By Jennifer Geiger on January 5, 2012
After skipping model-year 2012, Toyota is updating one of its largest, most expensive and least popular vehicles with fresh styling, new standard features and more off-road capability for 2013. Its Lexus sibling, the LX, is getting similar treatment — the 2013 LX will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.
The Land Cruiser’s thirsty 381-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission return for the 2013 model year. Updates to the large SUV’s exterior include a revised grille, LED daytime running lights, a new bumper, chrome side molding and redesigned side mirrors and taillamps. A new color, Pearl White, joins Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Salsa Red Pearl, Sonora Gold Pearl, Amazon Green Metallic and black.
The Land Cruiser’s interior sees updates that include a new woodgrain finish, brighter silver instrument panel and chrome-plated air registers. Also new to the interior is Toyota’s Multi-terrain Monitor that displays multiple views of the SUV’s exterior.
Features previously optional but now standard on the 2013 Land Cruiser include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cooled center console, headlamp cleaners, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, multi-information display, voice and Bluetooth hands-free controls, upgraded JBL stereo, a navigation system with Entune and heated second-row seats. Entune provides access to mobile internet applications such as Bing, iheartradio, OpenTable and Pandora.
In the off-road department, a new Multi-Terrain Select system alters wheel slip based on the terrain, including different settings for mud, sand and rocks. It sounds a lot like Land Rover’s adept Terrain Response system, which allows drivers to alter terrain settings via console-mounted buttons. Land Cruiser’s new Off-Road Turn Assist feature automatically adjusts the brakes to help it make sharper turns off-road.
Land Cruiser has always been capable off-road; its equipment enhancements should improve its chops in that department. Poor fuel economy and steep prices, though, have always been shortcomings. Unfortunately this update won’t change either issue as the thirsty engine carries over for 2013. Adding standard equipment will likely raise its already-hefty price. The 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser will start at $77,955 when it goes on sale in early February.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer