2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Review: Easy To Love But It’s Really Thirsty

In This Review:
You will enjoy the new Land Cruiser for its remarkable flexibility. It's good off-road and on the highway with plenty of space for a growing family. What you won't like is the starting MSRP and fuel economy.
Exterior Styling
80
Interior Layout
87
Driving Dynamics
90
Safety & Tech Features
85
Everyday Functionality
90
Reader Rating1 Vote
69
Pros
Comfortable
Off-Road Capability
Cons
Small 3rd Row
Dismal Fuel Economy
86
Did You Know
The 1951 BJ was Toyota’s attempt at a military vehicle. It was not chosen but was the first vehicle to reach the sixth station on Mt. Fuji. The BJ became the Land Cruiser in 1954 and was one of Toyota’s first exports to the U.S.

If you want to get away from civilization, the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser is a vehicle that should be on your shopping list. And if you like to take family vacations, this SUV comes with a rugged body-on-frame construction (like a pickup), full-time four-wheel drive, off-road software, and a powerful V8 that make it an ideal weekend getaway vehicle 

The Land Cruiser is a capable people mover, comfortable for a busy family, and even luxurious enough for getting dressed up and taking out to a fancy dinner. So how does it drive? We put it through the paces this week to find out.

Toyota Land Cruiser: What’s New For 2020?

The Toyota Land Cruiser remains unchanged except for a new Heritage Edition trim level. It comes equipped with a Yakima Megawarrior roof rack to haul cargo and gear for those weekend outings.

Features & Options: Road Ready

The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser 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 a towing hitch 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. 

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
The rear seat entertainment system includes a DVD player and two 11.6-inch monitors. RCA jacks and a separate HDMI input for individual playback are also included. The package is ideal for taking long trips with the kids.

Features & Options: Safety & Tech

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. 

On the tech side, the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser has wireless smartphone charging; a USB port; 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.

How Much Is The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser?

Total MSRP including destination for our test vehicle: $89,129. By comparison, the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser starts at $85,315.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
2020 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Interior Highlights: Easy To Drive

The interior is a strong point for this rugged but luxurious SUV. The leather seats are heated and cooled, offer plenty of comfort for the daily commute; and they won’t leave you feeling tired after a long road trip with the family. We appreciated the vehicle’s tall, commanding view and the highly-adjustable driver’s seat and tilt wheel. These make it easy for even the tallest (or shortest) driver in the family to find the perfect position. 

Interior Highlights: Tons of Room

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 for anything you need to haul. The split tailgate design is handy for loading groceries, but it can make accessing some types of cargo difficult if you are transporting bigger items. With the middle and third rows folded, the Land Cruiser provides 82.8 cubic feet of space.

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 adults or even growing teenagers.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
With the middle and third rows folded, the Land Cruiser provides 82.8 cubic feet of space.

What Engine Does The Land Cruiser Have?

The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser comes with a powerful V8 engine, producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft. of torque. The 5.7-liter plant creates 90 percent of its peak torque at 2,200 rpm, helping the SUV achieve a tow rating of 8,100 lbs. when properly equipped. It comes mated with an eight-speed automatic that sends power to all four wheels for all-weather and all-terrain capability. 

If you are going off-pavement, it comes with Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (a decoupling stabilizer bar to minimize body lean); Crawl Control (a low-speed, off-road cruise control that, when engaged, the driver can focus on the steering without having to modulate the throttle or brakes.); Multi-Terrain Select (off-road settings); a locking center differential; hill start assist; skid plates; and tow hooks.

What Is The Gas Mileage of The Land Cruiser?

EPA ratings actually declined one mpg from last year and come in at 13/17 city/highway and 14 combined. That’s a stark contrast to the Prius.

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
The Torsen limited-slip and locking center differential distributes torque 40:60 front-to-rear.

How Does The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Drive?

We tested the Land Cruiser in the mountains west of Denver where the altitude can be a major factor, but this SUV did not have an issue breathing the rarified air. The ample torque in the V8 will haul people, cargo, and a trailer up a mountain pass to go camping in the back country on the weekends. Yet it’s comfortable enough to be your daily commuter into the city. If you don’t need a fuel-efficient SUV, the Land Cruiser will take you anywhere you want to go. 

We pushed the big Land Cruiser hard in the tight mountain corners and body roll is surprisingly minimal, thanks to Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System. This SUV is stable for being so big, and the AWD system gave us a feeling of confidence this week as we drove through an early fall snow storm. The big SUV never lost its grip on the icy roads. 

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser
The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser rides on a front double-wishbone and rear four-link coil-spring suspension. 

Conclusion: Some Good, Some Bad

The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser is a good choice for growing families with active lifestyles. It will take you deep into the wilderness, yet it can be used for daily driving and taking the kids to soccer games. The downside is the high MSRP and fuel economy. You won’t pass too many gas stations on your longer trips. 

Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 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

2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Gallery

Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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