2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition Review — On- and Off-Road Test Drive

Toyota Land Cruiser is an iconic offroader
that’s been around for more than 60 years. During that time, a
lot of its competition has morphed into crossovers,
but the Land Cruiser remains a dependable
offroad vehicle that’s ready for adventure. We’re here in the
mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, to
see what makes it so special. But before we get
into that, remember to use Edmunds next time you’re
ready to buy a car, truck, or SUV, and click Subscribe
for more videos like this one. In 1960, the FJ-40 got the
ball rolling in North America. This two-door Jeep-like vehicle
with a removable hard top introduced us all to Toyota’s
bulletproof reliability and offroad knowhow. The FJ-55 came in 1967. This is the FJ that
was designed to be a four-door wagon
from the outset, and its design was
heavily influenced by the requirements
of the North American and Australian markets. The FJ-60 was
rolled out in 1980, and was a further refined
model with a better interior, more power, and more gears. The term “sports utility”
was just getting popular, and this Land
Cruiser was designed to have even broader appeal. The 1990s was the
era of the FJ-80. And by this time, the
alphanumeric codes were Greek– or I should say, geek– to most people. I’m in an 80-series
Land Cruiser. They have several older
cruisers to choose from, and I picked the
80 series because I used to own one of these. And I put about 100,000 miles
on it, and I regret selling it. It was a great truck. And the thing about it
is, when it came out, it was kind of a
notorious mall wagon. And that was because it came
out right when the SUV craze was at its peak and
everybody was buying the biggest SUVs they could. So a lot of people bought
these and just drove them around town. But the thing is, this is one
of the best ones for offroad use because it’s solid
axle front and rear. It’s got triple
lockers available. And coil spring suspension,
not leaf spring suspension, so it’s easy to
mod, easy to lift. It’s really capable,
even if people did think of it as a mall wagon. Now that I’ve driven
this a little bit, I got to have another one. The FJ-100 was first
sold here in 1998 and it broke a
lot of new ground. It was the first Land
Cruiser with a V8. All previous ones
had a straight six. It was the first with
independent front suspension instead of a solid front
axle, and the first with rack and pinion steering instead
of recirculating ball. All of this made it
better for street use, but it still had the
offroad chops to outdo what was left of its
full-size SUV competition. And that brings us
to the 200 series, which has been with us
for over a dozen years. This is a truck we
know well, and Toyota is celebrating over 60 years
of Land Cruiser success with this Heritage Edition. There’s a lot of
changes on this truck, but the one I like the
most is this badge here. It’s the same one you’ll see
on the oldest FJs on the road or in any museum. It’s really cool. Other changes include
BDS-forged alloy wheels, no running boards,
and this roof rack. Other changes are
merely cosmetic. The mirrors are blacked out. So are the backgrounds
for the headlights. And there’s a darker
chrome on the grill and these fog light surrounds. But then there’s
changes inside, too. Inside, you’ll find special
perforated black leather seats with contrast stitching
that matches the wheels. The cooler box has been deleted
from the center console, and you may wonder
why they did that. It’s because they got
rid of the third row seat to make more room
for gear, such as a cooler or a plug-in refrigerator. One thing I really like
about the Land Cruiser, and a lot of people do,
is this tailgate setup. You can get stuff out
without anything falling out, or you can open it
for easier access, or sit here and tie your boots. And with the third row deleted,
it’s just a ton of space. I’m a big fan of the 5.7-liter
V8 that powers the Land Cruiser. It’s got a lot of
power, a lot of torque. The 8-speed automatic
that comes with it just gives it all
the right moves when it comes to shifting. And there’s just no problem. It could tow 8,100 pounds, too,
so this is no slouch at all. It is, though, a
little bit thirsty– 14 miles per gallon combined. 13 city, 17 highway. You’re going to be pouring
some gas into this thing. This particular
generation of Land Cruiser has rack and pinion steering and
independent front suspension, and they combine to make
it a great daily driver. The Land Cruiser’s
really easy to steer, and the driving
position gives you a commanding view of the road. But it’s not perfect. I wish the seat went
down a little bit more and the steering wheel could
telescope out towards me just a little bit. I feel like I am
reaching for it, and the steering
wheel feels like it’s in my lap a little bit. I’m not as impressed with
the infotainment interface. It’s got a great
big touchscreen, but the graphics
are kind of dated, and it doesn’t support Apple
Car Play or Android Auto. Those two systems got added to
the 4Runner and Tacoma systems this year, and they really
transformed the experience. But here, it feels a decade old. We’re in an offroad park
outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, and we’re going up a little
bit of a rocky hill right now. This is steep enough to
put it in low range, which is easy to do. But it’s not really going to
push this car to its limits. Oh, I better not say car– push this Land
Cruiser to its limits. The thing that we
might notice is that the stock mudflaps
do tend to rub on rocks, but it’s no harm, no foul. This truck has several
features that give it great offroad capability. Its suspension layout– it’s
got a five-length coil rear suspension, independent upfront. That part is debatable,
but it works well. But what’s going on is it’s
a full-time four-wheel drive machine with torsion center
differential that you can lock. On the pavement,
it’s unlocked, and it distributes torque 40% to
the front, 60% to the rear. In a situation like this,
you can push this button. You can lock it. Or if you put it in low range,
it automatically locks it. There are other things,
such as crawl control, which is a low-speed cruise
control that works uphill or down, forward or reverse. There’s also a
multi-train select that reconfigures
the traction control for different types of terrain. But the thing that
I really like is something called Kinematic
Dynamic Suspension System, which is easier to say as KDSS. And that’s a set
of stabilizer bars that can sense
when you’re offroad and basically disappear. They disconnect using
the hydraulic mechanism so you have maximum
articulation. Then when you get
back on the pavement, they reconnect and you’ve got
great control of body roll, even on a winding road. The tires on this vehicle
are all-season, all-terrain. They’re good. I’m not having
any problems here. I think if you were going
to offroad full time, you’d probably look for
something with a little bit more traction. But the size is good. And these are really
nice forged BDS wheels. I’d hate to replace those
because they’re really special. But yeah, you might
want more traction if you did this all the time. But if you’re going to do
it occasionally on roads like this, they’re fine. One of the things
the Land Cruiser has that a 4Runner
doesn’t, for example, is something they
call turn assist. It’s a button here,
and when you want to make a really tight
turn, what it does is it clamps onto
the inside rear brake and that helps
the turning radius in a really tight situation. And it’s really a nice little
tool to have in your tool box. And that’s really what it is. When you have an
offroad vehicle, the more things you can deploy
in different situations, the more enjoyable
and trouble-free your experience is going to be. The Heritage Edition,
which is what we’re in now, has a few changes
that are targeted at the person who might
take it offroad more than the average person. The contours of the front
and rear bumper covers are the same as a
regular Land Cruiser, so you still have the
same approach, departure, and breakover angle underneath. And those are all good
numbers to begin with, and they’re still the same here. What’s different about this that
helps the offroader is they’ve eliminated the sidesteps. Now, if you’re
the kind of person who drives in the street,
the city all the time, you may not like that move. But if you’re an offroader,
you like that move. The Land Cruiser’s mission has
changed a little bit over time. It started out as a
rough-and-tumble, dedicated offroader. And over time, it’s become
more and more family-oriented, but at the same time,
keeping really outstanding offroad performance for
a vehicle that can take the family out on an adventure. Of late, a type of
offroading that goes by the name of overlanding
has cropped up, and the Land Cruiser
fits into that mold really nicely because it’s got
the room to haul your gear. It’s got offroad performance
that’ll get you most places. It’s not a Jeep
Wrangler Rubicon, so it’s not ultimate
in terms of that. It’s not single-minded. It’s a good all-round
vehicle that has a very solid
offroad foundation, and a good ability to carry
equipment and people there and back, again,
without breaking down. This is a premium vehicle,
and it’s priced accordingly. But if you look at the prices
of a lot of large SUVs– like you get a loaded
Denali, GMC, or an Escalade, or even spend a lot of money
on something like a Suburban, or an Expedition, and you’ll
be in the same price territory as one of these. It’s a lot more expensive
than, say, a 4Runner. But the Land Cruiser has always
been aimed at a more premium audience. They’re not trying to
sell 100,000 of these. They’re trying to sell
a certain number that appeals to a premium
buyer who’s looking for the ultimate
offroad nameplate. It’s kind of a rare vehicle. They don’t have an
unlimited number to sell, and that’s because
Land Cruisers are made for all over the world. They’re sold in many,
many world markets. So we’re in one
of many countries that’s getting an
allocation out of one plant. And that kind of plays into
Land Cruiser’s mystique. It’s a rare, special vehicle
that you don’t see every day. What have we learned here today? Well, the Land Cruiser remains
a comfortable daily driver and it’s a capable
offroader for those looking for a little adventure. As for the Heritage
special edition, there’s quite a few changes
that give it a nod to the past, but also increase
its functionality for those who would
really take it offroad. I really like it. Do you? Let us know in the comments. And remember to use
Edmonds next time you’re in the market for
a car, truck, or SUV. And for more videos like
this, click Subscribe.


  1. I love my 200, but I would skip the Heritage Edition. The running boards are easy to remove (I've replaced mine with rock sliders). The third row can be removed in 15 minutes with hand tools. That roof rack adds a lot of noise and wind resistance in a truck that already gets poor fuel economy. And I really like the Coolbox in the center console — on long trips across country I always have a cold bottle of water available. The BBS wheels are nice, but I wouldn't spend $3k for them.

    The main disappointment I have is that Toyota didn't replace the infotainment system. Toyota, if you are reading this, put CarPlay into the Land Cruiser and will trade in my 2013.

  2. I give the LC full respects but unfortunately, it is beyond my budget and needs. A 4Runner TRD Sport with a few options is good enough for me.

  3. A new Land Cruiser is $76K while an Escalade is $64K on cars dot com. While a 2009 with less than150,000 miles the LC is $26K and a Escalade is $17K.  A new LX570 3-row is $92K while a 2009 is $27K.
    So the LC drops $50K and the Escalade only drops $48K.  Toyota LC is not luxurious and should not have that depreciation compared to another luxury marque.the LX is more like a luxury vehicle in it’s high depreciation of $65 in the last decade.

  4. Great review- I have a black Heritage Edition ordered and arriving in late December. Elimination of the 3rd row, extra storage versus cooling box, deleting the running boards and side body molding makes it more appealing. Apple car play or Android auto- could care less, Pandora and/or ITunes will do just fine connecting through the media option. I’ll pay more to fill up the tank multiple times versus owning unreliable SUV’s, the net expense favors the LC versus the competition. The roof rack is detachable by the way.

  5. Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System… Nice looking ride, I didn't hear mention of the price? But… if it has a premium price tag, I'd certainly consider a 4runner TRD PRO.

  6. I love the Land Cruiser but that price is what kills it for me and probably most people. Bring us either a stripped down version or some of the other LC models we don't get in the USA and price it around 60k. I bet they will sell like crazy then! It seems to me CNBC just had a video about this exact thing if anyone wants to watch it. Love the SUV but at that price range, the average American just can't afford it or would even want to.

  7. If it wasn't in 4wd all the time maybe the fuel mileage wold be more acceptable . I mean come on. The average one wiill spend 98% of its life on road like everything else

  8. The land cruiser is one of the largest cars you can buy in the UK. Feels incredibly heavy and is not very fuel efficient but man I feel like a boss driving it.

  9. Toyota got the nuts and bolts right on the LC long ago, and then they sat on it as a cash cow. Too bad it doesn't have a more economical (but still reliable) engine or cabin support that is up to the current standard.

  10. Love the LC and all that it stands for. I hope it never disappears because it has so much history behind it. Even though I can afford an 85k vehicle, buying one for 40k more than an equally capable 4runner with an added front locker just to get it scratched and dirty off road is a tough sell. The towing capacity is the only real advantage honestly.

  11. fj100? weird to hear that. nerd alert, its uzj100. they did make a 100 series built on what is essentially an 80 series chassis called the fzj105, though never in the US. A note on kdss – it doesn't disconnect anything, its "constant mesh" so to speak. The only reason its important to say that is because it works BETTER than a sway bar disconnect. for one its never in or out, so there are no faults and no waiting for alignment and far more reliable. for another unlike a sway bar disconnect which allows the springs to do all the work, KDSS actually forces the wheels apart reducing the effective spring force resisting up travel and adding to spring force to the down travel side. Lastly its an asset on the road because it allows for a very thick sway bar to be used, since its effectively canceled out off road, but locked by natural dynamics on the corners.

    Its a clever system and props to the aussies for creating it.

  12. I've had 4 Land Cruiser. The best SUV on the road and 100% reliable. My current LC Series 200 has over 110,000 miles and has never had a failure – not a sensor, not a window motor, nothing.
    I have been very excited about the Heritage Edition with one exception. I get enormous use of the cooler box. It's a great feature on long trips. Not sure I understand the logic. But aside from that, the Heritage Edition looks fantastic. Off road, the car has no competitor. Far superior to anything on the market at it's price point.

  13. It makes me wonder how 3.5l V6 would work on LC200. Not all people want to tow. I think V8 scares lots of buyers.

    4Runner is not available in most countries, and Prado (LC150) comes with a barn door – hard to use in countries like Japan with a lack of space in car parks.

    I really like all Toyota BOF products, too bad Toyota limits availability depending on the country.

  14. You know this is a Mall Wagon set up. This truck needs a lift kit and a set of mickey Thompson’s and it would eat anything ahead of it. Before doing the review you should gone to a tyre shop dude. So people will buy a set off road tyres and swap them out when using it in town. Which is what people do. The Landcruiser mission has never changed. The vehicle marketed in the US has become lame. The outside world versions are beefier.

  15. Toyota would sell these like hotcakes if they offered an industrial/fleet model stripped down with rubber floors, cloth seats and roll up windows and a manual transmission.

    Lose the luxury.

  16. What about the HJ models????
    Why are Americans so silly that they don't chose diesel four wheel drives?

    Surely Americans aren't that dumb – Oh wait Trump I forgot.

  17. No third row seat 😳. Some with families need that, also it looks too simple because there’s no flares or running boards and For that price, mind as well get the Lexus version.. we know the sales have dropped dramatically, but they’re not helping the brand with design. 😢

  18. If someone wants a great restoration project platform and get advantage of the 25 year import law we have here in Nicaragua great options of Land Cruiser J40, J60, J70, J80 mostly all with powerful Toyota Diesel Engines. Send me a Whatsapp +50589734325

  19. The 200 series is a great vehicle and will satisfy most. On day one of my ownership the 3rd row seats came out! The cool box is great and I would be sad loosing it. This is a do it all SUV with the family or off roader in mind. Can't see the extra $$$ for the heritage edition.

  20. Hey Dan, I don't think the center differential locks automatically in low range. I need to be in low range with the center differential unlocked in order for turn assist to work in my 2018.

  21. Very Good Review!

    We got our Black Heritage in late October. My wife absolutely loves it. (Me too)

    No third row seat, no cool box, no running boards and no entertainment system is exactly what we were looking for.

    This is our adventure rig and will not see much mall or big box store action.

    So far, we installed a clear bra covering the entire front, replaced the tires with Toyo Open Country AT II (p metric XL load) and got some step rock sliders being built.

    I think the Apple car play stuff is over rated. I had it in my previous vehicle and to be honest I didn’t care for it.

    So, this vehicle is extraordinary and if you can find one, You should BUY IT!

  22. If the 22nd century is the wasted world, Suzuki Jimny or Land Cruiser will be a necessity.

    A natural disaster and a war can't be predicted. Before a situation becomes serious, I'll want Land Cruiser right now.

  23. Who gives a shit about Android Auto, and Apple Car Play ! I'm in a Land Cruiser, and I want adventure.. Bluetooth is all you need..

  24. Still own a 1983 FJ60. Just bought a white Heritage Edition. Took 10 minutes and no tools to remove the top basket. Love the absence of the 3rd row seat, and minimal carpeting behind the 2nd row seat. Just wish it had a diesel engine.

  25. A tree just fell on my 2016 this week during an ice storm. Not a branch – a tree. I drove it to the body shop yesterday to dust off some bumps and bruises. I guess it's broken in now. I might sell it half a million miles from now, but then again I might not.

  26. I have a 91 80 series, a 98 100 series and a 2008 200 series. First years for each of those three models. They are all my favorites.

  27. While watching this vid, my 4-yr-old son said he liked this car and he wanted to replace our Subaru with this. I felt that this could be a perfect excuse to convince my wife to buy a new car until I checked the price…

  28. The fact that this is full-time 4wd, is a deal breaker. The Land Cruiser, was never supposed to be awd. It was supposed to be a fantastic Jack-of-all-trades, with an emphasis on higher-end luxury (as of late, if course. Originally, it was more off road focused).

    Two wheel, four wheel, hi/low, range, with lockers. Why they would take that away from it is aggravating.

  29. “It’s not a Jeep Rubicon” please Edmunds find someone that actually does off-roading…
    The only people who actually make this statements are the ones who never do off-road stuff.
    The Toyota LandCruiser is the king of the hill the best off-road vehicle.

  30. The LC is my dream vehicle. I have a young family and dream about getting an LC and exploring the United States. I really hope that Toyota doesn’t cancel the 300 series LC in the USA, that would be an absolute shame.

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