With its 60th anniversary of production behind it, and over 50 years of U.S. distribution under its (loosened) belt, an updated Toyota Land Cruiser heads to Carl Sandburg’s City of the Big Shoulders with – you guessed it – big shoulders, along with a host of functional (for Chicago’s “tool makers”) and cosmetic enhancements (presumably for what Sandburg referred to as Chicago’s “painted women”) designed to extract as many dollars as possible from its upscale, urban clientele.
Initially known for its stone-axe simplicity, today’s Land Cruiser has evolved into an 8-passenger people carrier with little to distinguish it from its Lexus cousin beyond the better coffee available in Lexus showrooms. For the early intro of its 2013 derivative the big Toyota receives an updated grill and headlamps, along with LED daytime running lights, chrome side molding and redesigned outside mirrors and tail lamps.
Happily (if only for our word count) the inside updates are more substantive. Available in either Sandstone or Black, refinements include a perforated leather trim with ventilated front seats, a higher gloss wood grain finish, brightened silver instrument panel ‘ornamentation’ and chrome-plated registers. In short, if it can be brightened or ‘blinged’ it has been. Functionally, a Multi-terrain Monitor with front, side or rear selectable views should prove helpful if, by some off-beat chance, you take the road less taken. That, of course, references a poem by Robert Frost.
Notably, the Land Cruiser marketing team is incorporating all of these added features on the standard equipment sheet. And that sheet includes an expansive performance and safety menu, including Toyota’s 5-speed CRAWL control with Off-Road Turn Assist; Multi-Terrain Select; Multi-Terrain Anti-lock Brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution; Trailer Sway Control and a retuned suspension.
Arriving at Toyota dealers in February, the new Land Cruiser looks to be a credible reentry into the still large and more luxurious SUV segment.