Old 1995 Land Cruiser review

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

Dec 8, 2007
[SIZE=+4]King of the Jungle[/SIZE]

Quick Look: Toyota Land Cruiser Some people -- and some cars -- are content to be good. Others are driven to be great. The explosion of small trucks and sports-utilities has brought us some good vehicles. But is any of them great?

You could make a pretty strong case for the Toyota Land Cruiser. The folks at Toyota obviously didn't waste a lot of time making the Land Cruiser pretty; compared to sleek SUVs like the Chevy Blazer, it sits up high and square, with some awkward lines and "surface excitement"giving it an old-fashioned look.
In this case, looks really are only skin deep. Get inside the Land Cruiser, and the rugged look gives way to surprising comfort. Leather seats, with full power controls on both sides, seem more intended to take Marlin to the blind with the martinis than to get Jim out to wrestle the alligator. As you might expect of a vehicle of this class and one that's also sold as a Lexus there is inflatable lumbar support. It's a very comfortable seat actually. Big wings and good bolstering on the bottom hold you in place even in the rough stuff.

But you don't have to be rugged to drive the Land Cruiser. Power windows, locks, and mirrors let your fingers do the working, while cruise control allows your right foot to rest easy. An electric moonroof admits just as much of the Kalahari sun as you like. Separate climate controls for the second seat let your passengers share the comfort. An AM/FM cassette CD cossets your ears. Height adjustable seat belt anchors help the Land Cruiser fit you. And a third seat is available so you can bring along enough porters and bearers to ease your toil.

The dash keeps you apprised of speed, engine revs, water and oil temperature, battery amps, fuel level, and time of day. It also features a wood inlay that's quite nice if it's real, and even nicer if it isn't. Dual air bags are standard. "I like the way that they've laid out the climate control and the stereo stuff all sort of right next to each other in a nice block and it has a nice linear kind of layout," gushes the Splendid Co-Driver. The center console is the Land Cruiser's storage center, with two cup holders on the driver's side, a tray in the center with a deep bin underneath, and a flocked bin with coin storage molded in. There are map pockets in the doors and a decent size glove compartment. We give it two and a half Golden Cupholders.

"This vehicle leaves one with the impression that one is going to have a very good time," noted the SC-D, pointing out the plethora of grab handles throughout the Land Cruiser. They are on the A pillar and the B pillar; the front passenger gets an extra overhead. Indeed, the Land Cruiser has such amazing handling that even the driver gets one, in case he (or, of course, she) scares himself (or, of course, herself.)
The SC-D also notes that the reading light "is enormously bright and really doesn't let there be a split focus on passenger and driver's side."

On the Road

Drive the Land Cruiser, and the paradoxes strike you at once. At 2 tons, the Land Cruiser is as hefty as it looks. You feel that bulk in the ride, but not much in the handling. Indeed, the Land Cruiser actually turned more tightly in our tests than the Blazer. (You would never guess that looking at it, but it comes around very easily.)
You can feel that it's larger than the other vehicles, but isn't much harder to drive than, say, the Explorer. You do feel the greater height, and the vehicle feels a little longer, but it isn't out of proportion to the size of the Land Cruiser and substantial interior room. (One clever touch for fraidy cats, especially in parking garages; the radio antenna goes up higher than anything else on the car so you can use it as a height check. The fact that it lacks an end of travel switch and goes bop, bop, bop at the top of its travel instead of just stopping is a bit disconcerting.)

The Land Cruiser is big, stable, and utterly self-assured. To call the ride and handling sophisticated would be an exaggeration, but not much fazes this vehicle. You feel that it could (unlike some competitors) run its whole life off-road and never notice. Indeed, many Land Cruisers do just that.
The Land Cruiser tracks fine on the highway, although over concrete surfaces the stiff springing is even more noticeable. It doesn't beat you up, but wouldn't be optimal for a long trip.

Paradoxical performance also belies the Land Cruiser's bulk. Put the transmission in power mode and the Land Cruiser digs out smartly. Brakes, too, are quite strong; they have no trouble hauling it down quite competently and smoothly. ABS is standard should you really overdo it. "It gives me a sense as being a quiet engine but powerful and a very solid vehicle," she added.

Land Cruiser's full time four wheel drive is very well behaved, but control freaks can add a switch allowing you to lock the rear, front, or center differentials.
One downside of a 4900-pound vehicle: The EPA estimates 15 highway MPG, which jibes with our real-world results. The upside came when we put the Land Cruiser to a real test: The steep, unplowed hill to our home after a 10" snowfall. The Land Cruiser came up the hill without any hesitation, the solid weight, 4-wheel drive, and 275/70x16 Dunlop Grandtreks really combining to make this an excellent snow vehicle. The tires are more aggressive than those found on most current SUVs; the tradeoff is noticeably more noise on the highway. And one thing that you don't normally think of, the rear defroster seems to be very powerful. Our test Land Cruiser's defroster thawed through sheet ice in no time at all. One picky note to Toyota: On a vehicle so clearly dedicated for adverse conditions, the side mirrors could be heated.

You ride up high in the Land Cruiser, with a view of the road and the world around you blocked only by the long, boxy hood. The cabin is airy, with lots of window space. Room in the second seat is ample.
The only sample defects we found: One of the anchors for the driver's side floor mat is missing so that the floor mat tends to wind up in the door. It also has some odd squeaks and rattles. And there's a whistle from the sunroof on our test Land Cruiser at highway speed.
These are relatively minor annoyances compared to the ruggedness and solidity of the Land Cruiser. What may be a bigger challenge for Toyota is deciding where the Land Cruiser fits into the SUV market. After all, the Chevy Tahoe (and probably Ford's coming Expedition) offer more power and room for less money. The Land Cruiser will have to emphasize its appeal to those who like the plush life.
What does almost $50,000 buy you in a sport utility? It buys you weight, size, confidence, lots of leather. Of course, royalty isn't cheap. But isn't greatness worth something extra?

Hard Drive: Toyota Land Cruiser

Thought it would be kind of cool to post this.

I think as point of reference. Its kind of interesting that today's topline 4runner comes within 95lbs of the 80's series curb weight.
Last edited:
I 100% agree with paradox!! IT WAS EASIER THAN Toyota Harrier.
I've been looking everyday for one of these for months and this morning I found a Clean (except for some ugly 20" rims) 96 WITH LOCKERS for 3,700 close to home in SoCAL., By the time I called around noon somebody was already there looking at it and I knew it was gone. It just ruined my weekend !
I've been looking everyday for one of these for months and this morning I found a Clean (except for some ugly 20" rims) 96 WITH LOCKERS for 3,700 close to home in SoCAL., By the time I called around noon somebody was already there looking at it and I knew it was gone. It just ruined my weekend !

At $3,700 its like stealing it!!

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom