Home Car Reviews Comparing the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser and 2021 Land Rover Defender: A Real Off-Roading Analysis

Comparing the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser and 2021 Land Rover Defender: A Real Off-Roading Analysis

Comparing the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser and 2021 Land Rover Defender: A Real Off-Roading Analysis

Title: Battle of the Off-Road Titans: 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition vs. Land Rover Defender

Getting the opportunity to test and compare two iconic off-road vehicles – the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition and the Land Rover Defender – is a rare occurrence. Luckily, the stars aligned, and we found ourselves with both vehicles on some of the best trails Colorado has to offer. As we venture into the wilderness, it’s time to determine which one reigns supreme in the off-road domain.

Fort Collins, Colorado: 8:00 AM
Having owned previous Land Cruiser models, my excitement was palpable as we prepared for our comparison test. Driving the Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition, I was pitted against Kyle Conner and his Land Rover Defender. We chose the IronClads trail, nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, to test these vehicles’ capabilities. The similarities between the Land Cruiser and Defender, despite their nearly 20-year age gap, were impossible to ignore. Both vehicles had powerful engines – a 5.7-liter V8 for the Land Cruiser and a turbocharged inline-six for the Defender.

Bunce School Road Trailhead: 10:00 AM
Arriving at the trailhead, we took a moment to discuss our initial impressions and exchange friendly banter about Land Cruiser versus Land Rover reliability. Eager to tackle the trails, we embarked on our adventure.

IronClads Trailhead: 10:30 AM
Checking our vehicles’ readiness for the off-roading abuse ahead, we examined the tire conditions. The Land Cruiser came equipped with all-terrain tires that left something to be desired, while the Defender boasted optional mud-terrain tires for optimal grip. The Land Cruiser showcased off-road tech features like the ATRAC traction control system, limited-slip and locking center differentials, and Crawl Control. The Defender countered with a locking rear differential, air suspension, and Terrain Response 2 – a terrain management system that automatically adjusts various settings for optimum traction.

Obstacle #1: 11:00 AM
The first challenge on IronClads trail was an off-camber rock step. I opted for the more difficult route in the Land Cruiser, while Kyle took the easier line in the Defender. Both vehicles showcased their prowess, with the Defender impressing us with its capability.

Obstacle #2: 11:20 AM
Next, we encountered a small rock garden with a challenging line to the far right. The Land Cruiser navigated the obstacle while experiencing minor issues with its underbody protection. The Defender, despite dragging its belly in some sections, conquered the rock garden adeptly.

Obstacle #3: 11:30 AM
We reached the final obstacle: a treacherous, off-camber rock shelf. While building up the step with rocks to minimize potential issues, both vehicles climbed without any trouble. The Defender’s DuraTrac tires struggled slightly on the icy sections, but the vehicles scaled the summit successfully, rewarding us with breathtaking views.

End Of Bunch School Road: 12:30 PM
As we concluded our trail voyage, we reflected on our experiences. The Land Cruiser, with its outdated chassis and lacking aggressive off-road tires, felt like a reliable workhorse. On the other hand, the Defender brought a fresh perspective to the off-road realm, with its new tech, modern body, and remarkable capability.

Only One Can Rule:
Choosing a winner proved challenging. If I were to keep a vehicle for over ten years, the reliable Land Cruiser would be my choice. Its track record and lower maintenance costs instill confidence, albeit lacking the charm of its predecessors. However, under warranty, the Defender shines with its modern features, superior capability, and lower price tag. Though concerns about potential air suspension issues exist, the Defender’s overall package impressed us with its capabilities and modern design.

After an intense off-road battle, we dubbed the Land Rover Defender as the king of the trails. With its impressive array of tech, off-road capability, and aesthetically pleasing design, the new Defender represents a revitalized classic. Notably, its chassis performs commendably both on and off-road, and its turbocharged inline-six engine adds to its allure. The Defender enters the off-road arena as a true contender, equipped to conquer any obstacle that comes its way.

Technical Specifications:
– 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition:
– Engine: 5.7-liter V8
– Output: 381 Horsepower / 401 Pound-Feet
– Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic
– Drive Type: Four-Wheel Drive
– Efficiency: 13 City / 17 Highway / 14 Combined
– Weight: 5,815 Pounds
– Seating Capacity: 5
– Cargo Volume: 43.0 / 81.7 Cubic Feet
– Towing Capacity: 8,100 Pounds
– Payload: 1,570 Pounds
– Base Price: $87,845
– As-Tested Price: $90,089

– 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400 SE:
– Engine: Turbocharged 3.0-Liter I6 w/Integrated Starter-Generator
– Output: 395 Horsepower / 406 Pound-Feet
– Transmission: Eight-Speed Automatic
– Drive Type: Four-Wheel Drive
– Efficiency: 17 City / 22 Highway / 19 Combined
– Weight: 5,035 Pounds
– Seating Capacity: 5
– Cargo Volume: 34.0 / 78.8 Cubic Feet
– Towing Capacity: 8,201 Pounds
– Payload: 1,940 Pounds
– Base Price: $62,250
– As-Tested Price: $71,025


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