A blast of cool fall Utah air hit me as I stepped out of the hotel. Under the porte-cochère, a lineup of Toyota Land Cruisers was gathered. A few stood out, vintage varieties I would drive later that day, but for the 90-minute drive to the off-road trail that was our destination, I got behind the wheel of a 200 Series, a 2019 model.
In the dim morning light it wasn’t easy to spot the differences between a stock 200 Series Land Cruiser and the Heritage Edition we flew out to test. The easiest way is by looking at the roof. On top of the rails of the Heritage Edition sits a Yakima MegaWarrior roof rack. The second standout is the vintage Land Cruiser badging on the D-pillar.
After a short highway jaunt, we arrived at our off-road trail, and after one go-round in our stock Cruiser I hopped into the Heritage Edition. Admittedly the trail was not difficult; it required no spotters nor prior off-road experience. Using Multi-Terrain Select, I placed the truck in “Loose Rock” mode and marched forward.
The Cruiser had no trouble clambering over the rocks littering the mile-high hillside, and this time, with no running boards to get in the way, there was hardly a sound. The steering, while somewhat vague, offers good feedback, which along with the incredible visibility proves essential off-road; on a tougher trail, more accurate placement of the wheels would surely be necessary.
The starting price of a 2020 Land Cruiser is $86,720 including destination, while the Heritage Edition, available at dealerships now, tops that at $88,970. To me, that is $2 grand well-spent. The roof rack alone costs $450 when purchased separately, while the Bronze BBS wheels, vintage badging, and running board/chrome side body molding delete more than make up the balance. That being said, vintage badging doesn’t make up for such a high price on an SUV that feels this old, regardless of its history.
After a few more rounds on the trail, I was happy to spend some seat time in five vintage cruisers, an FJ40, FJ55, FJ60, FJ80 and UZJ100, which then prompted me to spend the rest of the week on Craigslist trying to find the Land Cruiser that will be my next vehicle. At nearly $90K, it won’t be a new Heritage Edition. But in 15-20 years? Definitely.