In the world of sport-utility vehicles there are big and not-so, luxurious and mildly-so, capable and so-so. Then there's the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Cruiser, and its Toyota family near-twin, the Lexus LX 450, has few peers when it comes to a supreme level of all-around competence, from tuxedo night at the country club to bashing through the very worst of off-road nightmares. If you're looking for ruggedness, consider this: The Cruiser is sold in over 180 countries throughout the world, and most of those places don't have the infrastructure of, say, Dallas, Texas. Most of what's said about the Cruiser also applies to the Lexus LX 450. But there are a number of distinctions, including a substantial difference in price. For example, the LX 450's suspension is tuned for a smoother ride and it has specific wheels and tires. In addition, the LX 450 includes many features as standard equipment which are optional on the Cruiser, such as seven-passenger seating. And there are some items standard on the Lexus which are simply not available on the Cruiser: The LX 450 has LS 400-level leather, wood-grain interior trim inserts, an exclusive 195-watt sound system, a couple of unique colors, automatic climate control, cell phone pre-wiring, the Lexus multi-function remote entry system, and an optional in-cabin six-disc CD changer. Last, the Lexus has some specific exterior trim details, such as the grille, headlamp design, body side cladding and color-keyed bumpers. Our tester was a Land Cruiser, but in operation and general feel the two vehicles are virtually identical.
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