We get behind the wheel of the 2020 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. In this video, Dan Edmunds drives a special edition of the vaunted Land Cruiser that celebrates over 60 years of robust off-road history. The Land Cruiser has indeed become increasingly civilized over the years. However, this special model includes subtle but effective changes that make it more attractive to those who plan to venture off the pavement.
The basic configuration of this special Heritage Edition remains the same as any other 2020 Land Cruiser. It has the same powerful 5.7-liter V8 and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. Its generous ground clearance and angles of approach and departure are the same. You’ll also find KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System), a clever system of automatically disconnecting stabilizer bars that enable extreme wheel articulation off-road yet offer flat cornering on the pavement.
Functional changes to the Heritage Edition include the deletion of the side running boards, which improve breakover clearance significantly but do make it harder to step into. Inside, the third row of seating has been deleted since backcountry camping involves more gear than people. The permanent absence of the seat increases cargo volume significantly. Along with that, the center-console cooler box has been eliminated to allow for more storage options near the driver. Its loss isn’t likely to be significant because a large cooler or a plug-in camping fridge will likely be one of the cargo items on board.
Visually, you can spot a Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition by its special gold-colored BBS forged alloy wheels. The headlight backdrops are blacked out, and the front end has black-chrome trim instead of bright chrome trim. Along with these touches, the chrome “snake blinder” body side moldings have been removed. Inside, you’ll find black leather upholstery with gold stitching that matches the BBS wheels and a dark headliner. Only two paint color options are available: black and white. The cherry on top is a reproduction of the vintage Land Cruiser badge that first appeared on the legendary FJ40.
The Land Cruiser has always performed well off-pavement and on, and the changes alter the experience in ways that should appeal to the burgeoning “overlanding” community that likes to explore the backcountry. These are travelers who aren’t necessarily seeking out black diamond trails but who want to be able to handle any unexpected situations that might arise — all while carrying the latest camping gear along with them. The Heritage Edition matches this use case more or less exactly.
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