Lexus Quality – and Price – In a Toyota
“Seven...seventy....s...s...seventy-two th-thou-thousand dollars?!?!” I freaked out a little, I admit. I knew the 2008 Land Cruiser – all Land Cruisers, really – were expensive vehicles, but, but...$72,000? Holy smokes!
The difference was even more stark considering that I had the window sticker for the Land Cruiser’s showroom-mate, the humungous 2008 Sequoia, in my other hand. It was $18,000 less. For those who buy their SUVs by the acre, the Sequoia is clearly the better bargain.
Once you’ve been defibrillated and gotten some oxygen, you may have the strength to climb up into the Land Cruiser. At that point you realize that Toyota may have a point with its hefty price tag. This is one nice truck inside. The leather is soft, and it’s on the entire seat, not just the part you sit on. The headliner is a soft suede-like material that you just want to rub your cheek against. All the controls have the silky smooth feel that we associate with the Lexus brand. In fact, the entire ambience of the interior says “Lexus,” which makes the LX 570 – the Lexus version of this vehicle – seem like that much more of a corporate cave-in to dealer whining.
Driving the Land Cruiser is luxurious as well. Bumps are squashed, and you’ll never know you hit them thanks to the quiet interior. The engine noise is also subdued, and the V-8 is silky smooth in its power delivery, except in the last 1,000 rpm before redline, where an unusual vibration and harshness develops. It almost feels like a bad engine mount, and I wonder if our test vehicle has been smacked around a little off road by other journalists.
See, that’s the Land Cruiser’s secret life. Sure, it goes about its day to day upper-class suburb life, sucking down gas like there’s no tomorrow just like a big SUV is supposed to. It ferries overpriced organic groceries from the local Whole Foods market and carts rich children to gymkhana with the best of them, and nobody is the wiser.
But if a Mad Max world lies in our future, the Land Cruiser should be high on your list of post-apocalyptic vehicles. This thing has a well deserved reputation for ruggedness, and although I haven’t turned a wheel in dirt with it, by all accounts this new one gives up nothing to its predecessors. Besides, if I’m going to do battle with mohawked punk rocker evildoers just to fill up, I’d much rather have an awesome audio system, touch screen nav, leather appointments and this big honkin’ V-8 engine than a dune buggy covered in spikes.
Anyhow, Toyota doesn’t sell many Land Cruisers in the U.S. – no doubt because of that imposing price tag – but its hardcore fans know a good thing, and are apparently willing to fork over some serious cash for it. As an off road vehicle it’s virtually without equal, although at this price many of its competitors have considerably more cachet. Regardless, it’s one very nice truck, and fans will undoubtedly love it whether they’re antiquing in the Hamptons or blazing a trail to volunteer at an archeological dig.
MyRide Road Test Editor