Land Cruiser is a star trekker

Gloucestershire Echo - - TEST DRIVE - By ROY WOODCOCK

IF you boldly want to go where few men have gone be­fore, you would prob­a­bly choose a Toy­ota Land Cruiser. There are many cars to­day that look and claim off-road abil­ity. Few, how­ever, will match the Toy­ota’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties and, when the go­ing gets tough, you can be sure it will prob­a­bly be out in front lead­ing the way.

So, that’s nailed its cre­den­tials firmly to the mast. It’s a go-any­where, do-any­thing type of ve­hi­cle, that will never let you down. It’s rugged, ro­bust and will take all sorts of ill treat­ment with­out com­plaint.

Off-road, and I’m talk­ing about more than some muddy green lane, it’s hugely im­pres­sive. As well as a high and low ra­tio gear­box, plus a limited slip dif­fer­en­tial, there are sev­eral clever and so­phis­ti­cated on-board sys­tems that will al­low it to tackle what, at first glance, seems to­tally im­pass­able.

It can wade through wa­ter up to 700mm deep, has ground clear­ance of 215mm and can climb at 42 de­grees. It can also tow a trailer or car­a­van weigh­ing up to three tonnes.

Out on the road, un­der nor­mal driv­ing con­di­tions, is where you might have to give some pay-back; where the pen­du­lum swings the other way and you have to work out if the pluses out­weigh the mi­nuses.

What I’m say­ing is that it can feel cum­ber­some and slug­gish; this is a re­ally big and wide ve­hi­cle that’s not that ag­ile when it comes to ne­go­ti­at­ing the twists and turns of ev­ery­day mo­tor­ing.

Look­ing at the big­ger pic­ture, what’s per­haps not sur­pris­ing, given its true ca­pa­bil­i­ties, is that the Land Cruiser is more widely avail­able than any cur­rent Toy­ota model, be­ing sold in more than 190 coun­tries world­wide.

Its un­matched off-road abil­i­ties have earned it a rock-solid rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s tough­est and most re­li­able 4x4s and made it the seg­ment sales leader in more than ten Euro­pean mar­kets.

In its most re­cent it­er­a­tion the new Land Cruiser has a revised model range in the UK which, for the first time, in­cludes a “work­horse” Util­ity grade that’s tested here, with a sim­ple equip­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tion and a choice of three or five-door body styles.

It forms the en­try point to a line-up that also in­cludes Ac­tive, Icon and high-tech­nol­ogy In­vin­ci­ble grades. Util­ity might tend to con­vey some sort of spar­tan, no frills, ver­sion but this is hardly any sort of mo­tor­ing “hair shirt”. My five-door au­to­matic ver­sion was fit­ted with 17in steel wheels, roof rails, front fog lights, air­con­di­tion­ing, dusk-sens­ing head­lights, cruise con­trol, smart en­try and a six-speaker au­dio sys­tem with CD player, Blue­tooth, Aux-in and USB Port.

A six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion can be spec­i­fied for the five-door and is stan­dard on the three-door model.

So, more than enough home com­forts to be go­ing on with . . .

Ac­tive grade, avail­able with a five or seven-seat in­te­rior, makes the switch from steel to 17in al­loy wheels and adds rear park­ing sen­sors, dual-zone au­to­matic air-con­di­tion­ing, leather steer­ing wheel trim and the Toy­ota Touch 2 in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with 8in touch­screen and nine-speaker au­dio sys­tem.

At the heart of the line-up, the seven-seat Land Cruiser Icon adds a num­ber of new fea­tures for this lat­est model, in­clud­ing Toy­ota Safety Sense ac­tive safety sys­tems, 19in al­loys, leather up­hol­stery and front seats with heat­ing and ven­ti­la­tion func­tions.

As pre­vi­ously, it comes equipped with LED head­lights and front fog lights, an en­try light­ing sys­tem, rear pri­vacy glass, rain-sens­ing wipers and the Toy­ota Touch 2 with Go pack­age with nav­i­ga­tion and en­hanced con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions.

At the top of the range, the Land Cruiser In­vin­ci­ble is equipped with many ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy fea­tures as stan­dard, to im­prove han­dling and sta­bil­ity both on-road and off. These in­clude a lock­ing Torsen rear dif­fer­en­tial, ki­netic dy­namic sus­pen­sion sys­tem, multi-ter­rain se­lect, multi-ter­rain mon­i­tor, crawl con­trol and a 360-de­gree panoramic view mon­i­tor with an un­der-ve­hi­cle ter­rain view.

The safety spec­i­fi­ca­tion is boosted by the ad­di­tion of a blind spot mon­i­tor and rear cross traf­fic alert.

Land Cruiser’s 2.8-litre D-4D tur­bod­iesel en­gine is a 2,755cc, 16-valve DOHC unit, which de­vel­ops 175bhp at 3,400rpm. Matched to a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, it pro­duces 370Nm of torque at just 1,200rpm, and a max­i­mum 450Nm be­tween 1,600 and 2,400rpm.

It will ac­cel­er­ate the ve­hi­cle from rest to 62mph in 12.7 sec­onds, and on to a max­i­mum 109mph. Of­fi­cial com­bined cycle fuel con­sump­tion is 38.2mpg with 194g/km CO2 emis­sions.

In short, this is a car you feel al­most in­de­struc­tible in.

■■Toy­ota Land Cruiser: From £34,145 (as tested) to £59,140 on the road. Visit www.toy­ota.co.uk for more in­for­ma­tion.

Its un­matched off-road abil­i­ties have earned it a rock-solid rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s tough­est and most re­li­able 4x4s

The ca­pa­ble Toy­ota Land Cruiser

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