Should You Take the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Off Road?

The 2021 Toyota Lange Cruiser is a beast on any terrain and far more rugged than most modern large SUVs.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jun 17, 2022
If you’re looking for a solid off-roading vehicle that can plow through even the toughest terrain, the
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
is a top pick. With almost nine inches of ground clearance, a powerful V8 powertrain, and a stellar reputation for reliability, the Land Cruiser is prepared to conquer whatever terrain you want to tackle.
If you’re in search of some epic adventures with tire-deep mud and gnarly rock crawling, off-road capabilities are a must. And with a vehicle that can take on everything from smooth pavement to borderline boulders, you can go just about anywhere your heart desires. But with a large selection of off-road capable vehicles, how do you decipher between the off-road lookalikes and the true trail bosses? 
If you’re ready to play hard on the off-road trails but aren’t sure what your Land Cruiser can handle,
Jerry
, the car insurance
super app
, has you covered. We’ll break down the off-road specs for the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser, look at key off-roading features, and explore off-roading alternatives if you want an SUV that can get down-and-dirty with the best of them.
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Can the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser go off road?

Yes—the Toyota Land Cruiser was built for tackling rugged terrain, and it’s one of the most legendary off-road vehicles. It claims a spot next to the
Jeep Wrangler
and the
Land Rover
Defender in terms of popularity, reliability, and ruggedness.
Starting at $87,030, the Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t come cheap—but it has some serious off-road capability. With a 5.7L V8 engine that produces 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque, 8.9 inches of ground clearance, and a suspension that rebounds over the road surface with the grace of a racehorse, the Land Cruiser is the real deal off-road vehicle
What else makes the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser the real-deal off-roader? Let’s zoom in on some of the key specs. 

Ground clearance

If you want to take your vehicle off the beaten path, there’s one crucial factor you’ll want to know about: ground clearance. With 8.9 inches of ground clearance on the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser, it exceeds the minimum requirements for ideal off-roading ground clearance. You’ll be able to take on some rough terrain easily with the Cruiser, but you may struggle with larger obstacles.
Ideally, a good off-roading vehicle has a ground clearance between 8.8 and 10.8 inches. The higher your vehicle’s minimum clearance, the better equipped it is to conquer uneven ground without risk of damage to the undercarriage. While the Land Cruiser’s 8.9 inches may still be a far cry from the 2021
Jeep Wrangler’s
10.8 inches or the
2021 Toyota 4Runner’s
9.6 inches, it’s still capable of cruising over moderate obstacles without a problem. 

Torque

For anyone that knows anything about off-roading, torque is what you want to watch out for—especially low-end torque. The higher the low-end torque is, the faster you can tackle obstacles. But the kind of torque we’re talking about here means that rock-crawlers compromise speed for control. 
Having decent low-end torque is important if you’re straying from paved roads because it prevents your engine from working overtime when you need momentum without too much speed as you traverse slippery surfaces.
The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser’s 5.7L V8 engine gets a maximum torque of 401 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm—a decent amount of power to help you crawl over rocks or push through sand and mud with relative ease. 

Tires

If you’re planning to leave the paved roads behind, you’ll want to ensure your vehicle is equipped with a solid set of tires capable of trudging through all terrain. The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t pack an off-roading punch when it comes to the Dunlop Grandtrek AT23, 285/60R-18 116V M+S it’s loaded with. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, let’s dive into the basics of off-roading tires.
All-terrain tires
, also called A/T tires, are some of the best tires you can get for those who want to take on the trails and city streets. Ideally, all-terrain tires are great for someone who spends roughly 50% of their time driving off-road. If you only stray off the paved roads now and again, but most of your time is spent driving city streets, the
all-season tires
on the Land Cruiser are probably sufficient. 

Drivetrain

If you’re tackling uneven ground of any sort, you’ll want to ensure your vehicle is equipped with all-wheel drive—and it’s standard on the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser. Many cars come standard with front or two-wheel drive, but AWD is standard on all trim levels of the 2021 Land Cruiser.

Angles

If you’re looking for the most epic off-road experience, you’ll want to pay attention to your angles—and we’re not talking about photo angles. We’re talking about two angles specific to off-roading: the approach angle and departure angle.
  • Approach angle: the maximum angle that a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: the maximum angle that a vehicle can descend without interference
Simply put, if you want to take your Land Cruiser up a steep hill, you need an approach angle that’s greater than the angle of what you’re trying to climb. If the approach angle is less, you risk damage to your front bumper or undercarriage. The departure angle is the same but applied to the rear bumper and tires. In general, a shorter overhang on the car's rear will have a greater departure angle than one with a longer overhang.
Because the Toyota Land Cruiser is a real-deal off-roader, its approach and departure angles stack up to some of the biggest off-roaders out there with 32.0 and 24.0 degrees, respectively. If you compare that to the 42.2-degree approach angle of the
Jeep Wrangler
or the 33 degrees of the
Toyota 4Runner
, the Land Cruiser doesn’t stack up quite as well. However, it can still push you through relatively steep inclines without sustaining any damage. 

Off-road rating: Rough and ready

If you’re looking for a quick answer to how well the Toyota Land Cruiser can handle the trails, we’ve got it—courtesy of
Jerry’s
super-technical DIRT rating system below:
Rating
Meaning
Description
D
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
I
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
R
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
T
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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How does the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser stack up? We give it an R rating: it may not be the most beastly or rugged of all off-roaders, but it’s solid and can handle both smooth and rocky conditions. That said, if you’re looking for a vehicle with serious rock-crawling capabilities, you may want to consider a car with higher ground clearance and better tires. 

The best off-road alternatives to the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser

If you’re looking for a vehicle that can handle an adventure on and off-road, the 2021 Land Cruiser holds its own. But even with Toyota’s stamp for excellent reliability and safety, the Land Cruiser may not be the perfect off-roader for all drivers. Whether you’re looking for something with a lower price tag or a vehicle that can go harder on the trails, there are plenty of options. 
Here are a few of the best alternatives to the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser, regardless of what you’re looking for.
Alternative
Model
Price
Description
Best luxury alternative
2022 Lexus LX 570
$86,900
The Lexus LX 570 is a Toyota Land Cruiser at heart, dressed in a designer suit—and it’s competent off-road. It is identical to the Land Cruiser, but if you’re looking for a bit more jazz for your off-road adventure, this could be a good fit.
Best affordable alternative
2022 Infiniti QX80
$70,600
With a slightly higher ground clearance and a significantly lower starting price, the Infiniti QX80 is an excellent alternative to the pricey Land Cruiser—without losing the off-road capability.
Best ultra off-road alternative
2022 Land Rover Defender
$50,050
Ultra-capable off-road and surprisingly refined on-road, the Defender’s supercharged V8 melds luxury and rugged for the perfect off-roader—at a fraction of the cost of the Land Cruiser.

How to find affordable car insurance for off-road vehicles

Whether you’re trekking through tire-deep mud or crawling over logs in the bush, there’s no denying that off-roading is a riot. Buying an off-road car doesn’t always come cheap, and neither does insurance. More off-road adventures mean more risk of damage, which insurance companies aren’t too keen to hear. 
Why should you pay more to take your vehicle on an off-road adventure? Luckily, there’s an easy solution to have your cake and eat it too:
Jerry
. As the #1 rated car insurance app and a
licensed insurance broker
, Jerry finds and compares rates from more than 50 top insurance providers. Sign up in less than 45 seconds and find the right policy for you and your budget. 
You could save an average of $800+ a year on car insurance by shopping with Jerry!
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Jerry
. I literally only typed in 3 pieces of info and Jerry found my current insurance. In a few minutes, they pulled up 2 Progressive policies that showed $900 in savings over 6 months!” —Maeve J.
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