Toyota Land Cruiser ‘Light Duty Series’ J150 (2014-2018)

Models Covered:

3/5 door family 4x4 (3.0/2.8 D-4D diesel [Active, Icon, Invincible])

By Jonathan Crouch


Toyota’s Land Cruiser has always been the preferred mode of transport in some of the world’s harshest environments – and is particularly popular in its more accessible ‘Light Duty Series’ form. A fourth generation ‘J150’ version of this model series arrived in 2009 and was substantially improved in 2014 to create the car we’re going to look at here as a potential used buy.

The History

In an age of Crossovers, soft roaders and various other permutations of pretend 4x4s, it’s refreshing once in a while to come across the real thing. And this is it. Toyota’s Land Cruiser.

We’re looking here at a modern version of the so-called ‘Light Duty Series’ model, which launched in fourth generation ‘J150’-series guise in 2009. To begin with, it sold alongside a larger V8 diesel-powered super-luxury Land Cruiser that sold to the Range Rover set, but in 2014, Toyota’s UK importers decided to discontinue that bigger V8 model and focus instead on the ‘Light Duty Series’ J150 Land Cruiser model range. To suit that remit, the J150 was made smarter and more luxurious as part of a facelift. It’s that facelifted model, which sold between 2014 and early 2018, that we examine here as a used buy.

Base versions were available with three doors and a short wheelbase bodystyle, but almost all buyers wanted the five-door long wheel base body shape, offered with five seats in lesser guises but with seven seats further up the range. Initially, buyers were offered the 3.0-litre version of Toyota’s D-4D four cylinder diesel that’d been used previously by the J150, but in 2015, that was replaced by a slightly more efficient 2.8-litre version of the same unit. The car was facelifted again for the 2018 model year.

What To Look For

What to look for? How about the smug feeling of satisfaction that comes with buying the toughest 4x4 in its class. Time and again, the Land Cruiser comes top of customer satisfaction surveys and there's a reason for that. It's been engineered to cope with enormous doses of punishment and Toyota has a track record of over sixty years of realising what works and what doesn't.

Inevitably though, our ownership survey came up with a few issues. The 2.8-litre D-4D diesel four cylinder engine has known ‘DPF’ (‘Diesel Particulate Filter’) issues, so some urban-based models have had problems with that issue, the DPF getting clogged up. One owner had a problem with the front wheel hubs getting hot on the left side and smoking. In a few cases, owners reported the engine light on the dash coming on when ‘Eco’ mode was selected; this will require a workshop visit for a check-up. Look out for all these things on your test drive, along with signs of excessive off road use evidenced by bumper and under-body scrapes. Check the alloy wheels carefully for condition and the rear part of the interior for child damage. Insist on a proper service history.

On The Road

If you’d classify the driving position of something like a RAV4 as being ‘high up’, then a seat behind this Land Cruiser’s steering wheel will make you feel like you’re in the umpire’s chair at Wimbledon. It’s a seat of high command from which you marshal an almost bewildering selection of knobs, buttons, screens and switches that collectively combine to send this car smoothly over terrain you’d struggle to walk across, let alone glide through with Radio 4 soothing you on the stereo.

When the first facelift of this ‘J150’ ‘Light Duty Series’ Land Cruiser was announced in 2014, the car continued with the previous 188hp 3.0-litre version of Toyota’s four cylinder diesel, but a year later, this was replaced by the more economic 177hp 2.8-litre version of this unit we’d recommend you try and go for. Expect 60mph from rest in about 10s. The output on offer doesn’t seem like a great deal when a 3.0-litre diesel Discovery from this era offers you nearly 70hp more, but greater emphasis in this Toyota’s case has been put on torque – 450Nm of pulling power being on hand to drag you out of the front gate and power you up to speed in that small traffic gap - or drag you through a parched earth ravine in Death Valley, whichever is most appropriate.

The ride’s actually very good too – or at least it is on the top ‘Invincible’ variant with its electronically modulated rear air suspension, there to address the rather unsettled low speed ride you get on lower-range models. This offers three heights – ‘Normal’, ‘High’ or ‘Low’ – which you might want to manually select: say the ‘Low’ setting to help passengers get in or the ‘High’ mode for a gnarly off road trail. On the move on-tarmac, you’ll want to leave the Speed-Sensitive Control to select forward based in the speed you’re going. There’s also auto levelling that adjusts the suspension to suit the load you’re carrying. On top of the air-sprung damping, the ‘Invincible’ model also gets the desirable AVS Adaptive Variable Suspension system, which can adjust the ride you get to suit the road you’re on and the mood you’re in via the ‘Normal’, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ settings you get from a centre console switch.

And off road? Well where do we start? As long as you can afford the priciest version, it’s everything a Land Rover Discovery is – and then some. There’s a proper range of off road stats that most competitors can only wonder at: an approach angle of 32-degrees, a departure of at least 24-degrees and a ramp breakover angle of 22-degrees. You can drive this car at a scary maximum bank angle of up to 42-degrees and at a maximum forward or reverse pitch angle of 42-degrees. And wade through water up to 700mm deep.


The post-2014-era ‘J150’ ‘Light Duty Series’ Land Cruiser certainly smartened up its act, but it still remained a proper off roader intended for a proper 4x4 lifestyle, not the smiley marketing one you see in the brochures of lesser SUV models. The likelihood is that it’ll never let you down and it’ll very comfortably get you and six passengers wherever you want to go, be your destination Kensington or Kenya. Such has always been the appeal of the Land Cruiser.

This remains a vehicle fit for purpose, a car that’ll still be happily ploughing through mud ruts when you’ve long ago forgotten you ever owned the thing. As an ultimately capable long term ownership proposition, there isn’t much that beats it.