Review: Toyota Land Cruiser

Review: Toyota Land Cruiser
Review: Toyota Land Cruiser

The car to conquer the world’s wilderness is revised for 2018

Not only can the Toyota Land Cruiser go anywhere – the outback, the Arctic, you name it – you can also take it anywhere. It’s classless. It doesn’t say anything about you, other than that you have bought it for good reason, not simply for show. People respect this.

Toyota hasn’t become complacent, though. This version, which was introduced back in 2009, has been given a heavy set of revisions for 2018, aimed at helping it keep pace with rivals such as the Land Rover Discovery, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and posh alternatives such as the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.

The basics are the same, but the frame has been made more rigid, and the 2.8-litre turbodiesel enhanced with a better exhaust gas emissions system. There’s still a choice of three-door or five-door bodystyles, with up to seven seats, and there’s also now a cheaper, more basic ‘Utility’ version. A Land Cruiser van, if you like – which, like the others, can tow a trailer weighting up to three tonnes.

Toyota Land Cruiser 2.8 D-4D Invincible 5dr auto

Price: £52,295
Engine: 2.8-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel
Power: 174bhp at 3400rpm
Torque: 331lb ft at 1600-2400rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic
Kerb weight: 2430kg
Top speed: 108mph
0-62mph: 12.7sec
Economy: 44.8mpg
CO2 emissions: 194g/km

It’s still wildly over-specced for off-road use. A low range transfer box is standard and there’s a new set of cameras which you can watch through the enlarged centre screen, helping you go as deep as you dare off road. Off-road crawl-control ‘cruise control’ is amazing, enhanced further by a clever new Torsen limited-slip rear differential. Add in air suspension and it’s no wonder people who live in the middle of nowhere will only choose a Land Cruiser.

That’s why it’s not necessarily something that excels in everyday UK use. The engine, for example, doesn’t sound as classy as the six-cylinder alternative so many SUV fans enjoy, although it’s still effective enough and not too loud when cruising. Steering is light and lifeless, handling isn’t as sophisticated as the Germans and you’ll likely find a Q7 smoother and more serene.

But that’s not the point. Toyota took us off-roading to show what it can really do. OK, the raw numbers aren’t as impressive as a Land Rover Discovery, but you’ll still probably reach the limits of the tyres way before you reach the limits of the Land Cruiser. That’s how capable it is.

All conducted from a refined, cosseting cabin, with comfortable seats, a nice view out and a cracking sound system. Yes, you can pick fault with the finish of some of the plastics, which aren’t as posh as you get in a Volvo, but Toyota counters with a huge amount of equipment that delivers everything you could ever wish for at a £53k price tag: on a £60k Discovery, you’ll still find gaps in the spec list.

Toyota’s even redesigned the rear seats, so they fold flat into the floor and are thus easier to use. Add in plentiful all-round space for a 2.3-tonne SUV that’ll drive seven people up a mountainside without pausing for breath or ever frightening the driver.

This will never be a big seller in the UK. The interior isn’t classy enough for that, and it lacks the all-important brand clout. But for those who need the breadth of ability it’s capable of, which it’ll deliver with absolute reassurance and reliability, it’s almost without peer. If that’s you, this 2018 Land Cruiser will not disappoint.

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