Premium large SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $42,500 – $61,000*


2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Front


2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Rear


2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Interior


2008 Toyota Land Cruiser Profile

Pros:
  • Interior materials
  • Front- and second-row seat room/comfort
  • Quietness
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy
  • Price

The first redesigned Land Cruiser in 10 years improves upon its legendary off-road capabilities while maintaining its impressive on-road manners and luxurious accommodations. Inconvenient passenger-to-cargo conversion and a steep price hike made it a good new-vehicle value only to high-rolling off-roaders and Land Cruiser loyalists. Used-vehicle prices may be more appealing, but these are far from budget-priced SUVs.

Overview

Redesigned for 2008, Toyota’s large Land Cruiser sport-utility vehicle got freshened styling and more power in a similar-sized package that retained eight-passenger seating. The lone model had a 381-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 and a six-speed automatic transmission. That powertrain replaced a 265-hp V8 with five-speed automatic.

All-wheel drive with low-range gearing and locking center differential returned, but other newly standard features aimed toward severe off-road use. They included Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which could vary roll stiffness and allow greater wheel articulation; Hill-start Assist Control, to keep the vehicle from rolling backward on an incline; and CRAWL Control, which allowed the driver to select one of three very slow preset speeds that the vehicle would automatically maintain on declines. No longer offered was a height-adjustable suspension.

Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags with rollover deployment, front side airbags, and second-row side airbags. Also included were driver and passenger front knee airbags. Options included a navigation system, backup camera, remote engine start, DVD entertainment, and rear-seat heaters. Rivals included the Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Land Cruiser lent its basic design to the forthcoming Lexus LX 570 from Toyota’s luxury division.

Yearly Updates

2009 Land Cruiser
No major changes were evident on the 2009 Land Cruiser other than new privacy glass for side and rear-quarter windows.
2010 Land Cruiser
The 2010 Toyota Land Cruiser was largely unchanged.
2011 Land Cruiser
The 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser is largely unchanged.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

Each Land Cruiser holds a 5.7-liter V8 engine that generates 381 horsepower, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 381
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 401
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

13/18

Road Test

Toyota’s new powertrain results in strong off-the-line punch and good passing power, helped by the transmission’s quick kickdowns and smooth shifts. Additional power also yields increased maximum towing capacity, from 6500 pounds to 8500 pounds.

As expected, fuel economy ranks as meager, with an EPA estimate of 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway. An equivalent Lexus LX 570 averaged only 14.1 mpg. Toyota recommends regular-grade gasoline.

Land Cruiser clearly ranks among the best large SUVs with any kind of off-road prowess. As a rule, the suspension smothers bumps with little disturbance or undue bobbing.

Body lean is fairly well-controlled, though the high seating position amplifies what tipping takes place in fast corners. The variable-ratio steering has good feel and “quickens” the farther you get off-center. Combined with a fairly tight turning radius, that results in good maneuverability for such a large vehicle.

Wind, road, and engine noise are all well-controlled, even at highway speeds, making the Land Cruiser as quiet as some luxury cars. Mufflers have a valve that opens under full throttle to reduce back pressure and increase power. When that happens, the exhaust note changes to a muted growl.

Large gauges are clearly marked and easy to see. Turn-signal and wiper levers move with typical Toyota smoothness, as do other switches. All audio, climate, and navigation controls are mounted high on the dashboard within easy reach. The available navigation system absorbs the radio’s station-select buttons and some of the automatic climate control functions, though temperature and fan speed are separate. Although this complicates some adjustments, the virtual buttons for both systems can be easily called up on the dashboard’s touch-screen. They’re simple to decipher and use. Besides, redundant station-select and volume buttons are on the steering wheel.

Virtually every surface that can be is richly padded except the console. Most materials would look at home in a luxury sedan. Workmanship is similarly impressive.

Large, comfortable front seats with plenty of adjustments combine with a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and ample headroom/legroom for first-class accommodations. Visibility is satisfactory except to the rear corners, particularly with the third-row seats stowed. The standard rear-obstacle detection helps. So does the optional (with navigation system) rearview camera, if installed. Entry/exit is easy enough, though the lack of available running boards might make it more difficult for shorter folks.

Rear-seat accommodations also impress, with plenty of headroom and legroom on comfortable seats that can fit three across in a pinch. However, foot space is tight unless the front seats are raised. Passengers get their own audio and climate controls. As in front, the step-in height is reasonable; though with no running boards available, it might offer a challenge to children. Second-row seats slide fore/aft about three inches; they need to be forward if third-row passengers are to have much legroom. The third row is fairly easy to access and promises good headroom, but toe space is scarce and the low cushion forces anyone other than small children into a knees-up position.

Cargo space is a sore spot. Going from eight-passenger seating to maximum cargo space isn’t as easy as in most SUVs. Oddly, Toyota retained the Land Cruiser’s inconvenient side-stowing split third-row seat, the halves of which cannot be easily removed and are quite heavy. If left in place, each half can be stowed against its respective side wall. But doing so requires removing the headrest, folding the seat, and then swinging it up against the wall. That leaves only a narrow cargo area in the middle, and the folded seats block visibility to the rear corners. Second-row seats fold easily. Interior storage is quite good, with large, two-tiered glove and console boxes, a pair of covered console cupholders, and large map pockets with cupholders.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 8
80%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 9
90%
Room/Comfort Rear - 8
80%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 65

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
112.2 194.9 77.6 74.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
81.7 24.6 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 38.9 42.3 36.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A Not tested. 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Hard starting
Description: The engine may not crank or may start and immediate quit when using the “Push Start” switch and an improved switch is now available. (2008)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak near the bottom of the engine is likely due to a bad O-ring on the dipstick tube. (2008-09)
Oil pump
Description: The oil filter cover (cap) on hybrid engines is easily damaged unless the special service tool is used to remove it during service. (2008-09)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The moon roof may not auto-close requiring reinitialization. (2008-09)
None
Description: The accessory drive belt may make noise and a new belt tensioner is needed to correct the problem. (2008)

Recall History

2008-2011 Land Cruiser
Description: When factory-installed wheels and tires were replaced with Toyota authorized accessory wheels and LT tires prior to first sale, the tire pressure monitoring systems were not re-calibrated correctly and therefore do not start illuminating the low tire pressure warning telltale at the required minimum activation pressure.
2008-2011 Land Cruiser
Description: Accelerator pedal can get stuck in the wide open position if it is trapped by an unsecured or incompatible floor mat.
2011 Land Cruiser
Description: Inaccurate label lists an inaccurate amount of allowable added weight.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.