If you work on a farm or in off-the-beaten-path areas, the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is a fascinating alternative to a pick-up truck. As the name suggests, it’s based on Toyota’s iconic Land Cruiser 4×4, but instead of the plush, Lexus-like interior of the current SUV, the Utility (also offered as the entry-level 5-seater SUV range) is the most luxurious deprived, and this commercial version also loses most of its seats. It comes with only two of them in front, while behind that is a steel mesh bulkhead and a large, flat cargo area where the rear seats would be.
The Utility is available with both a short and a long wheelbase, with the former only having a tailgate that opens to the side for access to the cargo space, while the latter also has side doors so that you can get into the most remote areas of the cargo space. Other obvious variations for the commercial version of the SUV include the 17-inch steel wheels, body-colored rear side windows (most noticeable on white or silver cars), and the lack of chrome trim on the grille or elsewhere. It gives the Land Cruiser Utility a functional look that only adds to its attractiveness.
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Under the hood is the same 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel as in the Land Cruiser SUV. It develops 177 hp at 3,400 rpm and 420 Nm torque from 1,400 rpm. It is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission and of course the obligatory all-wheel drive with its off-road extras such as hill descent aid, hill start aid and active traction control that distributes the power where it is needed.
As already mentioned, the cabin is quite functional, because instead of the noble wood and leather interior of the Land Cruiser SUV, there are velor seats and a lot of hard plastic. However, this only adds to the rugged appeal of the utility and means that it feels appropriately rugged and is unlikely to break.
Because of its uniqueness, there are no real competitors to the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial. The only SUV-based commercial vehicle currently available is the smaller Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial, which is optionally available as a low-emission plug-in hybrid PHEV version.
That being said, you’ll see pick-up trucks like the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200, and Nissan Navara. These have the pluses and minuses. First, you’ll need to add a lockable cover or truck hood to a pickup truck for around £ 1,000 for storage similar to the Land Cruiser Commercial. Even then, it wouldn’t be as well sealed against the elements as the Toyota’s cargo space. But then pickups can carry five people and a ton of payload, while the Land Cruiser is limited to two seats and a payload of 488-756 kg.
Prices for the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial are around £ 28,000 for the SWB and £ 29,000 for the LWB, both excluding VAT, which is roughly what you would pay for a mid-range Toyota Hilux.
With a list price starting at around £ 28,000 excluding VAT, the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is priced similar to a mid-size crew cab pick-up. Only one trim level is offered, but you have a choice of short or long wheelbase variants, the latter costing around £ 1,000 extra.
The standard kit is reasonable and you get everything you need, like air conditioning (dual zone in the LWB version), a multifunction steering wheel, a stereo with six speakers with bluetooth and USB connections (but no DAB radio), 12 -V-charge sockets and cruise control. Metallic paint is the only option that can be added to either version.
Toyota claims fuel economy of 37.6 mpg for both versions of the Land Cruiser Commercial Utility, so you will do well to get 30 mpg for everyday driving. There is an 87 liter fuel tank so you can travel up to 600 miles between refueling sessions.
Emissions are 179 g / km for the SWB and 187 g / km for the LWB version, although the road tax is the same for both versions and is £ 265.
SUV-based commercial vehicles require some compromises because they offer load capacity and off-road mobility in one package. The Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is better than others because the standard Land Cruiser is a pretty big car in the first place.
As with any other commercial SUV, the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial has no rear seats, seat belts, or other amenities, and the rear windows are blacked out while a large, flat board of rubberized plastic runs the length of the vehicle’s new cargo area. In the Land Cruiser, this is at the level of the trunk floor and extends forward to a steel bulkhead that separates the cargo area from the cabin.
The lower half of the front wall is made of solid steel and there is a steel grille above it so that you can still see out of the rear window while driving. The mesh section is split in two and the passenger side hinges so you can open it up to load longer items into the cabin – this is more useful on the SWB model, although it is convenient on the LWB model. This grille door is held in place magnetically and is easy to use, but not thin enough to pop open on the go.
The SWB version of the Land Cruiser only has a tailgate that opens to the side for access to the cargo area, although all Land Cruiser commercials also get a tailgate window that can be opened separately. This can be opened at the top and makes access easier when you are parked in a confined space. Since the SWB has a shorter wheelbase, the lack of side doors doesn’t really matter, as you don’t have to reach that far into the cargo space to grab objects. There is 1,574 liters of space in the rear of the SWB model, while the high floor – thanks to the high suspension – can make loading heavy items difficult, although it is no more difficult than loading a pickup truck. The side-hinged door is slightly more helpful than the tailgate of a pickup truck, although a hatchback hatchback hatchback hinged at the top would be even better.
Opt for the LWB version and you get the five-door body that makes the Land Cruiser SUV so practical. The side doors make it easy to access the furthest parts of the cargo space from the back door, but they only open wide enough to allow you to load items like tool boxes or small boxes – you won’t get the same access as the sliding doors of a van for example.
There is some additional storage space at the now redundant rear footwells, and the loading area of the Land Cruiser Utility is completely protected from the elements and air-conditioned, in contrast to a pick-up, which even leaves items open if you add a tonneau or truck to the loading area. Add top.
The payloads of the Land Cruiser Utility range from 488 kg in the SWB version to a maximum of 756 kg in the LWB version. That’s less than you can carry in a pickup truck – it can all hold a ton in bed – but only a problem when you get close to these weights in everyday use. There is a maximum trailer weight of 3 tons, similar to most pick-ups.
What can we say about reliability other than this is a Toyota! The company’s reputation for building reliable cars is second to none, and the Land Cruiser has taken nearly 70 years of development to become one of the most dependable and trusted all-wheel drive vehicles in the world.
Since the Utility Commercial model has run out of luxury, it means there is even less chance of things going wrong – unlikely as that may be – but like all Toyota models, it comes with a 5 year warranty per 100,000 miles. You can even get extended insurance coverage for an additional 12 months / 15,000 miles that covers MOT, breakdown assistance and some additional costs.
With permanent all-wheel drive, the Land Cruiser Utility is a safe vehicle in slippery conditions. And while the utility spec doesn’t have the advanced kinetic dynamic suspension system found on top-of-the-line Land Cruiser SUVs, it still has Active Traction Control, which transfers power to the wheels with the most grip in slippery conditions. Hill start assistant and hill descent aid are also included.
Toyota’s Safety Sense collision detection isn’t offered either, but you get five airbags in the SWB (but only two in the LWB), traction and stability control, tire pressure monitoring, speed limiter, trailer sway control, and tilt detection sensors.
With a 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel with 175 hp under the hood and a curb weight of up to 2.2 tons, it’s no surprise that the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is a leisurely performer. 0-62 mph takes a relaxed 12.1 seconds and the top speed is 108 mph, but this isn’t a utility vehicle built for performance.
Where the Land Cruiser Utility outperforms most of its pickup truck rivals is that it is much more comfortable to drive. Since the rear suspension doesn’t have to handle a ton of payload, it’s much softer, so this big Toyota soaks up lumps with ease instead of hopping over bumps. Only the Mercedes X-Class can really compete with the Land Cruiser, and that’s more expensive than the Toyota.
That is the overwhelming appeal of the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial – its comfort. The soft seats and suspension ensure a comfortable driving experience, while the diesel engine is dampened at cruising speed. When accelerating, however, it gets rough. The steering lacks feedback, the body leans too much when cornering, but that just encourages you to make it even easier. There is no other commercial vehicle that is as calm and relaxed as this one.
And then there’s the added benefit of the Land Cruiser’s almost unstoppable off-road capability. The intelligent traction control helps the utility commercial venture far off the beaten track, with the only limiting factor being the standard road tires. Toyota specifies an angle of climb and lean of 42 degrees, while there is an approach angle of 31 degrees, an approach angle of 22 degrees, and a departure angle of 25 degrees – the latter number applies to the LWB version, which is hindered by a longer overhang than the one becomes SWB version at 26 degrees. There is also a fording depth of 700 mm and a ground clearance of at least 205 mm.
Because the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is based on an upscale SUV, it has a more refined cabin than most other commercial vehicles. It’s a two-seater, however, so not as versatile as a double-cab pickup, although there is plenty of room for two inside. The driver’s seat offers height and lumbar adjustment, while the steering wheel can also be adjusted in terms of reach and tilt.
Visibility is good, although the hidden rear windows obstructed the view over the shoulder, but at least the mesh top panel means you can see from the rear of the Land Cruiser. Unfortunately, no parking sensors or camera options are available for the utility model, so reversing requires special care and attention.
The storage space in the cabin is good, with a large glove box and a huge armrest bin between the front seats. There’s also a hidden storage space in front of the gear lever and two cup holders behind it, while the deep door compartments are also good for storing items. Opt for the LWB version and the rear doors use the same interior trim as the SUV (there are even non-working electric windows) so you get extra storage space in the back as well.
|LWF||1,845 mm||1,885 mm||4,840 mm||2,216 liters|
|SWB||1,830 mm||1,885 mm||4,395 mm||1,574 liters|