When the all-new 2008 Land Cruiser creaked up onto our weight scales, it instantly earned itself an ignominious new name: the Land Crusher. At 5920 pounds, it's a three-ton rolling road dent. We're talking dense here. If it were on the Periodic Table of the Elements, it would appear somewhere between uranium and kryptonite (symbol, LC). But crack the throttle, and the Land Cruiser goes from lead sled to rocket sled in the time it takes to awaken its 381-5.7-liter Tundra V-8-based-horsepower. "This thing's an all-terrain dragster," quipped a neck-rubbing tester.
In just six-point-five seconds, it can spin its 285/60R18s to 60 mph, a crazy two seconds below its comparatively anemic, 265-horse, 5450-pound predecessor. Add in its slick-shifting, six-speed automatic transmission (swapped for last year's five-cogger), and you've got a combination that "will definitely make for faster U.N. getaways when those armed conflicts get a little too hairy," an evident CNN fan observed. On the dark side, it's also Toyota's gas-lapping CAFE counterweight to its much ballyhooed hybrid fleet, sucking an estimated 13 mpg city/18 highway. Do Prius owners know about this thing?
If they live somewhere other than sweetly paved suburbia, they probably should. This is a mountain goat with stitched leather upholstery, made even more facile in treacherous situations with Crawl Control, a feature that allows the Land Cruiser to pick over moonscapes at an electronically modulated optimum speed.
Back in terra suburbia, you'd be forgiven for confusing its driving experience for that of a silky Lexus (essentially it's a dressed-down version of the new LX 570, of course), but outside, it's unmistakably "Land Cruiser." Is the 2008 Land Cruiser is the pinnacle combination of sport and 'ute of this year's SUV crop, stay tuned to MotorTrend.com and the December issue of Motor Trend to find out.