Best in the bush
Off road there’s no beating the Toyota LandCruiser, writes Graham Smith
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.
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.