2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition Review — On- and Off-Road Test Drive

Toyota Land Cruiser is an iconic offroader
that’s been around for more than 60 years. During that time, a
lot of its competition has morphed into crossovers,
but the Land Cruiser remains a dependable
offroad vehicle that’s ready for adventure. We’re here in the
mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, to
see what makes it so special. But before we get
into that, remember to use Edmunds next time you’re
ready to buy a car, truck, or SUV, and click Subscribe
for more videos like this one. In 1960, the FJ-40 got the
ball rolling in North America. This two-door Jeep-like vehicle
with a removable hard top introduced us all to Toyota’s
bulletproof reliability and offroad knowhow. The FJ-55 came in 1967. This is the FJ that
was designed to be a four-door wagon
from the outset, and its design was
heavily influenced by the requirements
of the North American and Australian markets. The FJ-60 was
rolled out in 1980, and was a further refined
model with a better interior, more power, and more gears. The term “sports utility”
was just getting popular, and this Land
Cruiser was designed to have even broader appeal. The 1990s was the
era of the FJ-80. And by this time, the
alphanumeric codes were Greek– or I should say, geek– to most people. I’m in an 80-series
Land Cruiser. They have several older
cruisers to choose from, and I picked the
80 series because I used to own one of these. And I put about 100,000 miles
on it, and I regret selling it. It was a great truck. And the thing about it
is, when it came out, it was kind of a
notorious mall wagon. And that was because it came
out right when the SUV craze was at its peak and
everybody was buying the biggest SUVs they could. So a lot of people bought
these and just drove them around town. But the thing is, this is one
of the best ones for offroad use because it’s solid
axle front and rear. It’s got triple
lockers available. And coil spring suspension,
not leaf spring suspension, so it’s easy to
mod, easy to lift. It’s really capable,
even if people did think of it as a mall wagon. Now that I’ve driven
this a little bit, I got to have another one. The FJ-100 was first
sold here in 1998 and it broke a
lot of new ground. It was the first Land
Cruiser with a V8. All previous ones
had a straight six. It was the first with
independent front suspension instead of a solid front
axle, and the first with rack and pinion steering instead
of recirculating ball. All of this made it
better for street use, but it still had the
offroad chops to outdo what was left of its
full-size SUV competition. And that brings us
to the 200 series, which has been with us
for over a dozen years. This is a truck we
know well, and Toyota is celebrating over 60 years
of Land Cruiser success with this Heritage Edition. There’s a lot of
changes on this truck, but the one I like the
most is this badge here. It’s the same one you’ll see
on the oldest FJs on the road or in any museum. It’s really cool. Other changes include
BDS-forged alloy wheels, no running boards,
and this roof rack. Other changes are
merely cosmetic. The mirrors are blacked out. So are the backgrounds
for the headlights. And there’s a darker
chrome on the grill and these fog light surrounds. But then there’s
changes inside, too. Inside, you’ll find special
perforated black leather seats with contrast stitching
that matches the wheels. The cooler box has been deleted
from the center console, and you may wonder
why they did that. It’s because they got
rid of the third row seat to make more room
for gear, such as a cooler or a plug-in refrigerator. One thing I really like
about the Land Cruiser, and a lot of people do,
is this tailgate setup. You can get stuff out
without anything falling out, or you can open it
for easier access, or sit here and tie your boots. And with the third row deleted,
it’s just a ton of space. I’m a big fan of the 5.7-liter
V8 that powers the Land Cruiser. It’s got a lot of
power, a lot of torque. The 8-speed automatic
that comes with it just gives it all
the right moves when it comes to shifting. And there’s just no problem. It could tow 8,100 pounds, too,
so this is no slouch at all. It is, though, a
little bit thirsty– 14 miles per gallon combined. 13 city, 17 highway. You’re going to be pouring
some gas into this thing. This particular
generation of Land Cruiser has rack and pinion steering and
independent front suspension, and they combine to make
it a great daily driver. The Land Cruiser’s
really easy to steer, and the driving
position gives you a commanding view of the road. But it’s not perfect. I wish the seat went
down a little bit more and the steering wheel could
telescope out towards me just a little bit. I feel like I am
reaching for it, and the steering
wheel feels like it’s in my lap a little bit. I’m not as impressed with
the infotainment interface. It’s got a great
big touchscreen, but the graphics
are kind of dated, and it doesn’t support Apple
Car Play or Android Auto. Those two systems got added to
the 4Runner and Tacoma systems this year, and they really
transformed the experience. But here, it feels a decade old. We’re in an offroad park
outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, and we’re going up a little
bit of a rocky hill right now. This is steep enough to
put it in low range, which is easy to do. But it’s not really going to
push this car to its limits. Oh, I better not say car– push this Land
Cruiser to its limits. The thing that we
might notice is that the stock mudflaps
do tend to rub on rocks, but it’s no harm, no foul. This truck has several
features that give it great offroad capability. Its suspension layout– it’s
got a five-length coil rear suspension, independent upfront. That part is debatable,
but it works well. But what’s going on is it’s
a full-time four-wheel drive machine with torsion center
differential that you can lock. On the pavement,
it’s unlocked, and it distributes torque 40% to
the front, 60% to the rear. In a situation like this,
you can push this button. You can lock it. Or if you put it in low range,
it automatically locks it. There are other things,
such as crawl control, which is a low-speed cruise
control that works uphill or down, forward or reverse. There’s also a
multi-train select that reconfigures
the traction control for different types of terrain. But the thing that
I really like is something called Kinematic
Dynamic Suspension System, which is easier to say as KDSS. And that’s a set
of stabilizer bars that can sense
when you’re offroad and basically disappear. They disconnect using
the hydraulic mechanism so you have maximum
articulation. Then when you get
back on the pavement, they reconnect and you’ve got
great control of body roll, even on a winding road. The tires on this vehicle
are all-season, all-terrain. They’re good. I’m not having
any problems here. I think if you were going
to offroad full time, you’d probably look for
something with a little bit more traction. But the size is good. And these are really
nice forged BDS wheels. I’d hate to replace those
because they’re really special. But yeah, you might
want more traction if you did this all the time. But if you’re going to do
it occasionally on roads like this, they’re fine. One of the things
the Land Cruiser has that a 4Runner
doesn’t, for example, is something they
call turn assist. It’s a button here,
and when you want to make a really tight
turn, what it does is it clamps onto
the inside rear brake and that helps
the turning radius in a really tight situation. And it’s really a nice little
tool to have in your tool box. And that’s really what it is. When you have an
offroad vehicle, the more things you can deploy
in different situations, the more enjoyable
and trouble-free your experience is going to be. The Heritage Edition,
which is what we’re in now, has a few changes
that are targeted at the person who might
take it offroad more than the average person. The contours of the front
and rear bumper covers are the same as a
regular Land Cruiser, so you still have the
same approach, departure, and breakover angle underneath. And those are all good
numbers to begin with, and they’re still the same here. What’s different about this that
helps the offroader is they’ve eliminated the sidesteps. Now, if you’re
the kind of person who drives in the street,
the city all the time, you may not like that move. But if you’re an offroader,
you like that move. The Land Cruiser’s mission has
changed a little bit over time. It started out as a
rough-and-tumble, dedicated offroader. And over time, it’s become
more and more family-oriented, but at the same time,
keeping really outstanding offroad performance for
a vehicle that can take the family out on an adventure. Of late, a type of
offroading that goes by the name of overlanding
has cropped up, and the Land Cruiser
fits into that mold really nicely because it’s got
the room to haul your gear. It’s got offroad performance
that’ll get you most places. It’s not a Jeep
Wrangler Rubicon, so it’s not ultimate
in terms of that. It’s not single-minded. It’s a good all-round
vehicle that has a very solid
offroad foundation, and a good ability to carry
equipment and people there and back, again,
without breaking down. This is a premium vehicle,
and it’s priced accordingly. But if you look at the prices
of a lot of large SUVs– like you get a loaded
Denali, GMC, or an Escalade, or even spend a lot of money
on something like a Suburban, or an Expedition, and you’ll
be in the same price territory as one of these. It’s a lot more expensive
than, say, a 4Runner. But the Land Cruiser has always
been aimed at a more premium audience. They’re not trying to
sell 100,000 of these. They’re trying to sell
a certain number that appeals to a premium
buyer who’s looking for the ultimate
offroad nameplate. It’s kind of a rare vehicle. They don’t have an
unlimited number to sell, and that’s because
Land Cruisers are made for all over the world. They’re sold in many,
many world markets. So we’re in one
of many countries that’s getting an
allocation out of one plant. And that kind of plays into
Land Cruiser’s mystique. It’s a rare, special vehicle
that you don’t see every day. What have we learned here today? Well, the Land Cruiser remains
a comfortable daily driver and it’s a capable
offroader for those looking for a little adventure. As for the Heritage
special edition, there’s quite a few changes
that give it a nod to the past, but also increase
its functionality for those who would
really take it offroad. I really like it. Do you? Let us know in the comments. And remember to use
Edmonds next time you’re in the market for
a car, truck, or SUV. And for more videos like
this, click Subscribe.

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