode Select is optional, but it’s well worth adding if you want to change the settings to suit your mood or the conditions. That said, keener drivers will probably say they don’t notice too much of a difference.
Four-wheel drive is also optical, but again it’s not essential.
In terms of the engines, the turbocharged 1.4-litre 123bhp petrol engine is your cheapest option. It can’t be paired up with four-wheel drive, but the 148bhp variant can. Doing so can see you shift the Kodiaq from rest to 62mph in an impressively hushed 9.5 seconds.
VW Group has added their trusty 2.0-litre diesel engines to the Skoda Kodiaq. As always, they’re efficient and punchy, with the 148bhp variant doing 0-62 in 9.8 seconds, a time that should suit most buyers. It’s super quiet too, though if you want more power, a 187bhp variant does 0-62 in 8.3 seconds.
In the absence of a GreenLine model, the 148bhp diesel engine is the cheapest to run, and can return 56.6mpg at best. It also emits just 131g/km of CO2. Add four-wheel drive, however, and its fuel economy drops to less than 50mpg.
The smallest petrol engine, meanwhile, is good for 53.3mpg.
Inside, the Skoda Kodiaq is distinguished by excellent ergonomics and build quality. There is nothing radical about the design, but it’s so well put together that families will love it. Its levels of tech are decent too, with the entry-level model getting a small 6.5” display that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Insulation is excellent too, while we were impressed with its ride quality. Opt for the larger 19” alloys, and it still feels cushioned.
Is the Skoda Kodiaq practical? Well, for one thing it’s sure as heck spacious. It’s so spacious, your kids might get lost in here. Meanwhile, we had to measure its 720-litre boot in hectares.
Of course, that’s with the five-seater model (whose boot can extend to 2,005-litres). Add the £1,000 extra seats, and your boot will shrink to a still impressive 630-litres. As a five-seater, there is room for all, but adults will struggle in the third row of seats. Kids will be just fine, though.
Skoda – £22,190 – £36,330
Verdict Of Our 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel Review
Excellent off-road, formidable reputation for reliability and a spacious cabin. Need we say more? OSV are big fans of the Land Cruiser, an SUV that plays to its strengths.
Sure, it’s not the most elegant or composed, but the new Toyota Land Cruiser Diesel is a heavyweight hitter that’s got your back.