Toyota Land Cruiser Performance
Reviewers praise the 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser's off-road abilities, but its highway handling gets mixed reviews. Kelley Blue Book says that its "off-road capabilities are legendary" and Motor Trend calls the Land Cruiser "[s]mooth, quiet, and well-mannered."
However, Kelley Blue Book wouldn't mind a more car-like ride: "The Land Cruiser's road manners are decidedly truck-like...the ride, though dampened a great deal, is still stiff. The Land Cruiser's high center of gravity also makes it less desirable to toss into turns, and the 18-inch tires do make a fair amount of noise."
Acceleration and Power
When the redesigned Land Cruiser appeared in 1998, it was the first Toyota of any kind with a V8 engine. This 4.7-liter 265 horsepower engine, though not particularly powerful by large SUV standards, is found to be adequate by reviewers. "Despite having among the lowest horsepower ratings in this class, Land Cruiser and [the Lexus] LX 470 furnish sufficient power from any speed," says Consumer Guide. The Edmunds reviewer writes that "[m]aybe I've just driven too many VTEC Hondas recently, but I was amazed that this 4.7-liter V8 can create 230 horsepower...while remaining as genteel as British royalty."
The engine's low-end torque impresses Kelley Blue Book: "With so much torque available, the Land Cruiser has no problem pulling away from a dead stop or towing heavy loads such as a boat or horse trailer." Still, the reviewer adds that the Land Cruiser's towing capacity may not be enough for all users. "[T]hose who require their SUVs to tow more than 6,500 pounds may prefer something with more muscle."
Fuel economy, at an EPA-rated 12 city/15 highway, is judged below average. "You will very likely have to visit your friendly gas station more often with the Toyota Land Cruiser than with the average luxury SUV," says NewCars.com. However, The Auto Channel points out that, "[d]espite the increased size, weight, and power, the new Land Cruiser has a smaller appetite for fuel than the old model."
The Land Cruiser's 5-speed automatic transmission has been upgraded from four speeds to five for 2007, with overdrive. It is generally well reviewed, though Edmunds says, "While the engine is pure delight, the Land Cruiser's tranny could use a minor tweak. Up- and downshifting was flawless, but for highway cruising the overdrive gear didn't seem 'over' enough."
Handling and Braking
The 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser's handling is good, but it's still a large SUV, not a car. The reviewer for Kelley Blue Book says, "The Land Cruiser's road manners are decidedly truck-like...the ride, though dampened a great deal, is still stiff. The Land Cruiser's high center of gravity also makes it less desirable to toss into turns, and the 18-inch tires do make a fair amount of noise." Consumer Guide adds that "fast turns induce body lean and slight tipsy feel." Edmunds feels that "Jeep's all-new Grand Cherokee, with its smaller size and weight, feels a bit more car-like, but in the Cruiser's class of full-sized sport-utility vehicles, nothing else compares." Kelley Blue Book calls the Land Cruiser's power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering "heavy." Auto Mall USA complains that "the steering could use more road feel."
The 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser comes standard with an independent double-wishbone front suspension and four-link rear suspension with an adaptive variable suspension available as an option. Consumer Guide feels that the "[b]est combination of comfort and control comes with Land Cruiser's base suspension." The Auto Channel finds the standard suspension excellent for off-road driving: "The new, much more rigid chassis and its independent front suspension still have all of the off- road ability that has made the Land Cruiser the Toyota of choice in less-developed parts of the world. Steering and suspension are much more precise in their action."
However, About.com found that the variable suspension, which allows the driver to adjust the stiffness of the ride and the amount of ground clearance, was worth the extra cost "for the luxury feel...For day-to-day driving on good roads, Land Cruiser can hunker down closer to the ground and improve the smoothness of your ride. A great feature."
The Land Cruiser comes standard with power-assisted ventilated disc brakes with hydraulic brake booster and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) capable of sensing the slope and roughness of a trail and adjusting accordingly. "We're happy to say Toyota's sophisticated four-channel ABS attempts to address some of the problems we've had off-road with other ABS designs," says Motor Trend.
The 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser, with its high ground clearance, skid plates (which protect the vehicle's vulnerable underside), and optional variable suspension, is a strong choice for off-road driving. "Big, rugged and with room for eight," says the reviewer for Kelley Blue Book, "the Land Cruiser is a full-purpose SUV with the tested ability to tackle tough off-road situations." Auto Mall USA says that "[o]nly Land Rovers and Jeeps can compete in terms of off-road capability."
The 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser comes in only one trim. A single options package, which costs thousands of dollars, adds the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with Adjustable Height Control (AHC) and automatic load leveling. It can be adjusted for stiffness, with four settings from "Comfort" to "Sport" mode.