2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Performance
This performance review was written when the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser was new.
Impressive technology allows the 2008 Land Cruiser to offer a powerful and capable on- and off-road driving experience that positions it at the top of its class. BusinessWeek reports that the Land Cruiser "joins quite a few other models in the SUV field by supplementing its heavy-duty hardware with some electronic gizmos that increase stability during some of the most precarious off-road maneuvers."
Acceleration and Power
The 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine that makes 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 pound-feet of torque at 3,600 rpm -- which, according to Car and Driver, offers a highway ride that's "silky smooth and quiet." BusinessWeek says the engine "suits the Land Cruiser well; there's plenty of torque for easygoing part-throttle acceleration, rapid passing, and yet the throttle is linear enough so that it's easy to modulate when creeping ahead just off idle." Consumer Guide agrees, noting its "strong off-the-line punch and good passing power."
The 2008 Land Cruiser's Environmental Protection Agency-estimated fuel economy gets some negative reviews. With a fuel efficiency of 13 miles per gallon in the city and 18 mpg on the highway, the Detroit News comments, "Compared to the 1976 Jeep Wagoneer, that's not bad ... But let's face it, the buyer of the Land Cruiser is looking for brawn, not economy."
Standard on the Land Cruiser is a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission - which most critics agree is well mated to its V8 engine. While Consumer Guide says it has "quick kickdowns and smooth shifts," BusinessWeek reports, "Even on our high-altitude driving route, we found plenty of pep, and the transmission shifted smoothly and confidently."
Handling and Braking
The '08 Land Cruiser's engine speed-sensing power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering gets good reviews. According to Consumer Guide, "The variable-ratio steering has good feel and 'quickens' the farther you get off-center, and that, combined with a fairly tight turning radius, results in good maneuverability for such a large vehicle." BusinessWeek adds that the system "also feels very stout, with none of the shudder or noise that many of the newer car-based SUV's make."
Reviews were also positive about the Land Cruiser's on- and off-road suspension system -- which consists of an independent double-wishbone front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, as well as a four-link rear suspension with coil springs, stabilizer bar, and semi-floating axle. AutoWeek says, "The ride on-road, where 99 percent of U.S.-bound Cruisers will spend 99 percent of their time, feels as close to perfection as can be expected from such a big body-on-frame beast, barely gliding over the pavement." BusinessWeek adds, "When off-roading, the Land Cruiser's firm ride can be jarring, yet the suspension has very impressive articulation when needed," and although it's "hardly absorbent ... the benefit is more precise handling, especially at high speed."
Also equipped on the Land Cruiser are power-assisted four-piston front/two-piston rear ventilated disc brakes, as well as a hydraulic brake booster with a multi-terrain anti-lock brake system (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist.
For off-road purposes, the full-time four-wheel-drive Land Cruiser features Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which uses a hydraulic link between its front and rear anti-roll bars to effectively respond to rough terrain. Car and Driver comments, "So there's confident roll-motion control on the highway and compliant articulation off-road - precisely what you want in a luxury SUV that will spend most of its time hauling suburbanites to work and play."
In addition to KDSS, the 2008 Land Cruiser also comes equipped with Crawl Control. AutoWeek explains: "In low range, switching on Crawl Control will allow the vehicle to control the engine and brakes automatically, based on one of three speed settings. For the rockiest surfaces, the vehicle will maintain a speed less than 1 mph; the highest setting will keep pace at just more than 3 mph." Edmunds reports, "Crawl Control works so well that it took a big chunk of the fun out of tackling rocks and moguls during our time negotiating the barren summertime ski slopes (black diamond, no less) of the Big Sky Resort in Montana." BusinessWeek had a similar experience: "At one time, we were left to descend a steep slope of loose boulders, with the rain starting to fall. We wondered at one time if we'd gotten ourselves in too precarious of a situation, but as we took shallow breaths the Crawl Control system didn't flinch, operating the stability control system and anti-lock brakes - its sound oddly percussive - getting us securely through."
Also assisting in the '08 Land Cruiser's off-road abilities are Active Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control systems. Altogether, Consumer Guide says the Land Cruiser "certainly ranks among the best large SUVs with any kind of off-road prowess."
Equipped with front and rear frame-mounted towing hooks and an integrated tow hitch receiver, Toyota says that the 2008 Land Cruiser is capable of towing 8,500 pounds -- and most auto critics believe it. BusinessWeek comments, "With its burly powertrain, sturdy hardware, and good roadholding, we imagine the Land Cruiser will be well suited to towing as well."