4 x 4 Australia
CHAT WITH THE EXPERT – SIMON VELLA, TOUGH DOG THE VERDICT
“YOU have to pay respect to Toyota for developing such a four-wheel drive for Australia, this vehicle just does it better than the 200 Series Landcruiser,” says Simon. “From ride quality, seating comfort, interior design and off-road ability, the 300 Series in my opinion is an improvement on the 200 Series.
“And that’s not to say the 200 Series is a bad thing at all, nor am I saying that you should sell your 200 Series today and put a deposit on a 300 Series if you are happy with the 200 Series. However, I get to drive these vehicles daily, and I always look forward to jumping in to the 300 Series.
“From a suspension development point of view, working on the 300 Series certainly presented a few challenges, however it was a brilliant exercise to really focus on the vehicle and how we could improve on it. We spent considerable amounts of time testing both in the field and in-house on our shock dyno, and have produced a product that enhances the 300 Series all-round, as well as providing loadcarrying options depending on your requirements. There’s a big difference between someone who tows a horse float versus a weekend warrior, so it was vital we had options available to suit the demands of Australian four-wheel drivers.”
HANDS down, the 300 Series drives better than the 200 Series. Simon from Tough Dog, who drives these vehicles daily, went so far to say the 300 Series is a better vehicle overall. The internet went wild when the 300 was launched, saying it was just a revision of the 200 Series with a smaller capacity engine, but when you get the chance to spend time with someone responsible for developing products for these vehicles, there are many more changes than first meet the eye.
The 300 Series is more comfortable, the dash and interior more modern (funny that) and the power produced from the 3.3L V6 matched to the 10-speed auto easily pulls away from the 200 Series under acceleration testing. That’s not to say the 200 Series isn’t a brilliant vehicle, but everybody wanted to climb back in to the 300 Series ... and that’s saying something.
I am really excited to see the platform develop, as knowledge and aftermarket accessories expand. As Simon said to me on the day, we really are lucky in this country to receive such vehicles, as it allows for the Australian four-wheel drive industry to not only grow, but thrive.