Here Are The Worst Toyota Land Cruiser Years to Avoid Versus Best Year

Author: Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you in the market for a used Toyota Land Cruiser?

Don’t let its reputation for reliability and ruggedness fool you – not all model years are created equal. Some have been plagued with issues ranging from rough shifting to AC system and sensor problems.

But fear not! In this article, you’ll discover the best Land Cruiser year and years you should avoid like the plague (hint: 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017) and help you find a Land Cruiser that will be a loyal companion on all your adventures.

Remember, each used vehicle is unique, so while this information (and related tips on our site) is a helpful starting point, be sure to thoroughly inspect and research the specific Land Cruiser you have your eye on. Get ready to hit the road with confidence!

Toyota Land Cruiser Years to Avoid

Problematic Years to Avoid

2000 Land Cruiser Issues

In the 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser, you might face issues with rusted AC components and reduced engine performance.

This particular year saw many cases of the AC system needing replacement due to rusted parts, creating comfort issues for the occupants.

2002 Land Cruiser Issues

While the 2002 Land Cruiser is generally considered more reliable, it still had some minor issues with lighting.

The headlights and tail lights were subpar, which might create difficulties in driving during nighttime conditions.

2005 Land Cruiser Issues

There isn’t much information available for the 2005 Land Cruiser, indicating fewer problems compared to other problematic years. You can still keep an eye on any potential issues reported by owners.

2008 Land Cruiser Issues

The 2008 Land Cruiser had some problems related to rough shifting. Many owners reported experiencing difficulties while shifting gears, which resulted in poor driving experiences.

TIPS: Let’s show you how the cruiser stack up with a close brand: LX570 vs Land Cruiser similarities and differences explained.

2011-2013 Land Cruiser Issues

The 2011, 2013 Land Cruiser years have been mentioned as years to avoid due to issues ranging from AC system problems to sensor malfunctions.

In these years, the lack of adequate lighting was a notable concern, leading to the need for headlight and tail light replacements.

2015-2017 Land Cruiser Issues

During 2015, 2016, and 2017, Land Cruiser owners reported experiencing a range of issues, including problems with the AC system, sensor malfunctions, and rough shifting similar to the 2008 model year. We also recommend avoiding these years for better reliability.

2020 Land Cruiser Issues

The 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser is known for its reliability among its predecessors. You can have more confidence in this model year, but as with any used vehicle, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance checks and research owner experiences to ensure you’re making a well-informed decision.

Common Engine Problems

In some Toyota Land Cruiser years, it’s not uncommon for owners to experience engine problems. Here, we’ll discuss the common issues and what to expect when it comes to dealing with them.

One of the most noticeable symptoms is the appearance of blue smoke coming from the vehicle’s exhaust, which might indicate oil burning.

This was a prevalent issue in the 2005 Land Cruiser model. This type of problem can be tough to diagnose, leaving owners perplexed as dealership professionals may also struggle to pinpoint the cause.

Another notable engine issue in Land Cruisers is the sudden engine stop that occurred in the 2011 model year. This problem can be alarming, as your vehicle’s engine may stall unexpectedly without warning during your drive.

It’s essential to pay attention to any issues with the V8 engine in the Land Cruiser models. While this is a powerful and highly reliable engine, it still has some known problems. For instance:

  • 2008 model had issues with rough shifting,
  • 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 models faced various reliability issues related to the engine, transmission, and sensors

It’s always better to do thorough research and have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before making any commitment. By doing so, you’ll be more prepared to deal with any possible engine problems and ensure you select a Land Cruiser model that is reliable and enjoyable to drive.

Transmission and Drivetrain Issues

Your Toyota Land Cruiser might face some transmission and drivetrain issues, especially in specific years.

For instance, some owners report shifting problems in their vehicles, even though the Land Cruiser generally boasts a fantastic eight-speed system.

You should be aware that certain Land Cruiser models, such as the 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 versions, have reported issues ranging from rough shifting to AC system and sensor problems.

These rough shifting issues could be attributed to transmission problems, and it is best to avoid these years if you value a smooth, problem-free driving experience.

As per drivetrain problems, some issues might arise due to flawed components, such as rusted AC parts, reduced engine performance, or electrical component failures.

These issues have been observed in models like the 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2013 Land Cruisers. Keeping this in mind can save you from potential headaches down the line.

To help identify and avoid any transmission or drivetrain issues, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Difficulty in shifting gears
  • Unusual noises from the transmission
  • Transmission fluid leaks
  • Slippage or hesitation when accelerating

By staying informed about the potential transmission and drivetrain issues in Toyota Land Cruisers and keeping a close watch on the signs, you should be able to avoid the most problematic years and enjoy a more reliable off-road experience with your vehicle.

Brakes and Stability Control Systems

The 2016 Land Cruiser, has been reported to have rough-shifting transmission and issues with its brakes, which could be soft and then unexpectedly bite all at once.

Your Land Cruiser’s stability control system, referred to as VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), works together with the ABS and other control modules to ensure proper vehicle handling.

VSC monitors your car’s traction to maintain grip, reducing the engine power sent to the wheels and applying brakes through the ABS system when needed.

Some Land Cruiser models, like the 2000 version, have reported electronic stability control problems, such as total braking failure and ABS malfunction.

These are important factors to consider when choosing a used Land Cruiser, as they could impact the vehicle’s overall safety and performance on the road.

To summarize, when evaluating a used Toyota Land Cruiser, pay close attention to:

  • The vehicle’s brake performance
  • Stability control system reliability
  • Any reports of electronic stability control issues

Electrical and Sensor Problems

In some of the Toyota Land Cruiser years to avoid, you may encounter issues with the electrical components as well as sensor problems. Let’s dive into some of the common problems that may affect your Land Cruiser experience.

Headlights and lighting system

One of the possible issues to come across is related to the headlights and lighting system. You may find that the headlights are not as bright as they should be or experience flickering.

In some cases, the lighting system may malfunction, causing issues with the turn signals or brake lights. A proper inspection and timely replacement of bulbs and fuses can help you avoid such issues.

Auto Sensors

Sensor problems can be a concern in certain model years. These issues include sensors that throw erroneous warning messages on your dashboard, and unexpected motor shutdowns reported in some cases.

You’ll want to stay vigilant for any signs of sensor malfunction and address them quickly to maintain the reliability of your vehicle. An example of such issues can be found in the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Infotainment system

The infotainment system may also require your attention. You might experience issues with the audio system, GPS functionality, or even touch screen responsiveness.

To avoid frustration with your driving experience, make sure to regularly update your infotainment system and seek professional assistance if needed.

Electrical connections

Electrical junction problems can arise in some Toyota Land Cruiser models. You may encounter issues with the electrical connections or even require a full replacement of the junction box.

Proper maintenance and timely replacement of problematic components can help you avoid serious problems.

The key fob

Don’t forget about your key fob. The convenience of keyless entry and ignition can be hampered by weak batteries, faulty connections, or a malfunctioning fob. Be sure to check and replace the key fob batteries as needed, and seek help from a professional when necessary.

Air Conditioning and Heating Issues

One common issue with certain years of the Toyota Land Cruiser is related to the air conditioning and heating systems.

The AC lines may be rusty and require replacement, leading to inadequate cooling. This can be an especially costly repair if you live in an area prone to severe weather as mentioned with the 2008 model.

Additionally, there have been issues with the AC system in other model years. For example, the 2011 Land Cruiser has also experienced problems with its air conditioning system.

To address these issues, it’s essential to keep an eye on the performance of your Land Cruiser’s air conditioning system, and consider inspecting the AC lines for potential rust or damage.

Regular maintenance can help catch any problems early on, making repairs more manageable and less expensive.

Safety Features and Concerns

As a Toyota Land Cruiser enthusiast, it’s essential for you to know about the safety features and concerns associated with various model years.

One significant concern with the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is the faulty placement of lights, causing them to shake and potentially leading to a total failure. This issue makes it challenging and dangerous for you to drive at night, as visibility is reduced.

Additionally, some Land Cruiser models have experienced problems with transmission shifting. Although this issue is not confined to a specific year, it’s crucial for you to be aware of potential transmission concerns, as they might affect your driving experience and safety.

When it comes to safety features, Toyota Land Cruisers generally come equipped with numerous systems to ensure a smooth and secure driving experience. These safety systems include:

  • Anti-lock braking systems (ABS)
  • Electronic brake-force distribution (EBD)
  • Vehicle stability control (VSC)
  • Traction control (TRAC)

One specific safety feature that you might appreciate is the locking rear differential, which helps your Land Cruiser maintain traction on challenging terrains. This feature is useful when off-roading or driving in wet and slippery conditions.

However, also be aware of some Land Cruisers experiencing sensor and module issues, leading to unexpected motor shutdowns and illuminated dash warning lights.

While these issues may not be widespread, it’s still essential for you to consider the potential for such problems when looking to buy a used Land Cruiser.

Fuel Economy and Performance

The Toyota Land Cruiser is known for its powerful and reliable engine. However, due to the size and weight of the vehicle, its fuel economy may not be the best.

On average, the Land Cruiser offers a fuel efficiency of around 15 mpg, which could be a considerable factor to consider when it comes to long road-trips or daily commuting.

Although the fuel economy may not be impressive, the Land Cruiser’s performance is top-notch, thanks to the potent V8 engine under the hood.

This powerful engine ensures that you have plenty of power on tap, whether you are traversing challenging off-road terrain or cruising on the highway.

When comparing different model years, some Land Cruisers might present better fuel efficiency than others. For instance, the 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser is often considered among the best years for fuel economy and overall performance.

In summary, while the fuel economy might not be the Land Cruiser’s strongest attribute, its performance and overall reliability make it an appealing option for many off-road enthusiasts and adventurers.

Don’t forget to consider your driving habits, fuel costs, and the intended use of the vehicle when making your decision.

Best Land Cruiser Year

There are a few standout options that are worth considering. By choosing one of these models, you’re more likely to enjoy a reliable and enjoyable Land Cruiser experience.

The 2002 model

The 2002 Land Cruiser is one of the best years to consider. This model is widely praised for its reliability and durability.

With the 2002 Land Cruiser, you can expect a comfortable ride, off-road capability, and an overall enjoyable driving experience.

2009 Land Cruiser

Another great option is the 2009 Land Cruiser, which also boasts impressive reliability and performance.

With this model, you’ll find a more modern design and updated features compared to the earlier 2002 version. The 2009 Land Cruiser is perfect if you’re looking for a balance between ruggedness and refinement.

The 2012 model

The 2012 Land Cruiser is also among the best model years, offering an excellent combination of reliability, off-road capability, and luxury.

With a reputation for being nearly bulletproof, owning a 2012 Land Cruiser is your ticket to a worry-free adventure on or off the beaten path.

2019 Land Cruiser

If you’re looking for something more recent, the 2019 Land Cruiser is another excellent choice.

This model year presents a modern design, advanced technology, and outstanding off-road performance, all while maintaining the legendary Land Cruiser reliability.

2020 Land Cruiser

Lastly, the 2020 Land Cruiser is the final model year before the Land Cruiser’s discontinuation in the United States; it’s an excellent option for those looking for the latest features and technology.

With a luxurious interior, robust off-road capabilities, and a proven track record of reliability, the 2020 Land Cruiser is a fantastic choice for any enthusiast.

Comparisons With Close Rivals

When considering a Toyota Land Cruiser, it’s important to compare it to other vehicles in its class to help you make the best decision.

Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is another popular SUV option for you to consider. While the Explorer may have a lower price point than the Land Cruiser, it also comes with a smaller engine.

The Land Cruiser boasts a 4.7-liter V8, offering greater power and off-road capabilities. Additionally, the Land Cruiser has a more robust, rugged design, allowing it to tackle tougher terrains.

However, the Ford Explorer provides better fuel efficiency, which may be important to you if you prioritize daily city driving over off-road adventures.

GMC Yukon

The GMC Yukon is a full-size SUV that directly competes with the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Yukon offers a powerful engine and a spacious interior, making it consistent with the Land Cruiser in terms of performance and comfort.

In terms of reliability, some Toyota Land Cruiser years like 2016 should be avoided. However, for the majority of production years, the Toyota Land Cruiser proves to be a reliable option compared to the GMC Yukon. Here are GMC Yukon years to avoid and issues!

Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon

For those who seek luxury and performance, the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon is a strong contender in the SUV market.

Priced higher than the Land Cruiser, the G-Wagon offers luxurious interiors and advanced technology features.

While the Land Cruiser excels in off-road performance, the G-Wagon showcases impressive on-road handling for its size.

If you’re considering a Land Cruiser but also prioritize luxury and technology, you might want to explore the Lexus variant, such as the Lexus LX, which is a close relative to the Land Cruiser with a more upscale touch.

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer, known for its off-road capabilities and iconic design, is a formidable competitor to the Land Cruiser.

While the Land Cruiser has an edge in durability and reliability, the Grand Wagoneer offers a more modern design with customizable trims and options.

However, if your decision comes down to off-road capability, the Land Cruiser’s heavy-duty construction and powerful 4.7-liter V8 engine may give it an advantage in challenging terrain. Read details about latest Jeep Cherokee here!

Tips for Buying a Used Land Cruiser

  • Research models and years: Start by determining which generation of Land Cruiser is suitable for you. Remember that some years have more issues than others, such as the 2016 model. Take the time to read about the features and potential issues of various models to make an educated decision.
  • Budget considerations: Used Land Cruisers can still be relatively pricey, especially those with higher miles. Be prepared to invest a good amount of money, but don’t forget to account for expenses such as fuel, as these vehicles often have low fuel economy figures.
  • Inspect the vehicle: When you’ve found a potential Land Cruiser to purchase, take a closer look. Check for any signs of rust, leaks, or other damage. It’s also important to look out for any modifications or alterations that could affect the vehicle’s performance.
  • Maintenance history: Inquire about the Land Cruiser’s maintenance and repair history. A well-maintained Land Cruiser can last for a long time, so it’s essential to verify that the previous owner followed scheduled maintenance and promptly addressed any issues.
  • Test drive: Before making your decision, take the Land Cruiser for a test drive. Pay attention to how it handles on various types of terrain, as well as any potential performance issues or warning lights that illuminate during the drive.
  • In the United States: If you’re purchasing a used Land Cruiser within the United States, be aware that newer models may not be as readily available due to the discontinuation of sales in 2021. However, there should still be plenty of options for older generations in the used market.

By following these tips, you should be well-prepared to find a reliable and durable used Land Cruiser that meets your needs and budget. Good luck on your search!


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