If off-road accessibility is a must, the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is a vehicle you need to check out. This large family SUV comes with a rugged body-on-frame construction (like a pickup), full-time four-wheel drive, off-road software, and a powerful V8 engine for towing. The Land Cruiser is a capable people mover, rugged enough to get you away from civilization on the weekends, but luxurious enough for taking your best girl out for a fancy dinner.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is unchanged for 2019. Last year marked the SUV’s 60thanniversary in the U.S. market; later this summer, the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition will be available in limited numbers.
Features & Options: Safety & Tech Buffet
The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser ($84,765) comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights, high beams, and wipers (with windshield de-icer); power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, roof rails, running boards, and an integrated towing hitch receiver and wiring harness.
Inside, you get a sunroof, four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated power-adjustable front seats, driver-seat memory functions, 40/20/40-split second-row seats (they fold, recline and slide), and third-row jump seats. A heated, power-adjustable steering wheel and a cooler box under the front center armrest both make for nice extras.
Safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, front and rear parking sensors, and a surround-view parking camera system. Tech features include wireless smartphone charging, a USB port, a nine-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth, navigation, voice controls, and Toyota’s Entune smartphone app suite. Music lovers will appreciate the 14-speaker JBL sound system with a CD player and satellite radio.
A rear seat entertainment system ($2,220) was included in this Land Cruiser tester. Total MSRP including destination: 88,675. By comparison, the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser starts at $85,015.
Interior Highlights: Comfortable For The Long Haul
The leather front seats are a strong point for the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser. They are heated and cooled, offering plenty of comfort for the daily commute; and they won’t leave you feeling tired after a long road trip either. The controls and switches are well-placed and easy to understand, a bonus when it comes to luxury vehicles. The Land Cruiser offers a tall, commanding view and the highly-adjustable driver’s seat and tilt wheel make it easy for everyone in the family to find the perfect position.
The second row slides, reclines, and sits on a flat floor offering plenty of legroom even for taller passengers. The second-row seats easily fold up and slide forward to reveal a large cargo area if you need it. The split tailgate design is handy for loading groceries, but it can make accessing deep cargo difficult if you are loading bigger items.
The third row offers two jump seats that fold up giving way to an expanded cargo area. Third row seats are okay for smaller kids but they don’t offer much legroom for taller teenagers.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine, producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft. of torque. The 5.7-liter V8 creates 90 percent of its peak torque at 2,200 rpm, helping the SUV to achieve a tow rating of 8,100 lbs. when properly equipped. It’s mated with an eight-speed automatic that sends power to all four wheels.
Off-road goodies include Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (a decoupling stabilizer bar to minimize body lean); Crawl Control (a low-speed, off-road cruise control – when engaged, the driver can focus on the steering without having to modulate the throttle or brake pedals.); Multi-Terrain Select (off-road vehicle settings); a locking center differential, hill start assist, skid plates, and tow hooks.
EPA ratings come in at a dismal 13/18 city/highway and 15 combined mpg.
Driving Dynamics: Powerful But Thirsty
Like the Lexus LX 570 we recently drove, the big 5.7-liter V8 will deliver power in spades, but the downside is very poor fuel economy. We tested the big SUV in the mountains of Colorado where it takes extra “oomph” to get a vehicle like this moving. The ample torque in the V8 is ideal for hauling people and cargo up a mountain pass to go camping in the back country, or for hauling a trailer full of dirt bikes.
But you won’t be passing many gas stations on a long trip.
We pushed the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser hard in the tight mountain corners and body roll is surprisingly minimal, thanks to the Land Cruiser’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. This big SUV is stable, and the AWD system gave us a feeling of confidence this week as we drove through a heavy, wet spring snowfall in the mountains.
Conclusion: And Your Dog Too!
The 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is ideal for families looking to get off the pavement. You can use it for daily driving but also for recreation given its towing capacity. You’ll have plenty of room for people, cargo, and the family dog too.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy