Best in the bush

Off road there’s no beat­ing the Toy­ota Land­Cruiser, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

THE Toy­ota Land­Cruiser is the biggest and, in some peo­ple’s minds, sim­ply the best four­wheel-drive ve­hi­cle there is.

Toy­ota’s big Cruiser has long been the bench­mark when it comes to four­wheel-drives, and though it has been chal­lenged in re­cent times it re­mains the leader of the off-road pack.

Other four-wheel-drives of­fer more com­fort, more re­fine­ment and more fruit, but few, if any, out­per­form it once the black top stops.

The Land­Cruiser built its rep­u­ta­tion for tough­ness in the 1950s when it showed what it could do work­ing on the Snowy Moun­tains Scheme, and re­mains the car by which all oth­ers are mea­sured when it comes to tough­ness.

But in to­day’s world tough­ness isn’t enough for many own­ers who also want their share of crea­ture com­forts in their four-wheel-drives. Toy­ota at­tempted to ad­dress those wants when it launched the 200 in 2007.

Model watch

THERE was plenty that was new with the 200. It was big­ger, stronger, more fuel-ef­fi­cient, roomier and more re­fined, but it still promised the tra­di­tional Cruiser off-road tough­ness that made it the bench­mark in the class.

The Land­Cruiser has al­ways stood alone with its own no-fuss, tough-as­nails look, but the 200 had a softer look with a smoother shape that cut through the air with greater ef­fi­ciency. It was also big­ger than the 100 Se­ries it re­placed, be­ing longer and wider, with a roomier cabin. In­side it had three rows of seats, able to seat eight adults, with more room in each row for greater com­fort.

For such a big, tough wagon the 200 Se­ries was sur­pris­ingly quiet and com­fort­able but re­mained true to its tough roots with its truck-style de­sign with a body perched on a sep­a­rate frame — though the sus­pen­sion was by coil springs front and back.

Toy­ota of­fered two en­gines in the Land­Cruiser; an up­dated 4.7-litre DOHC petrol V8 and a twin-turbo 4.5-litre diesel V8.

When on full song the V8 pro­duced 202kW at 5400 revs and 410Nm, while the diesel pro­duced 195kW at 3400 revs and 650Nm from 1600-2600 revs. The V8 was linked to a five-speed auto; the diesel to a sixspeed auto, both with full-time four- wheel drive. There were three mod­els in the range: GXL, VX and the ful­lye­quipped Sa­hara.

On the lot

PAY $50,000-$61,000 for a GXL V8, $ 57,000-$ 70,000 for a VX and $68,000-$82,000 for a Sa­hara. Add $7000-$10,000 for sim­i­lar mod­els with the diesel en­gine.

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