The Toyota Land Cruiser, a fixture of the brand’s vehicle lineup for more than six decades, remains the epitome of brand heritage. The appropriately named Land Cruiser Heritage Edition enters 2021 with new additions while continuing to symbolize this unique brand and model story.
For 2021, the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition offers a new third-row seating option after only being offered as a two-row option for the 2020 model year. The third-row option is the same that is included on the standard 200 Series Land Cruiser model and features leather-trim upholstery (perforated on Heritage Edition), multi-stage heating, folding headrests, and abrasion-resistant seatback material, plus coverage from the three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags.
Two additional exterior colors, Classic Silver Metallic and Magnetic Gray Metallic, join Midnight Black Metallic and Blizzard Pearl on the palette for Heritage Edition. All are complemented with a black-accented grille and bronze-colored BBS 18 x 8.0-inch forged aluminum wheels featuring a “TOYOTA” center cap. A vintage-style Land Cruiser exterior badge evokes the vehicle’s long, accomplished history in an understated way.
This special edition luxury SUV comes dressed elegantly yet is prepared, as all Land Cruisers have always been, to drive through the rough stuff to reach a destination. All the premium and functional interior appointments from the 2020 Heritage Edition and standard model carry over for 2021. The long roster includes ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel with power tilt and telescoping and memory, power moonroof, four-zone automatic climate control with 28 cabin air vents and Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start.
A standard 9-inch touchscreen multimedia system features standard Premium JBL® Audio with Integrated Navigation, 14 JBL speakers, split-screen capability, advanced voice recognition, Siri® Eyes Free mode, SiriusXM® All-Access 3-month trial, Bluetooth® connectivity and music streaming, and Qi wireless phone charging with compatible phones. Split screen capability allows navigation and audio screens to be displayed simultaneously. With advanced voice recognition, the driver can speak simple commands to control the unit.
Heritage, Defined and Refined
For nearly 65 years, one model name has been a constant in Toyota’s American dealerships: Land Cruiser. The full-capability, premium-luxury 2021 Land Cruiser may seem worlds away from its bare-bones, mountain-climbing ancestor, but the two are linked by the common thread of all-road adventure that stretches across continents.
Think of the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition as a “factory custom.” The first clue is in the deleted running boards and chrome lower body side moldings of the standard model. That’s a gentle nod to the original FJ-40 Land Cruiser, which eliminated the running boards seen on some other rough-and-tumble SUVs of the period. As uncomplicated and rugged as it was, the FJ-40 featured a fully closed body to make all-season adventures more comfortable.
To complement the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition’s purpose-built overlanding focus, darkened headlight housings, fog lights with darkened chrome surrounds and side mirrors with darkened chrome details underscore the vehicle’s sophisticated presence. The Heritage Edition also comes equipped with a Yakima Megawarrior roof rack to haul additional cargo.
Highlighting the Land Cruiser’s renown for blending luxury with capability, the Heritage Edition is exclusively outfitted with black leather-trimmed upholstery. The bronze wheel color carries inside for the contrast stitching used throughout the cabin, including the steering wheel, door trim, center stack, console, and seats. Finally, the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition features all-weather floor mats and cargo liner, so it’s ready to get out, get dirty and have fun – in luxurious comfort, of course.
4WD V8 Powerhouse
The Toyota Land Cruiser remains a benchmark for combining no-compromise capability with coddling luxury. Its robust yet refined 381-horsepower 5.7-liter DOHC V8 engine produces 401 lb.-ft. of torque. Ninety percent of peak torque is available at a low 2,200 rpm, helping to make Land Cruiser an outstanding towing vehicle.
The standard Trailer Towing Package equips Land Cruiser to pull a trailer up to 8,100 pounds. The hardware includes the tow hitch mount, an engine oil cooler, connector, and sub-wiring harness for a trailer-brake controller. Trailer Sway Control uses Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract trailer sway for a more relaxed towing experience.
The 8-speed Electronically Controlled Automatic Transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) teams with a versatile full-time 4WD system, which uses a TORSEN limited-slip locking center differential and a 2-speed transfer case with selectable low-range. The transmission allows manual control when the need calls for it, such as while descending steep inclines.
The TORSEN center differential distributes torque 40:60 front-to-rear. Should wheel slippage occur, the differential can direct more torque to the wheels with the best grip. Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) employs both brake and throttle intervention to help control wheel spin. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) helps maintain directional control during cornering.
The two-speed transfer case with low-range doesn’t work alone to handle steep inclines and difficult trails. The Multi-Terrain Select system allows the driver to match wheel slip control to the surface and driving conditions. In loose terrain, such as mud and sand, Multi-Terrain Select allows more-than-normal wheel slip to help the Land Cruiser keep moving without digging itself in. A “Mogul” setting is effective for traversing extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges; wheel slip is minimized, with the system acting more like a limited slip differential.
Advanced Off-Road Tech
With the transfer case shifted into low range, the Land Cruiser’s CRAWL Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the vehicle forward or reverse at one of five driver-selectable low-speed settings. When engaged in low range, CRAWL Control allows the driver to focus on steering without also having to modulate the throttle or brake pedals.
Two more systems provide additional assistance on trails. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) can augment the low-range ratio’s low-speed descending ability by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed while the driver navigates the steering controls. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent nerve-wracking roll-back when stopping and then starting again on steep inclines.
On narrow trails, the Land Cruiser can even make itself “smaller” with Off-Road Turn Assist, which tightens the turning radius by applying slight brake pressure to the inside rear wheel, creating a pivot effect.
Land Cruiser’s off-road capability is rooted in high-strength body-on-frame construction and sophisticated double-wishbone front and four-link coil-spring rear suspension. A key to the Land Cruiser’s off-pavement competence is suspension articulation, facilitated by long wheel travel. It’s aided by the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which hydraulically adjusts the lean resistance provided by the stabilizer bars.
Sway resistance is reduced for off-road driving to help minimize any tendency for wheel lift. On pavement, where stabilizer bar function is beneficial for agility and safe control, KDSS enables the bars’ ability to work conventionally to help reduce body lean by as much as 50 percent.
Skid plates help to protect the Land Cruiser’s front suspension, radiator, fuel tank, and transfer case. The driver can even see potential hazards using the Multi-Terrain Monitor with selectable front side or rear views. The system provides near 360-degree visibility and front undercarriage projected path video playback.
Big P285/60R18 mud and snow-rated tires on 18 x 8.0-inch aluminum alloy wheels help give the Land Cruiser a solid footing in a wide variety of road conditions. A full-size spare tire comes standard, and it, too, is networked in the direct individual tire pressure monitor system.
Taking the “Rough” Out of Roughing It
Here’s a fun Land Cruiser heritage fact: “luxury” did not enter the picture until the 80-Series model introduced for 1991, with amenities that included leather-trimmed seats, air conditioning, and available upgraded audio. Comfort, convenience, and outright luxury snowballed from there.
Today, the standard Land Cruiser model and the Heritage Edition come as “mono-spec” models. The only options are a third-row seat from the standard model in the Heritage Edition, and a rear seat entertainment system on the standard model (not available on Heritage Edition).
Semi-aniline perforated leather trim is available in Black or Terra (brown) on the standard Land Cruiser, while Heritage Edition features black perforated leather-trimmed seating. Both interior colors are accented by Deep Wood trim. The four-zone automatic climate control system uses a seven-level blower control to circulate the heated or cooled air via 28 air vents located throughout the cabin, all sent through a micro-dust and pollen filter. In cold weather, the auxiliary Positive Temperature Coefficient heater warms the Land Cruiser’s cabin quickly using an electrically heated ceramic element.
The middle row seats feature multi-stage heating and abrasion-resistant seatback material. For comfort and convenience, the 40/20/40 split seat reclines, and a one-touch tumble mechanism makes it easy for passengers to enter and exit the third row. To maximize room for either passengers or cargo, the middle row seats also slide forward and aft 4.1 inches. Even the 50/50 split fold-down third row seats, standard on Land Cruiser and available on the Heritage Edition, are leather trimmed and feature folding headrests and abrasion-resistant seatback materials. With the middle and third rows folded, the Land Cruiser provides 82.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
Bright Optitron instrument gauges give a high-tech luxury feel to the driver’s area, while a Multi-Information Display shows gear selection, odometer, trip meter, fuel consumption, individual tire pressures and cruising range. The Multi-Information Display also monitors Parking Assist, steering wheel angle, Multi-Terrain Select (including CRAWL Control), Dynamic Cruise Control adjustment information, TSS-P pre-collision warning alarm adjustment, and Lane Departure Alert and Sway Warning. The center console integrates a cooler box (deleted on Heritage Edition), USB port, and two cup holders.
All Land Cruiser models come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). Using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to detect a preceding pedestrian or vehicle, TSS-P Pre-Collision System is designed to automatically apply braking if necessary, to help mitigate or avoid collisions in certain conditions. The system includes Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Automatic High Beams. In addition to TSS-P, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also standard.
Toyota Safety Connect (with three years of trial service) uses onboard cellular technology, independent of the driver’s phone, to provide services including Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and GPS-enhanced Roadside Assistance.
In addition, an array of safety technologies that make up the STAR Safety System come standard. The Land Cruiser’s multi-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS) automatically selects the optimal ABS profile to provide the most suitable brake force for on- and off-road driving surfaces. Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) balances braking forces between the front and rear brakes, and Brake Assist (BA) provides auxiliary force to assist the driver during emergency braking.
Land Cruiser features 10 airbags: driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System; driver and front passenger knee airbags; driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, second-row outboard seat-mounted side airbags and three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags.
Active headrests on the driver and front passenger seats are designed to move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions to help reduce the distance between the occupant’s head and the headrest. The advanced seatbelt system is designed to retract the front seatbelts when the brakes are suddenly applied or when the VSC system detects tire slippage.
Land Cruiser Heritage
The Land Cruiser traces its origins to the 1951 BJ, Toyota’s bid to produce a small 4WD military vehicle. It was not chosen but went on to become the first motor vehicle to reach the sixth station on the trail to the top of Mt. Fuji. The BJ became the Land Cruiser in 1954, and an updated model, the 20-Series, was one of the first Toyota exports to the United States in 1958. The next Land Cruiser iteration, the 40-Series (a.k.a. FJ-40), arrived in 1960 and became an all-terrain icon; today it’s a valuable collector vehicle. A larger station wagon model followed in the late-1960s, putting the Land Cruiser on a path toward family adventures.
By 1991, the 80-Series Land Cruiser was well on its way to becoming a premium model. The 100-Series codified that direction in the late-1990s with a V8 engine and full array of advanced chassis systems and luxury amenities. The current Land Cruiser, the 200-Series, is the most advanced and luxurious in the model’s history.
Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare
The 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Local Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty. The Land Cruiser also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years, unlimited mileage.