PICKING a winner here is nigh on impossible, if for no other reason than the disparate pricing of the three. Regardless of this, the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the three are laid bare when you drive them back-to-back and, as ever, some obvious differences come to the fore, as do a few surprises.
Most obviously the two Toyota’s fall into one camp and the Discovery is off on its own, and not just because of its name. It’s been created in a completely different technological paradigm. You just couldn’t imagine Toyota building anything like this Discovery, at least in the foreseeable future – if ever – as its whole Land Cruiser philosophy is centred on durability not technological evolution.
The two Toyotas are also very different, even if they are both Land Cruisers and share the same basic design philosophy: body-on-chassis all-steel construction; independent front and live-axle rear suspension; and coils springs all around.
Given the 200 is considerably more expensive than the 150 (a 200 GXL is a tad more costly than a Kakadu) you’d think it would be a better vehicle all ’round, but it’s not. The 150 beats the 200 for fuel economy, touring range and engine refinement, plus it’s more nimble and easier to drive. Given its price advantage over both 200 and Discovery, and the fact that it does everything so well, it’s the sensible buy of the three. A low legal towing capacity and only modest performance are the chief reasons why a Prado may not suit; although, as mentioned, the towing capacity may be one thing Toyota addresses with the imminent Prado update.
The 200’s big, grunty, effortless and low-revving V8 is the main reason to buy it and not the Prado. Make no mistake: it’s the V8 engine that defines the essential difference between the two Land Cruisers; although, the 200 gives you more space as well. And for heavy-duty towing – even aside from the legalities – there’s no comparison between the 200 and Prado.
This leads to the new, hightech Discovery. It has a body
nearly as big as the 200 in a package that’s a little lighter than the Prado. On the road it almost feels like a sportscar compared to the two Toyotas but can match or better them off-road. Its performance and capability spectrum from on-road to off-road is unrivalled here.
But the Discovery is complex by comparison and still not perfect. And while the key shortfalls in terms of its usefulness as a serious 4x4 are more in the details, the details in question are critical. The tyre and wheel package, although more offroad practical than that of the Discovery 4, is still far from ideal for a go-anywhere 4x4. And you can’t readily fit smaller wheels due to the size of the front brakes; although, the front brakes are no bigger than the Discovery 4’s, so bespoke 18s are theoretically possible.
Likewise, the 77-litre fuel capacity (85 litres with the Td6) is shy of what’s ideal, even if the Sd4 engine is economical. Note that some RR and RRS models have 105litre tanks on their similar platforms and, if anything, you’d think that a 105-litre tank would better serve a Discovery than its upmarket siblings given they are less likely to venture far from civilisation.
The two Toyotas fall into one camp and the Discovery is off on its own