Toyota Land Cruiser 120, is the official car of old-fashioned gangsters and mobster. If he’s 50 years old, has a generous gut, wears a leather cap and drives a Toyota Land Cruiser 120 or has a chauffeur, you’d do very well to stay as far away from him as possible and yield in any situation. Even if you have the green light. 

I’ll even tell that classic joke about the Land Cruiser because the 90’s generation had an 8-seat capacity and the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 could accommodate 7 seats so you could cram several mobsters into one car, but the reality is that the Land Cruiser had a cult car status, especially in the Eastern area towards Ukraine and Russia. And I have a hunch that this stems very much from the fact that the mobsters needed cars that would go fast over very bad terrain, and for that, you need something in the Patrol or Land Cruiser style. X5? Sure, it’s fast but on tarmac. Try driving an X5 from Kiev to Moscow and see what happens. I’ve been to Kiev. And not in an X5. And not with my consent.


Plus the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 wanted to punch more into this premium area and came with many new toys. Upholstery made from the skins of victims who didn’t pay their debts on time, infotainment system running on the microchips of the phones those same victims made their last call with, air suspension, steering wheel controls and so on. Basically, you had a reliable Range Rover that cost half as much to buy. Yes, it’s not as reliable as the previous generation and it definitely remains a pain of an expensive car to maintain but the Toyota people have tried to convince us that it’s actually a sensible family car, in the same way as the MP5 is a decent, sensible gardening tool.

Oh yes, I forgot to say. Normally the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 is labeled the Land Cruiser Prado, and the normal Land Cruiser of this generation is the Land Cruiser 200. In many countries however they were sold at the same time, with the Land Cruiser 120 having the 3.0 diesel engines for the peasants and the V8 petrols for the Land Cruiser 200.


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Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Engines


  • 4.0 V6 of 240 horsepower – Pretty good, pretty popular. Sort of the Tom Jones of engines, it’s big, it’s reliable, it needs occasional maintenance, it makes you feel good but doesn’t make you drop a tear when you see it pop up on TV. It’s there. It does the job. You just need to feed it coil packs and water pumps. Tom Jones.
  • 4.6 V8 of 286 horsepower  – Toyota and Lexus are always thinking about the environment. So Lexus decided to take the 4.7 V8 engine and make it more efficient, more economical and more environmentally friendly and made it 0.1 litres smaller.
  • 4.7 V8 of 288 horsepower  – To give you an idea of what this car is all about, a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 was the company car of a political baron who achieved the genetic feat of being his own mother, or so he told the press when they asked him why he doesn’t have anything on his name but his mom was eye-watering rich. And a news report said that the city council spent only 100,000 euros in 8 years to maintain this monster, only in fuel. 284,000 km and 74,000 litres of petrol which means about 26 litres chugged per 100 km. One litre is enough to move you 4 kms.


  • 3.0 D-4D 4-cylinder of 163 and 173 horsepower – The most popular engine in the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 is unfortunately also the least reliable on the list. Cracked pistons, broken injectors, broken injector seals, cut cylinder heads, cut arms, cut feet, cut fuel lines. The issue wasn’t fixed until 2014 so if you have a Land Cruiser 3.0 D-4D prepare yourself financially. Oh yes, the injector seats also crack if you use doubtful-quality diesel.
  • 4.5 Twin-Turbo V8 of 272 horsepower – In Europe as long as it has quality oil and oil filters changed on schedule, then it will last long and well. I say in Europe because the engine has an issue with the left turbo, which sits very close to the air filter. In Europe is not an issue, but in countries where they get as much dust as we get from Darude, the air filter will inevitably draw dust and a lot of that dust will end up in the left turbino. The right one is 2 km away from the filter and doesn’t have this issue so frequently. The only solution is to change the air filter often if you know you often drive through dusty areas.


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Toyota Land Cruiser 120 General Issues

  • For models with air suspension you have to set money aside, because they will often crack under the pressure of the 5000 tons the Land Cruiser prouds itself with. And for those with the classic suspension, you still need to save up because all suspension components will be under siege.
  • It’s a very expensive car to maintain. With 5000 tons at your command you’ll be changing the suspension, brakes and tires often. It’s reliable, but it’s not cheap to maintain.
  • Watch out for rust and dents, especially underneath. Most of them have been used off-road and you have to check it more than your wife checks you up when you arrive home 2 hours later than closing time at work.
  • I’m no environmental activist but the Land Cruiser is notorious for its fuel consumption no matter what engine you choose. Personally, I’ve driven one of these and at 60mph you’d get 12 litres per 100km and at 80mph you’d only get 17 litres per 100km. By the time I accelerated the consumption had already gone up to 45 litres per 100 km. And it was a 3.0 D-4D.


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Toyota Land Cruiser 120 Verdict

For us Europeans, the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 and the 150 that followed are status cars, cars that rival the Range Rover LR322 or the Mercedes GL. In fact, come to think of it, the Toyota Land Cruiser 4.7 V8 petrol is a decent rival to the Range Rover 5.0 V8 petrol or the GL550. And that makes them status cars, to be driven around London to see how well you’re doing. Or at county council meetings in the balkans. For the rest of the world, however, the Land Cruiser and Hilux have unfortunately become an emblem of less than moral or good activities. And that’s because no matter what the conditions, whether it’s a sand dune or a mountain or bullets, the Land Cruiser will stand up to anything. The car is made to be able to face absolutely any condition, no matter how much it costs.


What engines do I recommend? For petrol, I recommend the 240-horsepower 4.0 V6 and for diesel the fabulous 272-horsepower 4.5 Twin-Turbo V8 monster, although you’ll most likely buy a 163-horsepower 3.0 D-4D.