It’s adventure season. The East Coast is gloomy and the office walls seem to be getting smaller and smaller—it’s the perfect time to break free and road trip. That’s exactly what we did last week, with the super smooth (and super powerful) 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser that surpassed our expectations of what we want from a luxury SUV.
There’s no point in testing out a beast like this in perfect sunshine (although that was a lot of fun too), so we made sure a blizzard was scheduled (thanks Mother Nature!) and headed towards Aspen to chase the powder and the champagne in style.
The Toyota Land Cruiser has a loyalty unmatched by any other SUV, and with good reason. The product of over 60 years of global adventure, it’s a sophisticated blend of off-road prowess, on-road comfort and unparalleled refinement.
Since its U.S. debut in 1957, the Toyota Land Cruiser has gone through countless changes, evolving from a hardcore off-road vehicle to the Toyota brand’s most luxurious SUV—without losing any of its off-roading capability. Now the automaker’s “ultimate-capability, ultimate-luxury SUV” gets refreshed for the 2016 model year. Changes to the 2016 model include a styling refresh as well as significant drivetrain updates.
Expeditions often require the assistance of an entire crew so you can fit 8 people (and maybe then some) in this tank. And everyone can ride in comfort, thanks to multi-stage heated and ventilated front seats, a multi-stage heated 40/20/40 split second-row seat with center armrest, and a 50/50 split third-row seat.
The new Toyota Safety Sense-P system features new driver assist technologies including front-collision avoidance and mitigation systems, lane departure warning, auto high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. The blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as a rearview camera, are nice safety additions that make those 20 hour driving days a little easier.
Of course, the Land Cruiser hasn’t lost its ability to go virtually anywhere—if it needs to—and its luxury status places it squarely in a small segment of vehicles that function as the arch-rivals for eco-friendly vehicles like the Toyota Prius. But what other vehicle has inspired the “Land Crusher” nickname and lived (again) to tell about it?
It really is the ultimate expression of luxury and capability. The redesigned 2016 Land Cruiser makes an impression wherever it goes with its legendary off-road expertise and bold new exterior details. Honestly, the blizzard we drove through was on a highway but we may well have been off-roading—just us and the plows, and we were faring better than the latter.
While the 5.7-liter, DOHC V-8, rated 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, carries over, a new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the outgoing model’s six-speed unit. Toyota says the wider gear spread enhances both acceleration and fuel economy. The new gearbox also features manual control. With its standard Trailer Towing package (engine oil cooler, trailer-brake controller connector, and sub-wiring harness) allows the Land Cruiser to tow up to 8,500 pounds. Basically, you can do anything, or tow (almost) anything in this car. It is the most dependable and road warrior worthy automobile we have driven in a very very long time.
Driving through a blizzard in Nebraska or getting the whole squad together for a night in NYC, this car is a powerful machine that gives you the luxury you deserve along with the power you need. So call in sick and start driving. Or better yet, take the office crew with you. It’s time for a true adventure.