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2008 Toyota Land Cruiser First Drive

Check out our 2008 Landcruiser first drive and let us know what you think.

First Drive: 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser

Karen-Edmunds Community Manager



  • graylcgraylc Posts: 16
    Bland is the word I am hearing out here in CruiserLand.

    From 100 feet away in a not so dark parking lot, you
    could not pick out the new Landcruiser from a RAV4 or Highlander. Plain vanilla egg.

    The interior is plastic, plastic, plastic. The instrument cluster is an Ergonomics nightmare. What purpose does it serve to have tunnels to stare into to check your speed and tachometer? This was definitely not designed by anyone with even the most basic knowledge of ergonomically correct instrumentation display, that being; they are not safe.

    It makes you wonder, who did designed this, some Kalifornia interior designer with a flare for the useless?

    Lexus learned it's lesson about five years ago when they ditched the tunnel-over-the-instruments design. So now Toyota is doing the same thing. Don't Lexus and Toyota designers talk to each other?

    The individuals who actually use the Landcruiser as it is supposed to be used are mortified; less ground clearance,
    less angle of departure, etc?? For the uninitiated, that means you will hit more rocks with the bottom of the vehicle.

    OK, OK, there are a few good points; more power, six speed transmission, larger brakes; but those are about the only changes that makes Landcruiser lovers smile.

    The LX570, the twin to the new Landcruiser has a few more
    amenities, and that should be the never-get-mud-on-it vehicle, but not our tough Landcruiser too.

    I personally have driven Landcruisers for 30 years, and
    this suburban get-the-groceries transport misses the mark
    by a wide margin, unfortunately. :cry:
  • Well, I haven't seen one in the flesh yet, but the pictures and writeups have me pretty much sharing your sentiments. Been driving these things nearly as long as you have--and I am still kicking myself for getting rid of my FJ40 :cry:

    OTOH, I have no complaints with my 100 series in comparison to my 80.

    I'll with hold final judgement until I see and drive one of these new ones, but right now, I'm more than a little disappointed with this 200 series. Even so, I have little doubt that they'll all be sold without too much of a problem--at least until gas hits $4/gallon.

    I was going to get one, but not before 2010. I don't get the first year or two of anything.

    I'm going to amp up my search for another 40 now
  • Well, I feel a bit better after this exchange with my buddy in Oz, who makes LC suspension mods:

    Look much better in the skin, and definitely a step up in styling, but still
    linked well to its heritage, as top of the heap in the cruiser range.

    Will be a step up in handling, and driver feel as well over the 100.

    What’s the opinion of you and your Cruiser heads there in OZ?
  • I put 100,000 miles on an 80-series (1993) and also owned a 100 (1999).

    On road, the 100 was better than the 80. The 200 drives better than either of them.

    But those on-road improvements have been accompanied by reduced clearances and bigger size - not the proper direction for off-road excellence.
  • If you do or did any wheeling in either your 80 or 100, then you may have modified the suspensions as I have done. The newer one should be easier to do than the 100 as it's got Tundra in it? And coils vs. T bars in the front. I think everybody went thru this angst when the 100 came out--no live axle in the front! Let's give it a chance. My issue would be what mods will be available for it. It may be just as capable as the 100, which gives up very little to the 80 in off road abilities IMHO, despite the IFS. Just my .02 :)

    You only put 100K on your 80? It wasn't even broken in then--put almost 180K on mine
  • I agree that, properly lifted, the 200 ought to do well. But it's low - a fairly decent lift will be needed to get this back to where the 80 was in stock trim.

    Other than clearances, it has a lot on the ball - although the lack of a proper rear locker is disappointing.

    Another minor gripe concerns the cut-lines of those smooooth bumper caps. A bolt-on winch/bumper replacement isn't going to be as easy to pull of as it was with the straight cut lines of the 80 and 100.

    It seems a bit early to expect aftermarket accessories, but I'll be at the SEMA show in a couple of weeks. If I see anything, I'll pass it along.
  • Tundra components might fit in the front? Imagine the rear coils will be the same as the 100. The OME rear coils for the 100 are the same as the low lift 80 springs. I expect that ARB and OME are already at work. The rear locker has been gone since MY 2000.

    I had the 3" OME lift on my 80, probably closer to 4+ considering going with 285 tires. Installed the OME coils and shocks on the 100 and twisted the T bars up a bit. Total lift on it is about 2+, which is just about right.
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Nobody speaking about the high price of driving these behemoths ???
    The LC with a few options, the MSRP soars above 70K.
    I am really scare 'cause I want to get either the LC or the LX570 in spite of my shallow pockets.

  • Aw, Lou-you can't take it with you :)

    Get what you want and enjoy it!
  • Any thoughts on why Toyota continues to design the LC with body colored bumpers? It makes no sense from an maintenance and upkeep perspective as they inevitably will get scratched up if one drives it the way it was built for. Given that even some of the luxury makes like BMW and Acura with their X5 and MDX have begun going to bumpers designed to handle scrapes (by not being painted), I'm wondering why Toyota is going for the shopping mall crowd with body colored bumpers (but who also probably don't appreciate the scrapes that go with shopping carts)?
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Thanks steelcruiser

    I keep telling myself to go for it.

    Right, can't take it with me but at least I could get buried in it.

  • I've gotten a special invite to the LA Auto Show to see the debut of the new Porsche GT2 on the 14th. This is a "private" showing, as the show doesn't open to the public until the 16th. (I think Porsche is even going to feed us, which is good, because I like free food :) I am hoping to sneak a peek at the new LC and LX then.

    Happened to run into one of my Toyota mechanic buddies today who has recently transfered to Lexus. He said that they had a "viewing" of the new LX at his dealership last week and he didn't like it. Said it looks (I think others here have said the same thing) like an over grown Highlander. Oh well, I will post a report after the auto show. I really want to like these new LCs/LXs, but........
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    Lucky you !!!

    I know you will give us a in depth review of the new LC/LX SUV's.
    Neither the LC nor the LX has an attractive or masculine exterior,
    but I am going strictly by comfort and power.
    I put in many many highway miles and front seat comfort is really my only personal requirement , of course the extra power and the new air bags will keep me hopefully safe.
    I anxiously await your on hand opinion of these wonderful new behemoths.

  • Well, hold the presses. I actually saw a brand new LC today driving and it had paper plates on it, so obviously some dealers have them in stock. I didn't get to see it for that long as I wasn't in a good position to follow it or anything (should've been in my Porsche). Anyway, I think that maybe, just maybe, it will be a design that will grow on you. Dare I say it's kind of like the Bangle BMWs in its departure from what we had hoped for in the next gen LC? :confuse:
  • luckylouluckylou Posts: 308
    For the Southeastern states they have allocated about 50 LC's, I would presume that before the end of the year I might get to see one on the road or even be able to test drive one.
  • Have been waiting for the 2008s to arrive - Auto had over 200 listed across the USA - one was right here in my backyard... as noted by previous posters, it looks like a highlander on 'roids... maybe the look will grow on me...but the price of $72k makes me think that instead of just getting rid of my 2000 and buying the 2008, I should now look at the Range Rover and the MB G-wagon....I paid $53k for my 2000, figured the new model would maybe be in the $60's all gussied up, but come on now folks, $72K???? What will the 2008 Lexus LX570 cost - $85K? Hell we gross over $500k /yr, so the cost isn't the issue, it is the value... what is in the thing that makes it worth $72k, except that is is a new model? oh, wait, it must be the exclusivity factor huh? Guess I will have to wait and buy a "pre-owned" model at a more reasonable price... :(
  • graylcgraylc Posts: 16
    My previous post was based on photos of the 2008 Landcruiser; well, I finally got to see one in person, and my worst fears were confirmed.

    It is very simply, a plain vanilla egg; no character, no personality, no identity;
    no testosterone; no nuthin. It leaves me cold.

    I wish it weren't so, I have driven Landcruisers for 30 years and was (key word was) planning on buying one, but I was entirely underwelmed by the styling, or lack thereof.

    Some of the ergonomics (again, lack thereof) were just appalling; the instrument cluster is, well, a cluster. Looks like it was designed by an interior designer (from the left coast), and not by an ergonomics engineer. ie: form does not follow function; very poor human machine interface.

    The Speedo and Tach dials are buried deep within plastic tunnels; like looking
    down a couple of tumbler glasses to try to decern what is at the bottom; just horrendous lack of forethought, lack of proper ergonomic deisign, and lack of attention to safety.

    The driver is forced to stare at the instruments, even if only for a second extra, more than the millisecond required if properly designed; that second could mean the difference between missing, or hitting, that tractor trailer that just went into a skid ahead of you.

    That on top of the placement of the auxilary gauges; water temp, fuel, oil pressure
    and voltmeter placement looks like a joke, I mean really like someone said; "Hey, we could put two here, and the other two there, wouldn't that be cute" with no thought whatsoever. Two of the gauges are crowded close together at the top between the tach and speedo, the other two are far apart at the bottom of the tach and speedo; what that means, again, is that the driver is forced to hunt around for the gauges, instead of a quick glance. Where is the consistency, where is the planning, where is the engineering??? The gauges should be in a logically placed configuration, not where there happens to be an empty space to crowd them into.

    For some drivers; those who never look at the gauges, this may not seem like a problem; but it will become a problem when you are hunting around for the gauge
    and a red light is glowing, and the driver in front of you slams on his brakes.

    Just appalling lack of forethought and proper ergonomic design.

    The steering wheel also gets in the way of the instruments; it is just a tad too small
    in diameter, which forces it into the drivers view of the instruments; again, poor design.

    Many people may not even notice these points; but that is the point; the design of the instument cluster is crucual in the safe driving of a vehicle and you should not have to think about it, it should be automatic. And if the placement and design of the instruments are not correct, it can lead to an accident.

    How is that; well, as a flyer, we are used to using our instruments, but they are designed in such a way as to avoid the pilot from having to hunt around for the information. This is called proper ergonomic design; it actually really took off as a science during WW II, when pilots would get confused which instrument said what during an emergency situation, then ended up pulling the wrong lever or pushing the wrong button.

    It may seem more important while flying an aircraft, but it is just as important when driving you car. Think about; when you are driving in traffic you are doing what jet fighters do during an airshow demonstration; you are essentially flying in formation. If the person next to you decides to come over into your lane and at the same time your engine catches fire, you better be ready. You need to be able to see at a glance what and where the problem is, and you get that information from the instruments.

    I am sure that it is a well-built from a mechanical perspective; well, let's at least hope so, as Toyota's quality has really gone down a few notches in the last decade, that is for sure. The body sheetmetal on this 2008 did appear thinner than what I find in my previous generation Landcruisers; maybe they are now cutting some corners there too??

    Time will tell; I will not be buying a new one just yet; I have two older Landcruisers currently and will keep them on the road a while longer; hoping that maybe in a few years Toyota will, at least, redesign the instrument panel and a few other areas that need immediate attention. Problem is, Toyota usually does not redesign Landcruisers interior more often than once about every 4-5 years, and the exterior once every 8-10 years.

    Oh well.

  • Saw this on one of the other TLC boards and it makes sense... Since the TLC is imported and the Value of the $ to the Yen is down, the price of goods imported from Japan has to go up..... then again, I still think the dealers are playing games
  • I picked up my new 08 cruiser wednesday, black with oak. For those of you not liking the styling, I think the 200 series is a vast improvement over my 2005 model. That car was not an exciting loooking car, it was a box. This DOES look bigger, AND meaner from the front, the profile has more eye appeal from the fenders to the sleeker curves, and the stance from the rear looks wider and tough! The interior is the best I've seen in any of the new Toyotas, just the right amount of wood(faux, to be sure), not plastered all over, and a great color combination in the dash, seats and carpet. So far as the gauges, the tunnel around the tach and speedo is not a looong tunnel, per say, and looks like more of a border, and it does not catch my eye at all. I drove about 100 miles on Thanksgiving and if anything, the new lighting scheme make them easier to make out, though I'm no pilot.
    Let's face it, the reason we buy cruisers is not for styling, it's for the drive. These things are the best driving, most planted, most secure drive I have ever had, and this model takes that to the stratosphere. The new suspench has taken away all the heavy feel that I had in the 05. Smooth, quiet, powerful and secure feeling drive. I love it!!
  • Oh no, bullet, don't go RR or MB G wagon. Hang in there and see how this new LC looks in a few months or so and let's see what owners of these new ones have to say. :D
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