Don’t blame Toyota for making the Land Cruiser this way. The UK is a tiny market for such a car, so the fact that it doesn’t feel at home here should not be a surprise. Toyota has merely stuck to the formula that has replaced the Land Rover as the off-roader of choice from Africa to Australia.
But we must view the Land Cruiser from where we are and the truth is that unless you’re a farmer or a die-hard off-roader, others you can buy for the same money make more sense.
The on-road driving characteristic is best described as lazy – there’s not a jot of sporting intent. And it’s four-cylinder engine just doesn’t cut it against more sophisticated six-cylinder rivals from Land Rover, BMW and Audi, or even the four-cylinder offering found in the latest Volvo XC90.
But while we can understand the lack of on-road dynamism due to the Land Cruiser’s clear off-road bias, what we find it more difficult to fathom is the lack of interior style, quality and usability – especially from the driver’s point of view. Yes, it’s quite practical, but that side opening rear door can become a real pain. We’d suggest you avoid the Active model, too, unless you really don’t want any luxury features.
Compared with the likes of the Discovery, the Land Cruiser is off the pace in so many different areas that it is difficult to recommend it here. Were you reading this test in sub-Saharan Africa, the verdict would doubtless be rather different. So don’t mistake us: the Land Cruiser is not a bad car, merely a good one for somewhere else.