Why a LC

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Jan 5, 2004
Help me out. I am looking to purchase a roomy SUV for my wife's daily driver and as the family car. (I drive a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV. Not family friendly) I have always liked the LC and see this as an opportunity for a 1994-1996 acquisition. However, why should I spend more money for an older rig with more miles instead of other choices that are less money, newer with fewer miles? We will use the 4X4 occationally, but not anything hardcore, which is really where the LC shines. Are there any other SUVs anyone would recommend?

PS. I have really enjoyed this website and the postings.

Walt ???
There are really only two downsides to the Cruisers you are looking at. Mileage is not as great as some other non LC SUVs and the front axle seals will probably need some attention. My best advice is to go drive a bunch of different rigs and then decide if the Cruiser is right for you. Personally, I think the size is about perfect and I like the fulltime 4wd. To me the gas mileage is the only downside and it must not bother me much as all my wife and I have for vehicles right now are 80 series LCs.
We drive these rigs for their engineering, ability and style. You'll be hard pressed to find anyone here recommending another SUV, with the possible exception of Boo ::). Safety and resale value are a couple of points you won't be able to improve apon.
well when I was looking for a new rig I was thinking of a 60 series for the styling and off road prowess. I lived in Salt Lake City back then and all the 60s were rusted out and pretty rough, so I looked at an 80 series and was impressed. the clincher for me was crash tests. I was working as a insurance estimator at the time and went out to look at a 91 fj80. the loss description was for 80 vs 83 buick regal in a t bone hit at 35 mph. Well I figured the 80 was going to be an easy total loss and no problem. Not only was it pretty lightly damaged for the impact the thing was still driving fine. the rear door was hard to close and the rocker was shot but the guy driving it was fine, not a scratch on him or his wife or his two kids who were in the back seat. He drove everyone to the ER for a once over and drove home no problems at all. after this I started looking at the 80 series pretty much exclusively. Glad I did as my first 80 (91) decided It wanted to let the world see its belly on the way down form Moab Rim trail in moab. Mine was a total but still put it back on its wheels and drove it home. busted windows and all and again no injuries to me or my pup. these are tanks they will hold up well in a crash and that is worth a few mpg to me.

Hopefully you have been browsing the board, so you have some sense of what people like and dislike about the truck. It does sort of depend on what you need and want - many of the people on this board really love their trucks and do take them offroad.

Here is a summary of why I (initially) turned in a 3 YO Toyota Car to buy a 10 year old LC and, more recently, turned in a brand new Saab for a 1997 'vintage' truck:

1) LC are generally very solid and reliable trucks. Many of the systems are 'overbuilt' and are very reliable. I've found that little things tend to go wrong (the 'hate' part of my love-hate relationship), but the major components are bomb proof. While the up-front cost may seem high, the lifetime value is really quite low.

2) The LC is a large, stable truck and I feel that it is a very safe vehicle in which to transport my family. The permanent 4WD is great for us as well (given snow, etc)

3) It is quite large and can fit a lot of gear. We have twin 3 yo boys (and are expecting a 3rd in June) as well as a large dog that travels in a cage. The truck can easily handle this 'load'. While a number of other SUVs are bigger, I think they fail in #1 (as well as in some other areas - see #5).

4) It is very comfortable - I find the size is 'just right' not too big and not too small. It can do long road trips without problems, etc

5) It is a great off-road vehicle if you happen to be into that sort of thing. I have been off-roading with H1s, H2s, D90s, D110s, D130s, Discos, Jeeps, etc and my truck in stock form is better than most.

6) It's unique - not a big selling feature, but I like it.

I also support the idea that you continue to read, and do a lot of test drives - this may be entirely the wrong truck for your wife. She may want something 'newer', may feel it's too big, etc.

We were actually quite far down the path on an Acura MDX (which I think is a great truck for it's intended purpose and market - better value and layout than a Merc or BMW IMHO). My wife and I test drove it and then she turned to me and said 'I want another Land Cruiser...' - (what a great wife :))

I've recently been thinking that with the new arrival a F350 Crew Cab may make sense as well :D

Cheers, Hugh
I drive Toyotas (an 80 series and a Camry) because of Toyota's engineering and production qualities. If you are doing very little or light offroading and don't need all the space for camping ect... the 80 might not be your best choice if you care about gas mileage.

Perhaps an 2 or 3 year old 4 runner or a Nissan pathfinder might be worth looking at.

I would spend some time thinking about your requirements. Specifically think about:

room/space needed
gas mileage concerns?
reliability a concern or not?
usage in conditions like snow - do you need fulltime 4wd?
usage for offroading
would you do any of your own mantenance?
how long will you likely keep it?

For sure check Consumer Reports for reliabilty data on any vehicle you are considering.

If you're owning vechicles for a long time, the initial cost is less important because of your reoccuring operating expenses like repairs.

I like to think that I can't afford cheaper vehicles.....

I find the 80 series meets my needs in size, reliablity, safety, offroading savey, fulltime 4wd for snow conditions, comfort, noise ect.....

but all of the above traits have a cost (ex. gas mileage) and if you don't care much about them, other vehicles might be more suitable.

I looked at a number of others for me it was simple

They are built like a tank and I know my family will be extremely safe.

I prefer the looks over the 100 (I came close to buying a 2000).

If maintained they seem to run forever.

I know I can get my money out of it (bought right, has lockers)

Can go anywhere reasonable out of the box (with the right driver).

Great road hunting for the hotties wearing skirts in the summers.

It looks great parked next to my 71 280sl (60K real miles).


Sucks gas

Sucks gas

Sucks gas

Tires are expensive

Parts / Service is expensive

Mall Cruiser or not these are great rides!

I use my 96LC on long trips with my wife and two teenage boys, anything more than that you probably be better off with a Sequoia or any comparable size. :)
Why a Land Cruiser? Specificly an 80 series?
build quality
occupant safety
locks :D
looks you get with a snorkel. ;)

They are just damn fine automobiles.

Yes, the fuel mileage sucks...... :-\
First day I owned it a hottie walked up and said, "Man I love Landcruisers". Too bad I'm married, woulda been a GREAT opportunity.... :slap:

They're incredibly solid rigs, which you'll note from the comments above. Even if you're not a serious offroad guy, you can benefit from the construction of these rigs. I bought mine as a tow rig, and because I've always had massive respect for Landcruisers. So for me, it was a 2 fold purchase. After hanging around in here for a while, I've been thinking about abandoning the race car and going offroad with my aggression. ;)

There's a reason why they have such a cult following. VERY well put together. What I like is that it makes up alot of it's interior room with height. The thing isn't so long that you can't fit it anywhere, and it's not too fat either. They do require a little more maintenance than some rigs, but well worth it. Make sure you find one that's had the Birfields serviced. (Just think of them as a BIG CV joint). It's about a 900 dollar bill if they haven't. Besides that, listen to some of the regulars that have posted above. Solid 411 regarding these rigs. Also do yourself a favor and play with the search function, although it can be a beeatch to deal with at times. Narrow it down to the 80-100 tech section or search the SOR.com archive button at the top right of the screen. You'll find all sorts of good info to help you make your decision.

I can say that for myself there is only one downside. It loves gas..... Period. I get just under 15mpg if I'm nice to the gas pedal. If you're worried about keeping the family safe, this is a great vehicle to put them in. Very tank-like.

If gas mileage is a dealbreaker, listen to Riley and have a look at a 4-skinner. One of my buddies has owned 2 of them over the last 7 years and loves em. But, for my money, there's no replacing a Landcruiser.

Good luck! :beer:
i'm sure you heard how toyota's hold their value, are long lived, do pretty good in crash tests and for the most part "cheap" to own.

i'm also sure you know/heard how other brands/models will tow more, carry more people more comfortable for longer travels, go faster quicker, cost less to buy(not own!!) ans so on.

but the land cruiser is all toyota and stands for everything toyota means and for 45 or so yrs now, has been toyota's flagship. no other vechile has done the things a cruiser has.

you can compare simular yrs of any other suv to a cruiser and nothing else will hold a light to it. the plus sides of cruisers far out wieght the negitives, if there even are any!!.

i don't think any other suv enjoys the cult like following that the cruiser has.

Rather than bore you with why I selected the 80 series, I'll ask you more about what your plans are for the "family car."

You need to think about what an SUV means to you and convey that to us.

For example:
Are you planning to take 4 or 5 boy scouts camping every month?
Are you planning any expedition style vacations where you travel remote areas of the country and possibly camp along the way?
Are you truly interested in the safety of your family and other vehicle occupants?
Do you tow snow mobiles, boat, ATV's, bikes, motorcycles, jet skis, etc?

These and a hundred similar questions are what you need to think about.

If staying at a Motel 6 is "roughing it" and you don't plan to keep the vehicle for 10 years, and you worry more about the cost of fuel and repairs than you do about safety... then perhaps you should be looking at a 4-Runner or a Sequoia or something else... maybe even a sedan.

So, tell us what you plan to spend and what you need an SUV to do for you.

[quote author=Walt link=board=2;threadid=9682;start=msg84967#msg84967 date=1073340080]
I have always liked the LC and see this as an opportunity for a 1994-1996 acquisition.
Walt ???

What is it that every second newby post says I want a 94-97??? :flipoff2: :flipoff2: I mean, is there a newby website out there that disrespects the mighty 93? Let me at it.

Seriously Walt, welcome... if you want to know why you should buy an 80 then just tell us what else you will be considering instead and we will give you a side by side comparison. Short answer is you will not go wrong with a 93-97 80 or an LX450 if you get a non-abused vehicle. For that matter a good used 91 or 92 will save you a lot of dough and the 3FE motor is not half bad either.
Never buy a vehicle in the first year of production. 93s are out because, all evidence to the contrary, they are poorly thought out prototypes of the real thing. :D

If you've ever owned a Toyota or a Honda, why would you ever even consider a Ford, Chevy or, worst of all, a Dodge? The only reason I can think of is that they hire hotties at the cashier windows in dealerships.

There's a reason why Toyota is the best selling make of car in the US. Build quality and reliability can't be beat.
I agree that an 80 series is not a Honda Civic with regard to gas mileage, but I defy you to show me a similar vehicle that gets more than maybe 4 mpg better. At 15K miles a year, paying about $1.65 a gallon, I figure it costs me an extra $350 a year to drive or about seven bucks a week. Why is it so thirsty? The same reason it's so tough and so safe. It's full-time 4wd and it's overengineered like a mutha so it's a heavy beast. I justify the gas expense as follows: I bought my LX for $17.5 w/87K. Looks, runs and drives like new. New in 1997 - $53,000 - and my understanding is you often had to get on a waiting list for the priviledge to buy one. My advice is to get one for your wife - and then start looking for yours, cuz you're gonna want one. You'll never look back! Good Luck!

Dan :cheers:
Wait, Wait -

I have one more tid bit to offer. My wife uses our 80 as her daily driver during the week. So it's mainly used for school and soccer runs as well as mall cruising. I only bring this up because in my case, the mileage is not an issue since the soccer pitch and school yard aren't far a field. I couldn't care less amount mileage on weekend treks to the backwoods.

Again it's important to understand how and when the vehicle will be used in order to provide advice.

This has no bearing on your decision, but I have "bought" many new vehicles over the years. I got the 97 cruiser for my wife in early 1998 (she swore she would never like a bigass truck). It now has 99,000 miles on it and we were considering that it was time to move on to something new. As the first person who came to look in to buying it left our house I just sat in the beast by myself for 20 minutes, and when my wife asked what in the hell I was doing I said I just can't sell it. She said she knew what was I was talking about and now I am all into keeping it as long as possible. Nothing says quality, cool, and class like Land Cruiser.
Buy an Envoy! ;)
>> Nothing says quality, cool, and class like Land Cruiser. <<

Can I steal this for my sig line. :D

I've always wanted a LC since i was in college. Seeing the unique boxy look really won me over. Told myself, i will own one , one day, but not a new one. Since they retail for $50k. Well 10yrs later, i am an owner of a 93 LC with 102k miles...After a week lurking on this site, i was like, what did i get myself into!!!! The costs are so high in repairing this LC, birfields, tranny leak, oil leak, etc....but looking more and more, i realize i can get another 100k out of this as long as i do the reg maintenance and fix the leaks....This maybe the best $10k i've spent on a vehicle ?????

My current vehicle is a 99 Honda Civic Si with 111k miles on it and still running. Prior was a 90 Camry that had 242k miles and running with no major work. Only reason i parted out was because a trash truck swiped the rear and did something to the electrical system in the lights, which caused me to not pass inspection. Brake lights work one day, then not the next, etc....

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