Refreshed Toyota Land Cruiser: the long-running SUV keeps running for longer

Published: 12 September 2017

► Mild update for long-running mega-SUV
► Exterior tweaks improve off-road ability
► More luxury inside, revised cabin layout

The Toyota Land Cruiser is sold in nearly 200 countries worldwide and has become a byword for durability and off-road supremacy.

A model year update then hardly needs to be revolutionary – some new safety tech here, a bumper nip ‘n tuck there – and that’s exactly what this 2017 car delivers.

Do we get the V8 version now?

Were you not listening? Of course not – although this new car does get the larger steering wheel from the V8 model, so you can sit in the driver’s seat making duggadugga noises and pretend.

No. The UK Land Cruiser is resolutely powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with 175bhp, while Eastern European markets get a choice of 2.7-litre and 4.0-litre petrol engines.

Toyota Land Cruiser at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show

The D-4D unit we buy provides plenty of punch though, with 273lb ft of torque from 1,200rpm, and maximum twist of 332lb ft from 1,600rpm – that’s with the auto box; it’s slightly lower in the rev range with the manual.

This means a distinctly un-SQ7-like 0-62mph time of 12.7sec, while Toyota claims 38.2mpg and 194g/km CO2.

Does the new Land Cruiser look different?

Externally this update is described by Toyota as ‘more agile and dynamic’, two qualities that are famously difficult to quantify in sheet metal. Even if there is a lot of it to examine in this instance.

That said, structural changes include a 60mm increase in length, with new-look elements including the bonnet, grille, headlamps, bumper and wings, improving its appearance and boosting off-road ability.

Toyota Land Cruiser gets new look at Frankfurt 2017

For example the bonnet is now shaped to help visibility at the centre and the top of each wing is higher to help you locate the car’s extremities. The front grille and headlamps are higher up (all the better for off-road use, apparently) while the bonnet, wing line and front and rear bumpers are now aligned for a tougher posture.

Out back there are new bits including LED brake lights and a restyled bumper, plus a smaller rear garnish plate – which is not as delicious as it sounds.

Pick your Land Cruiser with 17-inch alloys and you now get a low-rolling resistance tyre, or there are high-gloss 18-inch rims, and new 12-spoke 19-inchers for maximum urban truck appeal.

What about inside?

Like the exterior it’s a case of tidy up rather than redesign, although you do now get the 8.0-inch Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia system.

New Toyota Land Cruiser interior

The front seats gain ventilation while the rears are now heated, plus there’s automatic climate control, electric heated windscreen, heated washer nozzles, reverse-tilting door mirrors and a new key design.

A new instrument binnacle and centre console design is said to be easier to use and more refined, and it certainly looked good on the car’s 2017 Frankfurt motor show stand.

Controls for the drivetrain and comfort have been grouped together in different zones for ease of use, and the top of the centre console stack is lower for better visibility off-road.

Is it still king of the mountains?

Toyota calls the Land Cruiser’s off-road ability peerless, but then itwould, wouldn’t it?

That said, the body-on-frame construction does lend itself to strength and durability, and the car’s all-terrain system has been designed to allow even unskilled drivers to make the most its off-road performance.

Suspension articulation of the new Toyota Land Cruiser

Since this update seems largely concerned with aesthetics, we reckon the disaster preppers among you have nothing to worry about – your zombie-proof vehicle of choice is still a proper off-roader.

You said something about enhanced safety tech…

Upmarket automatic Land Cruisers will new get Toyota’s Safety Sense technology to help prevent or mitigate accidents.

This is a comprehensive suite of pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beam. There is also a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and an upgraded tyre pressure warning system.

Click here for CAR’s A-Z of all the new cars that matter at the 2017 Frankfurt show

By Adam Binnie

Bauer Automotive's commercial content editor; likes bikes and burgers, often over-tyred