Updated: Apr 1, 2022
You are looking at the last of the Toyota Land Cruisers to be sold in America---for now, anyway.
After 63 years on sale in the U.S., the final 14 of those with only minimal changes, Toyota has decided the time has come. The world will get a new Land Cruiser. The United States will get only the Lexus LX version. The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser is, until and unless the company changes its mind, the last one you can buy at a stateside Toyota dealer.
Since the fall of 2007, when this generation of Land Cruiser was introduced as a 2008 model, a lot has changed. The Land Cruiser itself has gone from "the pinnacle of SUVs" to "they don't make 'em like that anymore".
This Land Cruiser came to market a year before the Great Recession, when Greta Thunberg was four years old. Things that are priorities today weren't even on the radar then. A 5,715-pound SUV with a 5.7-liter V8 engine and an EPA combined fuel economy estimate of 14 miles per gallon was not an eyebrow-raiser. Today, it's a dinosaur powered by a prodigious number of dead dinosaurs. The part of the window sticker that talks about fuel economy says you will spend $7,000 more in fuel costs over five years than you would with the average new vehicle. And that's with an eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the five-speed it debuted with back in the George W. Bush administration.
But then, the Land Cruiser was always about being the most capable machine of its type. While it became a luxury vehicle in the U.S. over the past 40 years, this is also a machine that people use to cross vast deserts, jungles and tundra. Show up to an expedition in one of these and the guys with Land Rovers won't look sideways at you. One of my favorite quotes from the David E. Davis, Jr. , who helmed Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine in their glory days, was about the Toyota Land Cruiser: "It'll climb a tree if you're brave enough."
To its credit, Toyota embraces the Land Cruiser and what it stands for with the 2020 and 2021 Heritage Edition. A third row of seats is an option, not standard, to allow for more cargo. And a vintage-style Toyota Land Cruiser badge graces the rear pillars on both sides.
Toyota has made a few updates to the cabin since the 2008 model, but a lot in here is exactly as I found it in my first Land Cruiser review in January of 2009. The base price for the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition is $87.845. 18-inch BBS alloy wheels, a Heritage Edition grille, perforated leather-trimmed seats, four-zone climate control and a 14-speaker JBL premium audio system are all standard (along with other features) for that price.
And for our tester, that was very nearly it. Just add $395 for paint protection film, $25 for a first-aid kit and $59 for an emergency assistance kit, and that's it. So, with $1,365 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition is $89,689.
If you want a new one, hurry. As of this writing, there are exactly eight new Land Cruisers on dealer lots in America. One is a 2019(!) and the rest are 2021s. Two of those, including one of the three Heritage Editions, have ridiculous dealer markups ($142,750 for a base Land Cruiser?).