2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota's iconic Land Cruiser gains new features for 2013

The Toyota Land Cruiser marks the 60th anniversary of its introduction in Japan this year in addition to being a long-established favorite of residents of the Rocky Mountain highlands for over 50 years. Now in its 10th generation, the Land Cruiser returns with slight style enhancements, new performance and safety upgrades plus popular options becoming standard equipment.

Land Cruiser has evolved over six decades from a basic four-wheel-drive utility vehicle to an upscale eight-passenger SUV sold throughout the world. It maintains a connection with its passionate followers by retaining its off-road acumen and ain’t-no-mountain-high-enough, all-terrain capability.

For 2013, Land Cruiser receives exterior and interior styling enhancements in addition to many popular features formerly available only as options are now standard. Among these are rear-seat DVD entertainment, rear spoiler, rain-sensing wipers, console cooler, headlamp wipers, leather-wrapped steering wheel, voice/Bluetooth hands-free controls, a leather-trimmed shifter and heated second row seats. Toyota’s Premium Hard Drive Navigation with Entune and an awesome JBL audio system are also now standard.

On the outside the 2013 Land Cruiser gets a new grille and headlamps with HID low beams, LED Daytime Running Lights, plus redesigned sideview mirrors and taillights. Front and rear fenders are enlarged, in keeping with the vehicle’s rugged spirit. Foam-filled A-pillars plus a molding between the windshield and body help keep out wind noise. Underbody panels have been added behind the front bumper and running under the engine and beyond the rear wheels protects the engine and transmission when traversing rocky terrain. These panels improve aerodynamics minimizing drag and turbulence.

Inside an updated interior comes in either Sandstone or Black treatments on perforated leather trimmed and ventilated front seats. A high gloss wood grain finish, bright silver instrument ornamentation, chrome-plated air registers and new gauge lighting have also been added. Notable upgrades include a Multi-terrain Monitor with front, side or rear selectable views; heated steering wheel; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; an extra power outlet (DC 12V) behind the center console; and a rear deck AC 120V outlet.

The SUV seats up to eight, with seating three-across in both rear rows. The instrument panel features Optitron gauges with white illumination. The info display shows gear selection, odometer, tripmeter, fuel consumption, individual tire pressures and cruising range. A gated shifter with sequential operation, parking brake, cooler box, USB port and cup holders are all located in the center console.

The outer second-row seats feature a one-touch tumble mechanism for easier third-row access. The second-row seats are adjustable 4.1 inches for comfort and cargo storage.

Under the hood, the Land Cruiser features a 5.7-liter V8 DOHC engine producing 381 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 401 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm, with 90 percent of peak torque available at just 2,200 rpm, allowing exceptional towing capability. The Land Cruiser uses regular-grade (87 AKI) gasoline and is ULEV-II certified. A water-chilled oil cooler helps control oil temperature while towing.

The Land Cruiser’s six-speed automatic transmission is designed to handle high torque, performing with unexcelled smoothness. Fourth gear is direct drive and both fifth and sixth gears are overdrives. The transmission's control unit estimates road conditions to select the appropriate gear ratio for the vehicle's speed and driving conditions.

On the road, the vehicle’s body-on-frame construction delivers rugged durability for extreme conditions, superior towing capability and surface insulation. The front has three-stage crumple zones, to minimize frame damage to other areas in the event of frontal impact. The Land Cruiser’s double-wishbone front-suspension system uses gas-pressure shock absorbers, a hollow stabilizer bar and coil springs. At the rear, the reliable and proven four-link, coil-spring with lateral-rod format provides a long suspension stroke and also features gas-pressure shock absorbers and a hollow stabilizer bar.

The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) adjusts the lean resistance provided by the front and rear stabilizer bars, reducing maximum body sway by as much as 50 percent. Using hydraulic cylinders on each stabilizer bar linked by a pressure-sensitive valve, KDSS modifies the degree of stiffness provided by the stabilizer bars in response to changing road conditions and driver inputs. When an uneven surface is encountered, one cylinder causes fluid to flow between the front and rear cylinders, allowing the stabilizer bars to move freely. This action increases wheel articulation and travel, also helping to equalize wheel loading.

The new Multi-terrain Selector dials in wheel slip control to match the terrain. In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.

The 2013 Land Cruiser is shod with P285/60 R18 mud-and-snow steel-belted radial tires mounted on new 18 x 8.0-inch aluminum alloy wheels with a full-size spare. The SUV utilizes 13.4-inch ventilated discs with four-piston calipers up front and 13.6-inch ventilated discs at the rear. Variable gear ratio power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering requires just 3.1 turns lock-to-lock. Gear ratio is set larger around the steering center and smaller around the end position.

A new five-speed CRAWL Control with an Off-Road Turn Assist feature helps make traversing difficult terrain easier. With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of five low-speed settings. The Off-Road Turn Assist feature pulses the rear corner brakes to help the vehicle make sharper turns when maneuvering through tight quarters on rugged terrain. Downhill Assist Control is added to augment the low-speed descending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with practically no driver input. Hill-start Assist Control provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.

For towing convenience, the Land Cruiser has a towing connector and sub-wiring harness to hook up a commercial trailer-brake controller. New on the Land Cruiser is a Trailer Sway Control using the Vehicle Stability Control to counteract handling forces to minimize the impact of trailer sway.

The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser stands ready to take you to the highest, roughest places the Gore Range can provide. When you make your first outing, gives us a call – we’d love to tag along for another look at the world above the tree line.

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It sure would be nice if the US had a choice between the petrol and diesel engines in the 200 series models.