How do you improve ultimate? The Toyota Land Cruiser has long been the brand’s ultimate-capability, ultimate-luxury SUV, and for 2016 Toyota is ratcheting up the meaning of that term. New exterior and interior design features are the obvious changes made to the 2016 Land Cruiser, while new safety technology, a major drivetrain upgrade and enhanced multimedia features make this makeover far more than metal-skin deep.
Toyota has continually sold Land Cruiser models in the United States since 1957. Over the decades, the Land Cruiser has evolved from a utilitarian go-anywhere vehicle to one of the most luxurious full-capability SUVs on the market. Land Cruiser customers are among the most loyal in the auto industry; they seek ultimate capability and luxury, though packaged with renowned Toyota value and understated character.
The Land Cruiser body is new from the A-pillar forward. It’s a whole new look for this iconic vehicle, with the bumper, grille, projector-beam LED low and high beam headlights, headlight cleaners and integrated Land Cruiser logo, all contributing to the new design signature. The hood’s distinctive power bulges convey the potential of the 381-horsepower V8 that lies beneath. Teamed to that power plant for 2016 is the Toyota brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission, which helps enhance acceleration.
The Land Cruiser shows a new signature from behind, as well, thanks to new taillights with light-tube design and LED brake lights, a new full-width chrome molding and a new bumper. A chrome body side molding embossed with the Land Cruiser logo and new-design 18-inch alloy wheels accentuate the Land Cruiser’s muscular profile.
Once again, the Toyota Land Cruiser comes in one version: fully equipped and with seating for eight. There are no factory options, and really, none are needed. For 2016, new semi-aniline perforated leather is available in the customer’s choice of black or new Terra (brown). The black interior and Terra interiors are accented by Deep Wood trim. The high-quality materials complement a center console redesign that shows a more cohesive appearance and more intuitive controls.
The Land Cruiser’s Entune head unit is upgraded, adding Siri® Eyes Free mode and other performance enhancements. When paired with an iPhone, the driver simply pushes a steering wheel button and then speaks requests to Siri. And, new Qi wireless phone charging (for compatible devices) means one less cable to carry.
The luxurious new steering wheel, is heated as before, and also integrates switches for the multi-information display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and new Toyota Safety Sense-P system.
New Driver Assist Technologies
The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser is the first in the model’s history equipped with technology designed to help prevent or mitigate collisions and, under certain circumstances, help protect pedestrians in a collision. The new Toyota Safety Sense-P system includes Frontal Collision Avoidance, at speeds below 24 mph (including pedestrian protection); Frontal Collision Mitigation (also for speeds below 24 mph); Lane Departure Alert; Auto High Beams and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
In addition, the 2016 Land Cruiser can help the driver avoid hazards with the new Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. All the new driver-assist systems come standard. A backup camera is also standard, and also useful for hitching a trailer.
An Engine That Deserves to be Called a Power Plant
The Land Cruiser driver will not be wanting for power. The 381 horsepower 5.7-liter DOHC V8 engine features Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and produces 401 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. Equally critical is that the engine produces 90-percent of peak torque at just 2,200 rpm, giving Land Cruiser a powerful response for any driving situation and making it especially useful for towing.
For 2016, a new 8-speed automatic transmission replaces the 6-speed unit, with the added ratios allowing a wider ratio spread to help enhance acceleration and fuel efficiency. When the going gets rough, the driver can select manual control for more powertrain control. EPA fuel efficiency is 13 mpg in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 15 combined.
And the Land Cruiser can tow: the standard Trailer Towing Package equips it to pull a trailer up to 8,100 pounds. The hardware needed for towing is all there, including an engine oil cooler, as well as a connector and sub-wiring harness that facilitate a trailer-brake controller. Trailer Sway Control uses the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to help counteract trailer sway, helping to make towing a more relaxed proposition.
Tough Where It Counts
The smooth-riding, unabashedly plush Land Cruiser is built with tough-as-nails body-on-frame construction. Its reassuringly solid feel comes from more than size. Its body structure makes extensive use of high-strength steel, especially in the A-, B-, C- and D-pillars and rocker area.
Offering the comfort of a luxury sedan in everyday driving, the Land Cruiser comes ready to tackle off-pavement and trail driving, making out-of-the-way vacation cabins seem less out of the way. Suspension design combines proven trail capability with advanced control technology. Key to the Land Cruiser’s off-pavement competence is suspension articulation, facilitated by long wheel travel.
And the suspension has some high-tech hydraulic help. Hardcore off-road drivers will, when necessary, disembark their vehicles to disconnect the suspension stabilizer bars in order to increase wheel articulation. That’s a tough, dirty and even dangerous job, and it can impair on-road handling if the bars are left disconnected. Fortunately, such dirty work is completely unnecessary in the Toyota Land Cruiser. Its Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) hydraulically adjusts the lean resistance provided by the stabilizer bars, reducing it 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 work conventionally to help reduce body lean by as much as 50 percent. The system operates hydraulically, without the need for complex electronics.
Approach and departure angles are 30 degrees and 20 degrees, respectively, for confident off-road maneuvering. While traversing rocky terrain, the driver can take comfort knowing underbody panels help to protect the Land Cruiser’s engine and transmission.