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FOR and AGAINST: 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser on Everyman Driver

With its luxury appointments and on-road manners, the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser might seem to have nothing in common with the rugged, no-nonsense Land Cruisers Toyota built for decades starting in the 1950s. But today’s Land Cruiser is nearly unassailable once the pavement ends, maintaining the original version’s go-anywhere reputation.

From Edmunds: That reputation is in good hands, thanks to its stout body-on-frame construction (like a pickup truck), full-time four-wheel drive, physics-defying off-road software and a robust V8 engine. All of that go-anywhere confidence is backed up by Toyota’s equally legendary reliability, not only in the United States but in nearly every country around the world.

But if the only off-roading you’re likely to do is accidentally backing over a flower bed, the Land Cruiser doesn’t make much sense. The EPA estimates it gets just 15 mpg in combined city/highway driving, which is dismal even by large SUV standards. The Land Cruiser also drives like a big SUV, with slow, heavy steering making it a chore to maneuver in the city and through parking lots.

And while the front passengers will enjoy a fair bit of luxury and decent ergonomics, the rear passengers will find the accommodations in rival full-size SUVs more welcoming. The Land Cruiser’s second-row seat bottoms are too low, and not even the massive amount of seatback recline can make the situation better. Things are even worse in the third row. These jump seats are even less comfortable, with barely enough room for children and no easy way to reach them. The seats also don’t fold into the floor — they fold up against the side, taking up valuable cargo capacity while looking like an afterthought.

Overall, we think a lot of shoppers will be happier with one of the Land Cruiser’s similarly priced rivals, such as Land Rover’s Range Rover or Discovery or Lincoln’s Navigator. But if adventurously cruising this fine land with an abundance of luxury and creature comforts is your main priority, the 2019 Land Cruiser won’t disappoint.

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