On this episode of Toyota Land Cruiser TFL Pro, we are comparing it to a new Nissan Armada. Why put these two side by side? It’s because they have more in common than you might think.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Our long term project truck is a 2008 Land Cruiser. This big three-row SUV is synonymous with off-roading and overlanding. The Land Cruiser has built up a reputation of quality, dependability, and reliability over the last several decades. We purchased it nearly a year ago with an eye to modify it and make it more off-road worthy. We decided to turn it into a TFL Pro. It’s our take on what Toyota would do themselves if they did build a Land Cruiser TRD Pro.
The formula is relatively straightforward. Give it a mild lift, off-road wheels and tires, side rock rails, and a snorkel (aka. High altitude air intake). We also wrapped the truck in TRD Pro white color.
This 2008 model is the first year of the Land Cruiser 200 series in the United States. Under the hood is a giant and powerful 5.7-liter V8 engine with 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. It has a full-time 4WD system with a 4Lo transfer case. It has an independent front and solid rear axle suspension. It has a center locking differential, and the new BFGoodrich KO2 all-terrain tires round out the basics.
TFL Pro build consists of:
- OME off-road shocks and a two-inch lift.
- Toyota TRD Pro wheels (same as on the current factory Tundra TRD Pro).
- BFGoodrich KO2 AT tires
- Metal-tech side rock rails
- ARB Safari Air-intake / snorkel
- White color body wrap by the Man Cave
The Land Cruiser offers a big and comfortable interior with luxurious leather. It has a built-in navigation system, crawl control, DVD infotainment system and more. It’s practically ready for any off-road or on-road adventure.
The new Armada actually has a lot in common with the Land Cruiser, even though it does not directly compete against it (especially on price). However, the new Armada is based on a Nissan Patrol chassis that is several years old. The Nissan Patrol has off-road pedigree based on its success around the world over the last several decades.
Under the hood is a large gas 5.6-liter V8. It’s rated at 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque for the U.S. version of the SUV. It’s mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission. The Armada is equipped with a 4×4 system that has an “Auto” all-wheel-drive mode, 4Hi and 4Lo modes as well (thanks to a low range transfer case).
The Armada has an independent front and rear suspension that is biased toward on-road comfort, which it has plenty of. Overall, it’s factory stance is very similar to that of the current factory Land Cruiser. It has a large plastic front and rear bumper covers, as well as body integrated side steps. It does not offer a lot of ground clearance or extreme approach/departure angles. I think Nissan could spark much more interest in the Armada with a dedicated PRO-4X off-road version.
This top of the line Armada Platinum Reserve model has all the luxury and latest driver-assistance features. The leather seats are very comfortable. It’s equipped with adaptive cruise control and a rear-view camera mirror.
At the end of the day, these two offer very similar interior space and comfort for six, seven, or eight people – depending on configuration. Both have plenty of off-road gear to tackle challenging terrain. Both have big, powerful and thirsty V8 engines. Both offer the latest high-tech features you come to expect in a vehicle of this class and stature.
Although, pricing is where they differ greatly. A new 2019 Toyota Land Cruiser starts at around $85,000 and comes with more or less everything as standard equipment. A new 2019 Nissan Armada 2WD starts in the $45,000 neighborhood. However, this fully optioned Armada Platinum Reserver has a retail price of over $67,000. This also may sound like a lot of money, and it is. Consider that a fully-optioned Chevy Tahoe or Ford Excursion go for between $77,000 – $82,000 depending on options. This makes the Armada look like a bargain by comparison.