Although the Toyota Land Cruiser name stretches back to the mid-1960s – more than five million have been sold since then – the true father of the modern model was born in 1985 with the ‘Light Duty Series’. It was the first Land Cruiser to combine the roles of serious off-roader with all-purpose family holdall. This is the fourth-gen Light Duty Series.

The way Toyota views the Land Cruiser can be summed up by the fact that most people who saw us driving the latest model for this test thought it was either a facelift or the outgoing model, or failed to flag up any difference at all. But while many concepts of the old car have been carried over, this latest Land Cruiser is, in fact, almost entirely new.

Still, its specification reads like an off-roader recipe someone might have cooked up 20 or 30 years ago: a thumping great four-cylinder diesel engine, a live rear axle and, would you believe it, the same body-on-frame thinking that’s existed since long before the car was invented.

Nor has Toyota gone down this path to give the Land Cruiser a competitive price – it’s not a cheap off-roader, priced along similar lines to the Land Rover Discovery. 

Toyota has given up on petrol power for its large 4x4s. This model only comes with the single 3.0-litre D4-D engine, and in three trim levels, LC3, LC4 and no, not LC5. That model has been replaced by one called 60th Anniversary, celebrating, well, you can probably guess. 

Of course, this car is not to be confused with the bigger 4.5-litre V8 diesel-powered Land Cruiser. Formerly the Land Cruiser Amazon, it’s now simply badged Land Cruiser V8 and is reviewed separately on this site.

Top 5 Large SUVs

  • Range Rover Sport
    The new Sport, from a keen driver’s point of view, might just be the best SUV in the world at the moment

    Range Rover Sport

    1
  • The Porsche Cayenne is available as a hybrid for the first time

    Porsche Cayenne

    2
  • BMW X5
    The X5 uses in effect the same platform as the previous generation, but it's been substantially revised

    BMW X5

    3
  • Land Rover Discovery
    The Discovery really is the defining go-anywhere super-utility vehicle

    Land Rover Discovery

    4
  • The Mk2 model, also based on the Porsche Cayenne, is lighter, roomier and more economical than the first

    Volkswagen Touareg

    5

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