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Toyota Land Cruiser Estate engines, drive and performance

2009 - 2023 (change model)
Performance rating: 3.8 out of 53.8

Written by Tom Wiltshire Published: 24 September 2021 Updated: 2 April 2024

Rating: 3.8/5

This might seem a rather high score considering the Toyota Land Cruiser uses a large, inefficient and rather old-fashioned diesel – but it’s a rugged engine that suits the Land Cruiser’s purpose outstandingly well. That’s good, considering it’s the only option.

The 2020 facelift boosted the power output of the 2.8-litre, four-cylinder unit from 178hp up to 204hp, which had the effect of reducing the Land Cruiser’s 0-62mph sprint by 3.0 seconds. It can now boast a time of 9.9 seconds, which is more than fast enough for a vehicle of this type. More usefully, it’s not short of low-down torque, ideal for off-roading.

This facelift also involved the dropping of entry-level Utility models and their manual gearbox, which means that all remaining options come as standard with a six-speed torque converter automatic.

Toyota Land Cruiser cornering
Toyota Land Cruiser cornering

The resulting pairing feels muscular and surprisingly smooth, and though it sounds rather agricultural at low revs the vibration is well-isolated from the cabin. The gearbox, too, is well-suited – it shifts smoothly and top gear is long enough to allow for relaxed cruising.

Rating: 3.4/5

The Land Cruiser’s separate chassis doesn’t do an awful lot for its comfort levels – this is a car more designed for adventuring in the jungle than dealing with urban potholes. It’s more comfortable than a SsangYong Rexton, or an equivalent pickup truck, but a Land Rover Defender or Discovery offers a far more cossetting ride.

It does however offer soft, comfortable seats with plenty of space, and refinement is better than expected.

Rating: 3.4/5

With a tall, heavy body and slow steering the Land Cruiser is rather ponderous when it comes to changing direction. It rolls rather a lot and on models with smaller wheels you can rather feel it moving about on its tyres.

Take corners at a relaxed pace and the Land Cruiser won’t embarrass itself, but this isn’t a car given over to fun on the road.

Toyota Land Cruiser off-road
Toyota Land Cruiser off-road

Once you leave tarmac, though, you’ll find it handles itself with aplomb. This is one of the most capable 4x4s on sale. It comes with full-time four-wheel drive and a low-range gearbox, while there’s height-adjustable suspension for times when you need even more ground clearance.

The off-road settings are numerous and include a rear differential lock and automatic crawl control. They’re accessed through a panel of buttons underneath the climate controls – rather less sophisticated than the Terrain Response system found in Land Rover products, but in its own way just as easy to use.