Toyota Land Cruiser
The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is only offered in one 'fully loaded' model, leaving little room for options. All Land Cruisers include a 381-horsepower, 5.7L V8 engine, along with a 6-speed automatic transmission and full-time 4-wheel drive.
Towing and off-roading are primary missions of the Land Cruiser--as well as suburban family duty--and it shows in its powertrain; the engine produces 90 percent of its peak torque below 2,200 rpm, while there's a special water-cooled oil cooler for heavy towing tasks. The Land Cruiser can tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped. The engine is also designed to run fine on regular gasoline, while fifth and sixth gear for the transmission are deep overdrive ratios aimed at improving highway fuel economy.
With body-on-frame construction combined with a 3-stage crash structure, the Land Cruiser combines the stout durability of a truck as well as modern occupant protection. As well, the high-mount double-wishbone suspension of the Land Cruiser--with a hollow stabilizer bar and coil springs--is configured for tough off-roading while optimizing control on the road; in back, the multi-link setup with a lateral link helps cornering over choppy surfaces. To help further, there's a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), that allows more wheel articulation during off-roading yet helps keep cornering flat on the road.
Meanwhile, the Land Cruiser's dual-range transfer case, with a Torsen limited-slip locking center differential, helps the Land Cruiser distribute 60 percent of engine power to the rear wheels during ordinary driving, yet can send more power to whichever wheels could use it the best. Crawl Control and an Off-Road Turn Assist and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) help maintain stability and steadiness over precarious off-road surfaces. Also, variable-ratio power steering aims to help maneuverability off-road, and a multi-mode, so-called Multi-terrain Select system can dial in enough wheel slip to suit the type of terrain--with more slip for sand or mud, for instance.
Overall, considering the Land Cruiser's off-road capability, it's surprisingly nimble on the road. While the Land Cruiser isn't easy to park or maneuver in tight spaces, it's as much at home on the Interstate as it is on an off-road trail, with good high-speed passing ability and good stability on the highway.
Interior comfort is superb, especially in one of the front two rows of the Land Cruiser. Its two bucket seats up front are generously sized, while the three-across seat in the second road is adult-sized. At the far back, there's more room for up to three--although access is tighter. The second row adjusts fore and aft to optimize space.
The Land Cruiser comes with keyless entry, push-button start, a power moonroof, cruise control, a universal garage-door opener, steering-wheel audio controls, power front seats, a navigation system, a DVD rear entertainment system, a cooled storage box and heated front and rear seats. A JBL premium sound system is also standard and comes equipped with Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and audio streaming, HD Radio, Sirius satellite radio, USB/iPod connectivity and 13 speakers with a subwoofer. Options are limited to a few dealer-installed accessories, such as remote start.
New this year is Entune, a system that uses the navigation system's 8-inch touch screen to interface with entertainment and information systems, through specialized apps; the Land Cruiser includes a 3-year subscription.