A Pedigreed Off Roader – The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser

Check out our Queer4Cars YouTube Channel for an upcoming video review of the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

What is the oldest continually built model in the Toyota line up?  One that is still in use today, as it was some seven decades ago? And Just as capable today as it was in the 1950s?  Admired and desired around the world is still a sought-after SUV, as it has been for years?

Meet the Toyota Land Cruiser, and for 2021, the Heritage Edition celebrates the end of production for this 200 series Land Cruiser.

2021 Land Cruiser or Land Cruiser Heritage Edition

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.
TRD displayed on the BBS forged alloy 18"x8" wheels
TRD is proudly shown on the BBS forged alloy 18″x8″ wheels

Toyota sent us the more expensive Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. While the base Land Cruiser is mechanically no different and will appeal to the more suburban buyer looking for a large SUV.

The Heritage Edition has bronze forged aluminum BBS® wheels with “TOYOTA” center caps and TRD stamped on them. A Yakima Mega warrior Roof Rack and while it is not set for 8-passengers, there is an optional $1,420 3-row seating.

We found the 5-person Heritage Edition had everything for our needs, plenty of interior passenger and cargo room, and the removeable Yakima roof rack which made the vehicle appear even more ready to go out orienteering. The darkened trim details really stand out given our tester’s Blizzard Peral paint, a white metallic color that reminded me of vanilla ice cream.

Big Not XL Big

Toyota Land Cruiser in the middle of other modern vehicles.
Toyota Land Cruiser towers over other modern vehicles.

The Land Cruiser has grown in size like most SUVs. The Heritage Edition can seat five or optioned for a 3-row eight passenger configuration. Without the 3rd row seats and the 2nd row folded up there is 82.8 cubic feet of cargo space. What this Land Cruiser is really designed for is to go in places where there are no roads. And to tow loads of up to 8100 pounds. 

With its 8.9-inches of ground clearance, the Land Cruiser can clear most obstacles, though, you almost need to make a running jump to hop up into it. This may not be the choice for families with mobility issues. Though the standard version does have running boards.

When you trek those trails, you will be incredibly happy to have Toyota’s advanced off-road technology. The 5.7 gasoline powered V-8 engine is smooth and capable providing power when needed to turn all four wheels, though you may not be aware that it is a V8 until you refuel the 24.6-gallon tank as it averaged just over 17 miles per gallon during a week of driving.

5.7 Liter V8 Power

Toyota V 8 Power
Toyota V 8 Power
The 5 pointb7 liter V8 engine in the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
The 5.7-liter V8 engine in the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser

If you are looking for the raw power to tow, then this DOHC V-8 engine has 381-horsepower and 401 lb.-ft. of torque, will do the job effortlessly. Designed to run on regular 87 octane gasoline, it has a thirty-two valve powerplant and Toyota’s direct electronic fuel injection. Designed to be as efficient has it can be for its size. There are no other engine options on the Land Cruiser.

Trailer Towing Capable

Land Cruiser is equipped with a standard towing package enabling it to tow up to 8100 pounds. That means a tow hitch mount hidden behind a cover, for those who are not towing anything. Underneath you will find an engine oil cooler, and the wiring and sub wiring harness built in for a trailer-brake controller.

Land Cruiser has standard towing equipment tucked away under the bump in the rear bumper
Land Cruiser has standard towing equipment tucked away under the bump in the rear bumper.

The Land Cruiser is built with a solid high-strength body-on-frame construction and sophisticated double-wishbone front and four-link coil-spring rear suspension. The Land Cruiser uses Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract trailer sway. Add in the fact that you have plenty of passenger room for the family and cargo room for their gear, means you can tow pretty much anything anywhere.

Land Cruiser Logos on the door sills
No question this is a Land Cruiser designed for off-road with plenty of rubber floor mats all around.

4X4 Prowess

While the Land Cruiser is fine on paved surfaces, where it excels is if there are no roads, or maybe rutted trails. The versatile Multi Terrain Select 4-wheel-Drive system that uses a TORSEN limited-slip locking center differential and 2-speed transfer case with selectable low range. All done at the push of a button, turn of a dial on the center console.

Modern technology allows for the differential to distribute the torque going to the front and rear wheels in a 40:60 split to provide more torque to the wheels with the best grip. Using the two-speed transfer case and Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) which relies on both brake and throttle to control wheel spin, and the Vehicle Stability Control provides directional control during cornering.

Underneath the Land Cruiser is plenty of skid plates and a full-size spare tire.
Underneath the Land Cruiser is plenty of skid plates and a full-size spare tire.

Land Cruiser has a setting for traversing extremely uneven terrain, which provides for minimized wheel slip, acting like a limited slip differential. With the transfer case shifted into low range, the Land Cruiser’s CRAWL Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the vehicle forward or reverse at one of five driver-selectable low-speed settings. When engaged in low range this allows the driver to focus on steering without also having to modulate the throttle or brake pedals. Think of it as off-road cruise control.  The Land Cruisers suspension articulation and long wheel travel makes it a great off roader, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and stabilizer bars give it highway chops as well.

Add Downhill Assist Control (DAC), to creep the vehicle down a hard incline or Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), to assist going up hill. Off-Road Turn Assist, tightens the turning radius by applying slight brake pressure to the inside rear wheel, creating a pivot effect, and this big SUV can navigate pretty much any terrain.

The onboard cameras provide Multi-Terrain Monitor with selectable front side or rear views providing 360-degree visibility and undercarriage projected path. Think you missed something, then use the video playback to take a look.

Exterior Design

Heritage Edition Toyota Land Cruiser features a Yakima Roof Rack
Yakima Roof Rack will hold what you can’t fit inside the Land Cruiser

Size and height of the Land Cruiser almost dictate its off-road capability. Making a statement with its tall and boxy design. Large passenger doors and a two-piece rear tailgate provide ease to get in and out of the vehicle.

Custom BBS TRD identified 18-inch alloy wheels hold the large Dunlop Tires
Custom BBS TRD identified 18-inch alloy wheels hold the large Dunlop Tires

Underneath you will find skid plates that protect the front suspension, radiator, fuel tank, and transfer case. The 18-inch by 8-inch aluminum alloy wheels sport P285/60R18 mud and snow-rated tires. And the Land Cruiser comes with a full-size spare tire as standard, which is very helpful when you have a flat off the grid. Add that it is networked into the tire pressure monitoring system, means you always know if it needs air.

Interior

Land Cruiser has large heated and ventilated seats with plenty of controls for comfort
Land Cruiser has large heated and ventilated seats with plenty of controls for comfort.

The Land Cruiser has a touch of luxury, just not too much to spoil you – That is why we have it’s cousin, the Lexus LX570. Which has more luxury, but less brawn for towing.

Land Cruiser has plenty of 2nd-row seat room
Land Cruiser has plenty of 2nd-row seat room.

Inside the Land Cruiser you will find yourself sitting on heated and ventilated perforated leather-trimmed seats and heated leather steering wheel. In the rear only the outboard 2nd row seats are heated. That center 2nd row seat has a fold down center console armrest. The rear seats have their own heating controls.

Toyota Land Cruiser 2nd row HVAC controls and 12 Volt outlet
2nd row heating controls provide for left and right temperature, and seat heating adjustment. Notice just a 12-volt outlet and no USB outlets for the rear passengers.

Rear seat passengers are not forgotten, as both 2nd and 3rd row are are leather trimmed and feature folding headrests. The 2nd row, slide forward and aft 4.1 inches with a 40/20/40 split seat that reclines. And for those models with a 3rd row there is a one-touch tumble mechanism that folds the 2nd row seats to allow for passengers to enter and exit the third row. With the middle and third rows folded, the Land Cruiser provides 82.8 cubic feet of cargo space.

Land Cruisers Dash is clean and easy to navigate
Land Cruisers Dash is clean and easy to navigate

The drivers instrument cluster has a familiar analog styling with high-tech touches. A center multi-information display shows plenty of detailed information you need while operating the vehicle. The Land Cruiser lacks USB ports throughout the cabin, with a single USB outlet in the front center console. Elsewhere you will find several 12Volt outlets in the vehicle and even a cargo located 120-volt inverted power outlet.

The center 9-inch touch screen provides access to the premium JBL audio system with 14-speakers, a subwoofer and amplifier. As well as the four-zone automatic climate controls provide interior comfort through 28 air vents located throughout the cabin of the vehicle. Yes, even the 2nd and 3rd row area, and a micro-dust and pollen filter and event an auxiliary ceramic element heater to provide heat quickly when needed.

Safety Abounds

Land Cruisers feature 10 airbags: driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System; driver and front passenger knee airbags; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, second-row outboard seat-mounted side airbags and three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags. Active headrests for the front seats and an advanced seatbelt system that engages when the brakes are applied suddenly or tire slippage is detected.

Land Cruiser instrument cluster Please Take a Break notification
The Please Take a Break notification on the driver’s instrument cluster.

Toyota Safety Sense comes standard. Using radar and a camera to detect a pedestrian or vehicle ahead. The TSS-P Pre-Collision System will apply the brakes when necessary, to automatically to avoid collisions in certain conditions. Lane Departure Alert lets you know when you are not staying in your lane. And from my experience lets you know to take a break, sensing you are tired. (FYI – I was just activating it for our video review.) Toss in Sway Warning System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. In addition to Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. All are standard on the 2021 Land Cruiser.

Using cellular technology, independent of the connected mobile devices in the vehicle, Toyota Safety Connect (the Land Cruiser comes with three years of service) provides automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, as well as emergency assistance (the SOS button), and GPS-enhanced Roadside Assistance.

Pricing, Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare

Historic Toyota Land Cruiser logo
Historic Toyota Land Cruiser logo

2021 Land Cruiser carries an MSRP of $85,515 The Heritage Edition $87,845, a three-row option of the Heritage Edition. This does not include the $1,365 delivery, handling, and destination fee. This vehicle features a 36-month/36K-mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. A 60-month/60K mile powertrain warranty, as well as a no mileage limit corrosion warranty. It is best to speak with a Toyota dealer for details on the warranty.

 The Land Cruiser also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25K miles, whichever comes first, and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years, unlimited mileage.

Overall Thoughts

Land Cruiser's cargo area is large and quite useful
Land Cruiser’s cargo area is large and quite useful

At first the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser came across as just another aging full-size SUV whose time had come and gone. Though after spending a week in this beast, it was extremely easy to understand why so many people adore and hold on to their Land Cruisers.  Not only is it ultra-capable, and comfortable, and more importantly its go-anywhere at any time attitude is what made me fond of the Land Cruiser. The lack of some features we have become addicted to are overshadowed by its overall personality, and in today’s world a car with a personality is rare.

Would I buy this vehicle? If I were in need of a family hauler that has great towing capability and wanted a long-term automotive relationship with a real four by four, You Betcha!

Are we saying goodbye to this iconic Toyota Land Cruiser? My guess is that we are not. We have already seen hints coming out of Japan of the 300 series Land Cruiser. And just as this beast has been around for decades, there will continue to be a market for a big full-sized towing machine like the Land Cruiser.

William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret
William West Hopper, VIP Tour Guide at the 2019 Washington DC Auto Show. Photo by Bonnie M. Moret

Words and Images by William West Hopper

Mr. Hopper is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association, having served as its President for three-years. He is also a member of the International Motor Press Association and has been creating content about cars and trucks throughout his career. He has served on numerous mobility enthusiast club boards and is sought after for his knowledge in the field.  You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.


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