The Toyota Land Cruiser, as we know it, will not be arriving in the United States from 2022 onwards, so the 2021 model year Land Cruiser is your last chance to buy a brand new J200. Does that mean you should buy one? No. Aside from other more sensible SUV options with Toyota badges, the 2021 Lexus LX 570 is the luxury SUV you really want.
By the numbers
Toyota unplugging Land Cruisers bound for the United States will come as no surprise to anyone keeping tabs on sales figures. The legendary nameplate has struggled to sell more than 3,000 units per year over the past decade. The Lexus LX, on the other hand – which is essentially the same car but with a premium badge and a slightly higher price tag – sold 24,924 units in 2021 alone. That’s all the justification Toyota needs.
Even when you park the two behemoths next to each other and look at the stats sheet, it’s hard to justify choosing the Toyota. The Land Cruiser comes with a base price of $ 87,030, while the three-row version of the LX costs $ 91,930. There’s also the two-row version of the LX which sells for a relative bargain of $ 86,930.
For that price, the Lexus gives you more modern styling, a significantly improved premium interior with better leather upholstery and metal switchgear on the console. Under the hood, both SUVs have the same 5.7-liter V8 that sends 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. And at 6,100 lbs, you’ll need that power to get moving.
The Land Cruiser and the LX 570 are both famed as giant shopping mall robots, and rightly so. Facts are facts and the majority of owners of both SUVs rarely take them off-road, which is a shame as the shared mechanical chassis technology makes them incredibly capable.
The LX 570 also has an interior brake lock device to help tighten the turning radius, a locking center differential, and four different off-road modes that automatically adjust the height of the suspension. Whatever trail one goes down, the other can easily follow it.
Unfortunately, the LX 570 shows its weakness on the pavement, especially on the highway. The direct rear axle is a treat for off-road enthusiasts, but at highway speeds it contributes to a slight whim. Add to that the numb steering feel and the LX doesn’t feel as stable as a 2.5 ton SUV should on the highway.
Very outdated infotainment system
It seems incredible that in 2021 a brand new SUV doesn’t have a touchscreen or Apple CarPlay, but here we are. While driving the LX, the infotainment system was a constant reminder of how outdated the setup was and showing ineffective design flaws, circa the early 2010s. The presence of a CD player only adds to the feeling.
Having consistently signaled the Land Cruiser’s inevitable departure from American shores, one of the staunchest arguments in favor of the Toyota has been “it’s luxury you can take off-road.” Having driven both the Land Cruiser and the LX, and given their price differences as well as the physical differences, it’s hard to justify not spending the extra money for the much more enjoyable experience Lexus offers. If you’re spending $ 90,000 on an SUV and you can’t be deterred by Toyota engineering, there is only one smart choice. Spoiler: This is not the Land Cruiser.
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