The Toyota Land Cruiser is equipped with a 2.8-liter, diesel engine that produces 201 horsepower, so you might expect it to be rather peppy. To reach 62 miles per hour from a stop takes 11.2 seconds in the manual and 9.9 seconds in the automatic.
Even while the automatic is quicker off the line than the similar Ssangyong Rexton, the base model D200 Land Rover Defender is just as quick and has more low-rev oomph, making the Defender feel more effortless. The Skoda Kodiaq and the Land Rover Discovery Sport D200 are just two examples of affordable seven-seat big SUVs that are also easier to get up to motorway speeds.
The Land Cruiser is content to cruise at 70 mph, but the automatic transmission shifts too frequently when you need more power. The manual transmission takes some getting used to, but it’s accurate and the clutch is easy to adjust.
There is a great deal of rumble and shake when driving a Land Cruiser. The four-cylinder engine is mostly responsible for it, and it takes some serious revving to get this massive, heavy vehicle moving (the six-cylinder in the Defender is as smooth as melted butter in comparison). At higher speeds, wind noise from the massive door mirrors can become a problem, but tyre noise is effectively muffled.
As compared to more modern, agile large SUVs, the Land Cruiser’s handling is noticeably dated. Compared to modern SUVs like the BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery Sport, or Skoda Kodiaq, the Land Cruiser feels like it was built in the 1980s.
Even in the top-tier Invincible trim, where active anti-roll bars are meant to keep it more level around bends, the steering is slow and lacks sensation, and there is a lot of body lean. The tyres beg for mercy when you try to go faster than a leisurely speed down a winding country road, so extra grip would be welcome.
While being built in the traditional body-on-frame style, the Land Cruiser’s suspension is quite up-to-date and offers a bit more tolerance than in the past. It’s not as smooth as a Kodiaq or long-wheelbase 110 Defender at slow and fast speeds, but it’s more forgiving than a Rexton.
Range-topping Adjustable rear air suspension is standard on Invincible models and keeps the vehicle level when towing or carrying a heavy load. The Defender’s full air suspension system, which allows the entire vehicle to be raised and lowered, is far more adaptable. The Land Cruiser can only wade through water 700 millimetres deep, but the Defender can go 900 millimetres.
All models still come standard with permanent all-wheel drive and a choice between low and high range gear ratios, making it possible to access terrain inaccessible to other SUVs. All Invincible models come standard with a rear differential lock, improving traction in challenging situations. While the Land Cruiser’s towing capability of 3000 kilogrammes is far higher than that of most SUVs, the Defender’s towing capacity of 3500 kilogrammes is significantly higher still.