To be fair, I’m not saying the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is a terrible SUV. It does standard-SUV things well enough: It’ll go off-road, haul a family in comfort, accommodate all the gear needed for a weekend — and with an 8,500-pound towing capacity, it can even carry along a few toys.
But it’s a bad choice for almost everyone looking at new cars these days.
Realistically speaking, if you’re in the market for a new Toyota overlander or camping vessel, you’re probably looking at the Toyota 4Runner — because, compared to its big brother, you’ll save at least $40,000. If it’s a luxurious land yacht you’re after, the similarly-priced Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class or Range Rover Sport don’t have nearly as much plastic and rubber in the interior. And neither of those cars have gone 11 years without a real update. For $85,000, you can hop in a 2019 Land Cruiser and remember what 2008 was like.
The original Land Cruiser was a stripped-out off-roader through and through. It competed against Jeep, the Ford Bronco and the Land Rover Defender — and kept them honest. But talk to any serious overlanding enthusiasts and they’ll quickly point out that the 4Runner has taken up that mantle in recent years. It’s very capable off-road, and when you do take it into the dirty stuff you don’t have to worry about soft, expensive leather getting soiled and torn. Likewise, the Sequoia — which uses the same 5.7-liter engine as the Land Cruiser — fits the roomy, semi-luxurious niche — for a base price of only $49,000. In effect, what Toyota has done is create two trucks — the 4Runner and Sequoia — that are better at being both the roles the Land Cruiser is intended for, and sold them each for nearly half the price.
Compounding the problem (though this works in your favor if you’re still itching for a J200-generation Land Cruiser) are Land Cruiser resale values. The problem is not at all that they’re low-quality vehicles; they’re not. But the second-hand market simply communicates more accurate prices. In other words, the new Land Cruiser should cost around $30,000 less than what it does now.