Land Cruiser is a star trekker
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