By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 6.6
While many luxury SUVs are morphing into soft-riding behemoths with sharply raked rooflines and limited off-road ability, the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser SUV remains true to its 60-year-old roots. The Land Cruiser’s body-on-frame construction, powerful V8 engine and 8,500-pound tow rating make it one of the more capable full-size SUVs, and its single, well-equipped model formula helps it undercut comparably equipped luxury models like the Mercedes-Benz GLS and Land Rover Range Rover. In fact, so admired is the Land Cruiser that many consider it a luxury SUV on par with Lexus and Infiniti. Unlike the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator, the 2017 Land Cruiser comes with a sophisticated Multi-Terrain 4-wheel-drive setup that includes a low-range transfer case for serious rock crawling.
Toyota’s 2017 Land Cruiser SUV is unique among full-size SUVs, with a luxurious interior, rugged capability and a near-legendary reputation for quality, reliability and resale. The Land Cruiser joins a very short list of luxury SUVs that can actually overcome tough off-road obstacles.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser sees no major changes this year.
Peek beneath the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser luxurious persona and you’ll discover a remarkably capable SUV. Toyota has wisely shunned the move to a lighter, unit-body design, choosing...
... to retain the proven body-on-frame construction required for punishing off-road excursions. The Land Cruiser’s fully independent suspension delivers impressive articulation off-road while delivering a firm but stable ride over pavement. At 5,700 pounds, the 2017 Land Cruiser is no lightweight, which is why its 8,500-pound tow rating should come as no surprise. Of course, we know most Land Cruisers will never see much more than a snow-covered path to the ski lodge, which is why Toyota equips its big SUV with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) employing hydraulics to adjust the roll bar’s stiffness. The setup helps prevent excessive lean in the curves while keeping all four wheels planted when off-roading.
5.7-LITER V8 ENGINE
A big SUV requires a big engine, and the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser’s 5.7-liter V8 is one of the best in the industry. With 318 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, the Land Cruiser’s V8 isn’t exactly fuel-efficient, but it is a willing powerplant perfectly suited to meet the most demanding requests.
KINETIC DRIVING SUSPENSION SYSTEM
By controlling the stiffness of the Land Cruiser’s anti-sway bars, the adaptive Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System permits maximum wheel articulation when off-roading and well-mannered cornering over twisting paved roads.
The 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser offers seating for eight passengers, with acceptable cargo space behind the third row. From behind the wheel, you'll enjoy plenty of power, a comfortable ride, exquisite seats and quiet running, thanks to the Land Cruiser's luxury levels of sound-deadening. However, the Land Cruiser's not the best cargo-hauler, thanks to 3rd-row seats that fold up against the sides of the cargo area, reducing how much you can carry inside. At least the interior is awash in luxury touches, like soft leather and Toyota's Entune audio system.
Toyota adds a bit of flair to the 2017 Land Cruiser’s exterior, with a dynamic front end, power bulge hood, prominent taillights and rear bumper plus handsome 18-inch wheels. The exterior reflects the Land Cruiser's purpose in life, that is, to be ruggedly dependable in any weather, over any terrain, while offering the ultimate in refined luxury. The look emphasizes the capabilities of this luxury SUV with ample ground clearance and short front and rear overhangs for the rough stuff, while adding enough chrome and flourishes to get the front spot at a high-end restaurant's valet parking.
The standard-equipment list for the 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser is surprisingly long, as there's no optional equipment. Standard, full-time 4-wheel drive with a low-range, traction and stability control -- both optimized for off-road capability -- plus the multi-terrain select system. Then there's the luxury, like a 4-zone climate-control system, standard leather upholstery, and an adaptive cruise-control system that employs radar to detect the speed of and distance to the vehicle ahead of it, alleviating part of the stress associated with extended road trips. The Safety Sense-P system, Qi wireless phone charging and Siri Eyes-Free are also included.
None. Seriously, we weren't kidding about everything being standard on the Land Cruiser. Your options are limited to the color of paint on the outside and the tone of leather inside.
The only engine available for Toyota’s 2017 Land Cruiser is a 5.7-liter V8 with 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. Toyota says that 90 percent of that torque is available at just 2,200 rpm, meaning you don't have to rev this engine to get moving. It's matched to a new 8-speed automatic transmission and standard 4-wheel drive. When you put it all together, you have a drivetrain that's worthy of a luxury car...literally, as the exact same drivetrain is in the Lexus version of the Land Cruiser, the LX 570. Not only does it deal with the Land Cruiser's weight with aplomb, but it can also tow 8,500 pounds. The Land Cruiser SUV is one of the most capable vehicles on the planet.
381 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
401 lb-ft of torque @ 3,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Bring plenty of money to your Toyota dealership. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2017 Land Cruiser starts just shy of $85,500 including the $1,095 destination charge. That's not cheap, but then again, just about everything is standard equipment. The exception might be paint color, as Toyota charges about $400 for a couple of its different color options. When you consider that the Land Cruiser competes against SUVs like the Mercedes-Benz GLS550, Land Rover Range Rover HSE and Infiniti QX80 -- all of which have extensive lists of options driving up the price -- it's not bad. Still, check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the 2017 Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser is expected to hold its resale value better than its Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover rivals, and far better than the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator.