I’m not saying the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is a terrible SUV — it’s actually not half bad. It does standard SUV things decently enough. It’ll go off-road, haul a family in comfort, fit gear for a weekend and, with a 8,500-lbs towing capacity, it can even bring a few toys along for when you get wherever you’re going.
Realistically speaking, if you’re in the market for a new Toyota overlander or camping vessel, you’re probably looking at the Toyota 4Runner because, compared to the Land Cruiser, its big brother, you’ll save at least $40,000. If it’s a luxurious land yacht you’re after, I can guarantee the similarly priced Mercedes GLS or Range Rover Sport don’t have nearly as much plastic and rubber laid out in the interior. And neither of those cars have gone ten years without an update. For $85,000 you can hop in a 2019 Land Cruiser and remember what 2008 was like.
The original Land Cruiser was a stripped out overlander, through and through. It competed against the Jeep, the Bronco and the Defender — and kept them honest. But talk to any serious overlanding enthusiasts and they’ll quickly point out that the 4Runner has taken up that mantle in recent years. It’s entirely capable off-road and when you do take it into the dirty stuff you don’t have to worry about soft, expensive leather getting soiled and torn. In the Toyota range, the Sequoia, which uses the same 5.7-liter engine as the Land Cruiser, fits the roomy, semi-luxurious bill — for only $49,000. At that price, it’ll sting a lot less knowing you have the same infotainment setup as a Rav4. What Toyota effectively did over the years is create two trucks — the 4Runner and Sequoia — that were better at being both the things the Land Cruiser is intended to be, and then sold them each for nearly half the price.
To say nothing more about its own brand relatives, at $85,000 for a Land Cruiser, Toyota has priced itself out of the competition. Compounding the problem (though this works in your favor if you’re still itching for a J200 generation Land Cruiser) are Land Cruiser resale values. The problem is not at all that they’re low-quality vehicles; they’re not. But the second-hand market simply communicates more accurate prices — the Land Cruiser should cost around $30,000 under what it does now.