Big 4x4 that makes you feel In­vin­ci­ble

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORING -

TREE hug­gers should look away now… but for those who en­joy driv­ing through wood­land – or in a ve­hi­cle that looks like it eas­ily could – here’s the car for you.

The Toy­ota Land Cruiser has been a bit of a bruiser ever since the first model was launched in the 1950s. Watch news footage of war-torn ar­eas in Africa and the Mid­dle East and chances are many on both sides are run­ning around in old Toy­ota 4x4s, with the Land Cruiser be­ing the lo­cal war­lord’s trans­port of choice.

So they are tough trucks – in fact the Land Cruiser has for many years been the best-sell­ing 4x4 in Australia, es­pe­cially in the Out­back. To date more than five mil­lion have been sold in 176 coun­tries.

Then there is the sheer size of the thing… and as a De­fender driver I can tell you size mat­ters in the 4x4 com­mu­nity. I re­mem­ber see­ing my first Land Cruiser in the UK in the mid-1980s and was blown away with the sheer enor­mity of the thing – we were all run­ning around in Chevettes and Mk2 Es­corts which were dwarfed by the big 4x4.

Also a good off-roader has to have a real ma­cho name – Chero­kee, War­rior, An­i­mal, Bighorn, Shogun, Mav­er­ick, Blazer, Pathfinder, Touareg, Out­lander, Jimny… well per­haps not the last one.

So our test car this week, the Land Cruiser In­vin­ci­ble, scores on ev­ery level so far.

The cur­rent in­car­na­tion was launched last year and was the most com­pre­hen­sive makeover of the model since 2009 – with new ex­te­rior trim in­clud­ing a dis­tinc­tive, re­designed front end with a deeper bumper, ‘her­itage-in­spired’ grille and new light clus­ters. There are re­vised rear lamp units and new al­loy wheel de­signs and ex­te­rior colour choices and a re­designed dash­board to make its im­proved on and off-road drive and sus­pen­sion sys­tems eas­ier to use.

Also new is a sec­ond colour screen in the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle with ex­tended func­tions in­clud­ing a body an­gle gauge, trac­tion con­trol op­er­a­tion mon­i­tor­ing on each wheel and the sta­tus of the dif­fer­en­tial locks plus tyre pres­sure warn­ing, head­lamp lev­el­ling, trac­tion con­trol sta­tus and blind spot mon­i­tor alerts.

The model’s three-tier grade clas­si­fi­ca­tions were also changed in 2014 to Ac­tive, Icon and In­vin­ci­ble, bring­ing the range in line with Toy­ota’s other all-wheel drive mod­els.

Land Cruisers have sur­round sound pre­mium au­dio, triple-zone au­to­matic air con­di­tion­ing and a Blu-Ray/gam­ing en­ter­tain­ment pack­age for rear seat pas­sen­gers with a large flip down screen in the roof… so no more I-spy when you take the lit­tle ones on a big trip.

Other im­prove­ments in­clude the first use of Toy­ota’s Touch 2 and Touch 2 with Go mul­ti­me­dia and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems with bet­ter func­tion­al­ity, dis­play and fea­tures.

Ad­di­tion­alddi i ld ad­vancedd tech­nol­ogy gives bet­ter han­dling, safety and driver guid­ance, in­clud­ing rear cross traf­fic alert, blind spot mon­i­tors, trailer sta­bil­ity con­trol a pre­c­ol­li­sion brak­ing sys­tem and adap­tive cruise con­trol.

The new trailer sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem (stan­dard on In­vin­ci­ble mod­els) uses yaw rate, steer­ing and ac­cel­er­a­tion sen­sors to de­tect any sway de­vel­op­ing in a trailer and ini­ti­ate de­cel­er­a­tion and yaw mo­ment con­trol.

The adap­tive vari­able sus­pen­sion (AVS) al­lows the driver to fine-tune the Land Cruiser’s ride and elec­tronic rear air sus­pen­sion (In­vin­ci­ble mod­els) works with the AVS to give bet­ter sta­bil­ity and ride qual­ity, re­gard­less of how many peo­ple or the load on board.

Cam­eras b be­neath hh the door mir­rors and front and rear bumpers give the driver a view on the dash­board screen of ar­eas im­me­di­ately all around the ve­hi­cle that might be hard to see when go­ing off-road or park­ing in a tight spot.

Just one en­gine op­tion is of­fered on UK mod­els, a 3.0-litre D-4D diesel en­gine with ei­ther five-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion or six-speed man­ual giv­ing 0 to 62 in 11 sec­onds and a 109 mph top speed.

Mpg is 29 ur­ban, very nearly 40 ex­tra-ur­ban and 35 com­bined, which con­sid­er­ing the size (over 4.7 me­tres long and nearly two me­tres tall and wide) is none too shabby.

So there is lots of clever kit for your £53,355 (top of the range In­vin­ci­ble), although Land Cruiser mo­tor­ing can be had for much less with base mod­els start­ing at £35,855.

But what’s it like be­hind the wheel? Well with such size and sheer road pres­ence you feel like a king of the road (and off-road). Like all Toy­otas it’s well put to­gether and there are lots of toys... but most im­por­tantly it feels as tough as old boots.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.