COAL: #36 2005 Toyota Land Cruiser – The Cadillac of Toyotas

Alright, so you are probably thinking what could have made me sell my favorite car so far. Well, it’s the car that I almost bought instead of the 2010 S80 V8. At this time, I did not know that the S80 was so great until I did not have it. To this day I still wish I had that car back, and had never sold it. Anyway, after I sold my S80, I had my sights on a Land Cruiser (LC). I knew exactly what I wanted, a 2005+ LC with navigation. I could care less about the color, wheel choices or really even miles. I knew that LC’s lasted for forever, just like my 4Runners, just as long as it was taken care of.

I began my search like usual on Craigslist, but could not come up with anything that really intrigued me. I knew that I wanted at least a 2005 because it came with the backup camera. I also knew that I did not want to get into the 2007’s air suspension, as I knew it would eventually leak. I found a few that I liked, but they were either too high priced, or sold fast. Surprisingly enough, a lot of these older LC’s are sought after by used dealers because they can sell them fast. They hold their value very well, last a long time, and have a big following. On top of all that, dealers that take them on trade often don’t have to do a lot of work to them, mainly because the people who own them tend to care for them and things don’t break on them.

A few months into the search I finally found one that I was looking for, a 2005 with 150,000 miles that was a 1 owner car. The only thing was, it was in Denver. I still called up the seller who had it, and he said he bought it new in 2005, and was just looking for something different. All the maintenance had been done on the car at Toyota, and he had kept all the service records, music to my ears. I got the seller down to $12,500 for the car, but I still had to have it shipped. I used the same shipping company that I had in the past with a few of my older Volvos, and had the car in about 2 days after sending the money.

The car was scheduled to make it to my house on a Monday, but the Saturday before I got a call from the shipping company telling me that the driver was in my area, and could drop the car. I was not able to make it to the phone, so when I called the shipper back, they had informed me that the driver just left the car in my driveway with the keys in it. The only issue was, I was not home. We had gone camping for the weekend; this was frustrating to begin with. On top of that, I was supposed to pay the driver when he dropped the car off, but he was MIA. To make a long story short, the shipping company got an ear full from me, but I also knew that the shipping company was just a broker, and brokered out these car shipments, but still.

When I got the car it was filthy, the car was the top car on the trailer, and was getting all the exhaust soot from the truck pouring onto it. After giving it a bath, the car was still nasty inside; I suspect the seller had kids or grandkids. I got to work cleaning everything in it. The hand brake was set by the shipping company, and kind of stuck so I had to do some adjustments on it really before I could drive it. Once it was shiny and clean I took it out for a spin. It soon became apparent that it needed tires pretty bad, as the ones on it were more aggressive and very loud. I have someone in town that I can get good deals on tires, and he was able to set me up with a set of name brand tires for $700. That was about the only thing that I ever had to do with the car.

My car had the legendary 4.7 V8 that is just about bulletproof. This was at the time, and I think still is, the only engine that you can get in a LC. Speaking of options, Toyota did not really give you a lot to choose from. You always got leather in 2005, and most of the time it was tan, but I think you could opt for a darker color. The rims were all the same, color choices were limited, and 3rd row seat standard. You could choose to get navigation, and a rear seat entertainment center. Also, your choice of fake wood trim, but mine had the basic trim. I really did not care about the options; I just was excited to get a LC that I thought I always wanted.

The longer I drove the car as my daily, the faster I realized that these cars are not what they are all cracked up to be. LC’s have a big cult following, almost bigger than the 4Runner community, and they are looked on like the almighty Toyota. This is one of the reasons that I really wanted one. I test drove several of them before I bought it, but having the car longer, I realized that maybe this was not the car. The main thing that really bothered me about this car was how incredibly slow it was. You could really lay into the pedal and it would just cruise. Another thing that drove me crazy was the rattling. I thought that these were supposed to be really well made, and attention to quality, but the split tailgate rattled to no end. I never had an issue with the split tailgate in any of my XC90’s, so I am not sure what happened there.

The car though was so incredibly smooth. The engine might be slow, but it was like silk. The transmission was like a big Caddy shifting through gears. The ride was decent, but I drove it mainly on well paved roads. The car was so comfortable, the seats were almost as comfy as my Volvo’s… almost. It really did drive like a new car in that regard. The doors would close with a firmness that made you think you were closing a S-Class’s doors. It was a really nice car, but I had plans for this car before I even bought it.

My dad has always wanted a LC of this era. I knew that he would not buy himself one ever because he very tight with money. I knew that I wanted to buy one for a decent price, drive it a bit, and then put a bug into his ear about selling it to him. I also knew that if I bought one, he would be more comfortable in buying it from me. I think he really trusts me on car decisions, so if I bought it, it must be good. Once I got the car, he was over at my house the same day wanting to check it out. He loved it the first time he saw it. I began to ask him if he would want to buy it from me. At first he was against the idea, but the more he saw the car the more he was coming around to the idea. Eventually he asked me what I had in the car, and I told him and knew that he was thinking about it.

My dad did end up buying it from me, and he drove it quite a bit. He has a long commute, and wanted something that he could throw a bunch of miles on. He did end up selling the car after he went a different route in his cars altogether. He still talks about getting another one, but I don’t know if he ever will. In the end it was a great car, but not something I would sell the S80 again for. Now I can say that I owned one, and move on, but I don’t know that they are all what they are cracked up to be. Now on to the next.