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2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, SUV, Test Drives, Toyota

‘GO ANYWHERE IN LUXURY’

The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser lives up to its name as an iconic and luxurious, full-size SUV imbued wit undeniable off-road/on-road capability and the safari-conquering spirit of its world-famous forbears.  Also unique is the way this eight-passenger SUV has evolved from a basic four-wheel-drive utility vehicle into an upscale vehicle without compromising it roots-and that is the root of its loyal following.  After one-week behind the wheel I can see why as this stunning AWD vehicle drove on and off road with ease, smoothness and comfort, almost like a flying carpet ride.  The latest inToyota’s ‘connected’ and telematics technologies help ensure that the Land Cruiser can provide you and your passengers with safety, security and convenience.

The Land Cruiser’s 5.7 liter DOHC V8 engine produces 381 hp at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb.ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm.  Up to 90% of peak torque is available at just 2,200 rpm, helping make the Land Cruiser an outstanding tow vehicle, up to 8,200 lbs.

The V8’s advanced dual independent VVT-i system controls valve timing and overlap on both the intake and exhaust valves, which helps to optimize power, fuel efficiency and emissions that is ULEV-II certified.  The Acoustic Control Induction system (ACIS) switches the length of the intake tract in two stages, based on rpm and throttle angle, to improve torque across the engine speed range.   Stainless steel exhaust manifolds flow into a full stainless steel exhaust system and a water-cooled oil cooler helps control oil temperature while towing.  The power comes on instantly as you launch quickly to 60 mph.  Merging into fast moving freeway traffic is never a problem or safety issue.

This powerful V8 engine is mated to a quick shifting six-speed automatic transmission that is designed to handle high torque while performing with luxurious smoothness.  Fourth gear is direct drive, and both fifth and six gears are overdrive ratios.  The transmission’s control unit estimates road conditions to select the appropriate gear ratio for the vehicle’s speed and driving conditions, i.e., on-road or off-road.  A sequential shift model allows you to select gears manually when necessary, especially when off-roading.

The Land Cruiser’s body-on-frame construction provides ruggedness and durability in extreme driving conditions, plus impressive towing capacity and ride isolation characteristics.  The front of the frame features a three-stage crush structure, so frame damage to other areas of the vehicle is minimized in the case of frontal impact.

The high-mount double-wishbone front suspension uses gas-pressurized shocks absorbers, a 1.68 inch hollow stabilizer bar and coil springs.  This geometry provides a high level of off-road driving capability and suspension control while maintaining outstanding on-road driving comfort and control.  Approach and departure angles are 30-degrees and 20-degrees.  At the rear, the reliable and proven four-link, coil spring with lateral rod format provides a long suspension stroke and also features gas-pressurized shocks and a 0.98 inch hollow stabilizer bar.

Helping to enhance both off-road capability and on-road handling response is the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) adjusts the lean resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars.  KDSS may reduce maximum body-sway angle by as much as 50%.  By using hydraulic cylinders acting on each stabilizer bar and linked by a pressure-sensing valve, KDSS reduces the degree of sway stiffness provided by the stabilizer bars in response to changing road conditions and driver inputs.

In off-road driving situations, KDSS allows the wheels on each axle to move with a larger degree of side-to-side independence, helping to minimize any tendency for wheel lift.  During cornering, when both front and rear cylinders are compressed, no fluid is flowing in the system, and the stabilizer bars work conventionally to help reduce body lean.  When an uneven surface is encountered, one compressed cylinder causes fluid to flow between the front and rear cylinders, allowing the stabilizer bars to move freely.  This action increases wheel articulation and travel and also helps to equalize wheel loading.  By allowing the stabilizer bars to disengage in certain situations, the nominal stiffness of the bars can be notably increased, thereby reducing body lean and improving handling without negatively affecting ride comfort or off-road performance.  This unique system shows why the Land Cruiser lives up to it’s name-cruising with control and comfort on or off road.

Land Cruise rides on large 285/60R18 inch mud and snow steel belted radial tires for excellent traction and a compliant ride.  They are mounted onto 18X8 inch aluminum alloy wheels with a high-gloss finish, including the spare.  Slowing this big, brutish SUV down from speed are large, power-assisted steel disc brakes-18.4 inch vented up front and clamped with four-piston calipers and 13.6 inch vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS, BA and EBD give you added control during severe braking maneuvers.

Variable gear ratio power-assisted rack & pinion steering requires just 3.1 turns lock-to-lock.  The gear ratio is set larger around the steering center and smaller around the end position.  Quick and precise turn-in and response to your inputs make this system one of the best for full-size SUV directional handling.

The lightweight, compact transfer case provides full-time four-wheel drive with a low-range 2.18:1 ratio for traversing challenging driving surfaces, such as deep inclines.  The system uses a TORSEN limited-slip locking center differential to distribute power 40:60 front-to-rear, directing more power to the wheels with the best grip should slippage occur.

Traction control (TRAC) employs both brake and throttle intervention to help control wheel spin.  Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), with a cut-off switch, helps maintain directional control during cornering.

The Crawl Control feature helps make traversing difficult terrain easier.  With the transfer case shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of three low-speed settings.  This allows you to maintain focus while steering over very rough level ground or steep grades, without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedals.

Crawl Control includes Downhill Assist Control (DAC), which is designed to augment the low-speed ascending ability of low-range of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with practically no driver intervention.  Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.  The new 2011 Land Cruiser has all of the bases covered to get you where you want to go, no matter the terrain or slopes that you might encounter.  It just goes and goes.

Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) helps maintain traction during acceleration by controlling engine output and braking forces to the wheel, distributing the drive force that might have been lost to the wheels and tires that have traction.  Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) has a cut-off switch that helps you maintain directional control during cornering by manipulating engine torque and individual wheel-braking influence if it detects tire slippage.

The new 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser gives you and your passengers excellent comfort and convenience with 28 total air-vents and a four-zone climate control that is designed to bathe occupants in comfortable air-even during extreme heat-rather than simply projecting streams of cool air at them.  For extreme cold situations, the Land Cruiser’s auxiliary positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heater warms air instantly by passing it over an electrically heated ceramic element.  The system also includes a micro-dust and pollen filter, and seven-level blower control.

The Land Cruiser comes luxuriously equipped with standard features that include rear privacy glass, a JBL premium audio system with in-dash six-disc CD changer and 14-speakers, Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start/stop that allows owners to unlock or start their vehicle by carry the key, anti-theft security system, engine immobilizer, cruise control, power moonroof, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, HomeLink, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, heated, power front bucket seats with two-driver memory, and a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

More standard features include dual map lamps, one-touch express up/down windows front/back, rear wiper/washer, running boards, map pockets behind each front seatback, door entry guards, roof-rack, foglamps, power-folding sideview mirrors, dual, lighted vanity mirrors, variable-speed intermittent wipers/washers, grab handles above each door and on the A and B pillars, power door locks, thick-cut pile carpeting with front/rear floor mats.

While already luxuriously equipped, the Land Cruiser can be taken to an even higher level with these options-a rear-seat entertainment system, Navigation with large color screen and backup camera, cool box center console storage, second-row seat heaters, wood/leather wrapped steering wheel, rear spoiler, rain-sensing wipers and headlamp washers.

The Land Cruiser seats up to eight, with three-across seating in the second and third rows.  The instrument panel features a set of bright Optitron gauges with clear turquoise illumination.  Beneath these gauges, a multi-informational display shows gear selection, odometer, trip meter, fuel consumption, individual tire pressures and cruising range.  The center stack is easy to reach and use with all buttons, dials and switches illuminated for safe nighttime driving.  The vehicle’s center console features a gate-type shifter with sequential mode operation, the parking brake, a storage box with several compartments and a removable tray, auxiliary audio jack/USB port and three cupholders.

The passenger-side second-row seat features a one-touch tumble mechanism for easier third-row ingress and egress.  The second-row seats slide forward and aft 4.1 inches for more passenger comfort and cargo storage versatility.  A pull-down center armrest features dual cupholders and storage tray.

The Land Cruiser is designed to convey an advanced and rugged theme, which it does, with enlarged front and rear fenders, thick and rectangular grille and halogen headlamps/foglamps that maintain Land Cruiser’s steady and confident appearance, while the hood flows gracefully into the grille and beltlines.  Its upright, powerful stance always conveys that it is almost invincible transversing over and through sand, snow, water, large logs, rocky surfaces and steep hills and valleys.

Standard safety features include front/rear crumple zones; steel beams in each door, safety connect Star Safety System, driver and front passenger front/side impact airbags, 2nd. row side impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, 3-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags, drive and front passenger active head restraints, child-protector door locks, LATCH anchors for child seats, front/rear parking sensors, 3-point safety belts for all seats with front pretensioners/load limiters.

The new 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser has it all to make your trip down to the corner storage or to your favorite off-road hideaway easy, fun, luxurious, convenient, comfortable and safe.

COPYRIGHT:2011:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base $65,970.00 / As-Tested-$74,210.00 including delivery fee
  • Engine: 5.7-liter 32-valve V8 381 horsepower @ 5600 rpm / 401 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed shiftable automatic
  • Wheelbase: 112.2in.
  • Total length: 194.9in.
  • Total width: 77.6in.
  • Total height: 74in.
  • Track: f/r-64.6/64.4in.
  • Ground clearance: 8.9in.
  • Turning circle: 38.7ft.
  • Fuel tank: 24.6 gallons
  • Headroom: f/m/r-38.3/38.9/35.8in.
  • Legroom: f/m/r-42.3/36/28.4in.
  • EPA cargo volume: middle-row folded and third-row out-81.7cu.ft.
  • Third-row folded-43cu.ft./behind third-row-16.1cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 5,765lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 13mpg/city, 18mpg/highway
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