The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is the newest version of the flagship of the entire Toyota Motors Corporation line. It took a year off, not offering a 2012 model, but the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is back in full swing, earning some high marks from both experts and owners alike. This is the fifth year of the Land Cruiser using the 200 Series platform, shared by its close cousin the Lexus LX 570.
The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser comes with quite a few changes. As it turns out, taking a year off to sort things out really does help sometimes. The addition of some high-tech features, coupled with the old reliable 5.7L V8 engine, makes the 2013 Land Cruiser worth taking a look at for any consumer in the market for a large luxury SUV.
"For 2013, Toyota raises the bar once again by adding an abundance of high-tech gadgetry to its flagship SUV. Despite the technological upgrade, the Toyota Land Cruiser has not forgotten its roots. Seating for eight, an 8,200-pound tow rating and unrivaled off-road capability make the Toyota Land Cruiser a capable family mover." (Kelley Blue Book) Overall, the power of the 5.7L V8 engine stands out among most expert reviewers. "The powertrain results in strong off-the-line punch and good passing power, helped by the transmission's quick kick-downs and smooth shifts." (Consumer Guide)
Despite the praise for the strength and road prowess as a family vehicle, not all features of the 2013 Land Cruiser are as admirable. "Toyota decided to stick with an outdated split-bench design in which the two halves flip up and stow at the cargo bay's sides. The design isn't just awkward; it actually eats up quite a bit of cargo space." (Kelley Blue Book) The lack of cargo space is a bit of a turn-off for large-SUV buyers, especially in a vehicle that creeps up on the $80K mark.
"To rational car shoppers, the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser offers limited appeal. Many less expensive crossovers work better for daily use, such as the Buick Enclave or Infiniti JX35. If you need towing power, there's Toyota's own Sequoia, or the Land Cruiser's twin, the Lexus LX 570, which isn't that much more expensive now." (Edmunds) "The Land Cruiser rides comfortably and is impressive off-road. But some cheaper alternatives offer even more utility." (Consumer Reports)
Owners of the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser praise its power and roadworthiness. "I love it, I love it, I love it! It was well worth the wait. The 2013 performs like cheetah on the plains of Africa and a mountain goat in the hills of New Zealand. Inside and out, without a doubt...the best I have ever had." (Owner review taken from Yahoo! Autos)
"The ride is superb, very dependable, towing capacity is amazing, the inside is very roomy. Is not very good in gas mileage but not bad compared to other big SUVs." (Owner review taken from Kelley Blue Book) Among the many features it offers, its off-road ability seems to be the biggest highlight among current owners. Of course, how much of a market there is for a luxury SUV to take out on the muddy, mountain trails remains to be seen.
"The real treat for those who like to go places that other vehicles won't take them is the Land Cruiser's ability to navigate rough terrain, ascend hills and provide great suspension." (Owner review taken from Kelley Blue Book) Much of this ability comes from the full-time four-wheel-drive and a powerful six-speed automatic transmission. Among the many positives listed by current owners, the most common are the interior comfort, the navigation system, and the low-end power. Negatives listed were the standard large SUV complaints - extravagant price and incredibly low fuel efficiency.
The eight-passenger Land Cruiser is the heavy hitter of the Toyota lineup. As such, it only comes in one trim level - loaded. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to every situation and this one is no exception. The advantage is that you'll receive all the bells and whistles at no extra charge; the disadvantage is that the base charge comes at an MSRP of $78,555.
On the other hand, if you don't mind the hefty price tag, they are some very nice bells and whistles. Standard features on the Land Cruiser include a roof rack, sunroof, keyless entry, a heated 40/20/40-split second row seat, leather upholstery, rearview camera, Bluetooth, voice-activated electronics control, a 14-speaker JBL sound system with CD player and satellite radio, four-zone automatic climate control, and Lexus Safety Connect emergency communications with navigation system.
The interior is rather drab on color and style. Don't expect long wood-grain panels or bright, shiny colors. What wood grain there is sits atop the center console and doesn't provide a great deal of elegance. What you can expect, however, is a lot of comfort, high-quality materials, and functionality. Both front rows of seating remain spacious but the third-row seats are only suited to children or smaller passengers. The touchscreen navigation system is one of the best you'll find in this class, providing only a slight learning curve which can be handled by even the most novice of users.
The dashboard features a half-digital, half-standard display. A double-eye speedometer/rpm gauge combo encases a small digital display showing tire pressure and gear position. Small fuel and temperature gauges sit atop the digital readout to round out the pilot display. The center console features two cup holders which can be closed and hidden when not in use. The holders are also adjustable to fit most cup sizes.
If there is a weak point to the Land Cruiser's interior it is the relatively small amount of cargo capacity. With the rear seats in place, cargo capacity is a meager 16 cubic feet. The third-row seats do not fold down, nor are they removable.
Instead, they simply move out of the way by sliding to the side of the cabin where they only limit further cargo space. Maximum capacity is 82 cubic feet. This is on the small side for this class SUV.
The brightest spot for the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is its performance. While owners and reviewers alike praise its off-road performance, it is on the road where the true value comes through. The 5.7L V8 engine can push 381 horsepower and 401 ft.-lbs. of torque at just a moment's notice while still providing a cloud-like ride for passengers. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System adjusts the stabilizer bars for improved roll control and body stability through turns.
Toyota also equips the 2013 Land Cruiser with the Multi-Terrain Select system which allows for computer adjustments to the stability and traction control systems to provide a smoother ride based on the driving surface. Just pick your surface through the touchscreen interface and the ride levels out with ease. The Off-Road Assist improves the turning capabilities by automatically applying the brakes on the inside wheels during a turn. Both of these features make the Land Cruiser one of the best-handling large SUVs on the road.
The locking center differential also comes standard and helps to bring towing capacity to a maximum 8,500 lbs. All of this performance does come at the expense of fuel economy. Don't expect to get much more than 15 mpg on average. It is rated at 13/18 mpg (city/highway).
Safety & Reliability
Performance isn't the only area where the Land Cruiser exhibits an ample amount of technology. Standard safety features include stability and traction control, front- and second-row side airbags, front knee airbags, and the Lexus Safety Connect system, which includes on-demand roadside assistance, the stolen vehicle locator, and automatic collision notification.
Front tow hooks, integrated turn signal mirrors, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with brake assist, and daytime running lights are all additional safety features you'll get with the 2013 Land Cruiser. J.D. Power and Associates gave it a four out of five rating in reliability testing, but the IIHS and NHTSA had not yet crash tested the 2013 model as of this writing.