If you need a commercial vehicle with off-road ability, then the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial is an intriguing alternative to a pick-up truck. As you’ve probably guessed, it’s based on Toyota’s legendary Land Cruiser 4×4, but instead of the current SUV’s plush, Lexus-like interior, the Utility (which is also offered as a 5-seat SUV) is stripped of most luxuries, and this Commercial version loses most of its seats, too.
It comes with just two of them up front, while behind those is a steel mesh bulkhead and a large, flat load area where the back seats would be. You can get the Utility in both short and long-wheelbase guises, and that means the five-door model has side doors to go with the side-hinged rear tailgate for access to the load area. Other obvious variations for the commercial version are the 17-inch steel wheels, body-coloured rear side windows and a lack of chrome trim on the grille, or anywhere else for that matter. It gives the Land Cruiser Utility a look that means business.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel as you’ll find in the Land Cruiser SUV. It makes 177bhp at 3,400rpm and 420Nm of torque from 1,400rpm, and is only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and, of course, the obligatory four-wheel drive system with its suite of off-road extras such as hill descent control, hill start assist and an active traction control system that distributes power where it’s needed.
As mentioned, the cabin is fairly utilitarian, as there are velour cloth seats and plenty of hard plastics in place of the Land Cruiser SUV’s plush wood and leather trim. However, that only adds to the Utility’s rugged appeal, and it means it feels suitably robust and unlikely to break.
Due to its unique nature, there aren’t any real rivals to the Land Cruiser Utility Commercial. The only other SUV-based commercial vehicle on sale at the moment is the Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial, which is smaller, but does have the option of a low-emissions plug-in hybrid PHEV version.
Other than that, you’re looking at pick-up trucks such as the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara. These have the plus and minus points. First, you’d need to add a lockable cover or truck top to a pickup for around £1,000 to have similar storage to the Land Cruiser Commercial. Even then it wouldn’t be sealed against the elements as well as the Toyota. But then, pick-ups are able to carry five people and a tonne of payload where the Land Cruiser is limited to two seats and a payload from 488-756kg.
Prices for the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial are £27,600 for the SWB and £28,500 for the LWB, both excluding VAT, which is about what you’d pay for a mid-spec Toyota Hilux.