2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition Review

Toyota's priciest vehicle says goodbye


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Tougher than a bag of nails, looks great with added features and badging, moves faster than you think it could, deletion of third-row drops significant weight.
Negatives: Choppy ride, deletion of the third row limits passenger capacity down to five, the ergonomics of an anvil, the weight of a giant anvil.
Bottom Line: The final chapter in the Land Cruiser saga is coming to an end, and the Heritage Edition is a tasteful way to say goodbye. Less opulent than the less-expensive base model, it looks tougher, drives a little better, and still manages to make us a bit wistful to see the old bird go.
The Land Cruiser isn't long for this world, and that's too bad. It's a bona fide off-roader that's got solid levels of comfort and luxury. Toyota's sendoff is the Heritage Edition that ditches the third-row seats, running boards, two cupholders, the cooler box, and semi-aniline leather. But it doest get some sweet gold BBS wheels, Heritage badging, and a badass roof rack, so it looks just a tad more special than its base brother. We drove it for a week in the worst of Chicago winters. Read our full review and likely our last one of the Toyota Land Cruiser. Details are below.
 

Driving Experience

6.6

 

The Land Cruiser is rock solid, and it actually drives better than you think it would thanks to the good steering, rock-solid (but dated) chassis, and the hydraulic suspension. It's also pretty powerful, aided by the weight loss from the deletion of the third-row seats. The Multi-Terrain System and the great suspension setup means this beast will go just about anywhere you need it to go.

Ride Quality: For the most part, the Land Cruiser is good on pavement, but it can get a bit choppy due to its truck platform.

Acceleration: The Land Cruiser's 381 horses move it to 60 mph in seven seconds. That's fast for something this big. The transmission works well, and the throttle response is good.

Braking: The brake pedal was a bit mushy at the top, but it manages to handle the Land Cruiser's weight well.

Steering: The steering is quite good for a vehicle like this. While it's not super-precise, turn in is good, and there's a good amount of effort.

Handling: This is still a heavy vehicle, but it handles its weight well. Just don't push it into turns with too much verve.

Technology

7.7

 

The Land Cruiser got updated in terms of tech, but it's still a bit of a dinosaur. Most of the cost of the beast is in the mechanicals, as opposed to the in-car entertainment.

Infotainment System:The 9.0-inch touchscreen is clear, but it still has a dated UI.

Controls: Buttons and knobs are easy to access, and it's all fairly intuitive. The steering wheel controls work well, except for the audio volume and forward and reverse, which we though should be switched.

Styling

8

 

The Land Cruiser Heritage Edition ups the flair of the big SUV. Thanks to the gold wheels, badging, and roof rack, this is the most coveted of modern Land Cruisers. It shows its age inside, however, since so much of it is blocky and upright. But most folks probably wouldn't have the Land Cruiser any other way.

Front: The Heritage Edition gets a slightly modified grille with more of an eggcrate pattern, but most folks just won't notice the difference. It looks tough and blocky without being overly busy.

Rear: It's a tall view from here, especially with the added roof rack. The huge bumper with giant outboard blocks where the reflectors are looks clumsy.

Profile: The gold BBS wheels and the Heritage badge on the D-pillar nail the look.

Cabin: The black interior is nice, along with the perforated leather. It's just getting a little bit old in here. At least materials quality and build quality are excellent.

Comfort

8.4

 

Even though the third row seats are gone, it's still an accommodating place for five people. The seats are big and plush, and there's plenty of room. Big windows make for easy sightlines, too.

Front Seats: Cushy and comfy with decent bolstering. We would've like a bit more thigh support.

Rear Seats: You can seat three tall adults in the second row, and the flat floor helps tremendously.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Land Cruiser is built solidly, and you can't hear any interior creaks or rattles. The only issue is the wind noise created by the roof rack. That could be annoying over long highway drives.

Visibility: The Land Cruiser has excellent visibility and a good driving position.

Climate: The system works very well with the climate control buttons well-placed and simple. Rear seat passengers were also comfortable with the quad-zone controls.

Safety

7.5

 

The Land Cruiser has a great set of safety tech, but it hasn't been tested by either testing body due to its small target market and high price. It is, however, well-appointed.

IIHS Rating: The Land Cruiser has not crash tested by the IIHS.

Standard Tech: The Land Cruiser benefits from a comprehensive suite of tech such as a blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, pre-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beams, adaptive cruise control.

Optional Tech: None available.

Storage/Cargo

7.5

 

The big guy makes cargo space gains behind the seats, but we just wish the cabin had better storage options, namely in the front. At least the armrest in the center console gets more space due to the loss of the cooler box. Although, you now have to drink warm beverages during the summer.

Storage Space: The center armrest gains space now that the cooler box is gone. Door pockets are decent. We just wish the center stack had a large binnacle.

Cargo Room: Cargo space jumps thanks to the elimination of the Land Cruiser's weird third row. Instead of 16 cubes behind row three, the Land Cruiser Heritage gets 43 cubes behind the second row and a total of 81.7 cubes with the seats folded flat.

Fuel Economy

5.8

 

Efficiency is not it's strong suit, and it's still a heavy beast even though it's dropped some pounds compared to the base model. We had relatively low expectations, but it did slightly better than our previous 2017 tester.

Observed: 15.3 mpg.

Distance Driven:88 miles.

Audio

8.5

 

The 14-speaker JBL premium system sounded great, and it filled the cabin with plenty of rich sound, ample bass, and no distortion. It's also, thankfully, standard on the model..



Final Thoughts

The Land Cruiser Heritage Edition might seem cheesy at first (special editions can be that way), but we actually really enjoyed our time in it. It's hard to tell if it's due to nostalgia, because we are sad to see it go, or because it's actually that good. The Land Cruiser will make off-road and overlanding lovers swoon, and the Heritage touches give it a special look and feel. If you don't care too much about tech or gas mileage, you'll appreciate all that it's capable of. It's clearly the last of a dying breed with its truck chassis and its naturally-aspirated V8 engine, but it serves its people hauling and off-road duties well. It's the end of an era, and we'll certainly miss it.
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