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No mistaking this Land Cruiser

 
Created on 17/02/2016 @ 11:08
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

There’s just no mistaking a Toyota Land Cruiser. It’s big, brash and in some eyes beautiful and with an all-new engine and gearbox it does just what it says on the tin.

The new 2.8-litre D-4D unit, which replaced the 3.0-litre engine last Autumn, sees focus firmly fall on driveability, better torque delivery, lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions but this model is still happier off-road.

The luxury SUV market is becoming a crowded place to be with the emphasis shifting towards luxuries and refinement. And while the bosses at Toyota have gone some way down that road they make no excuses – the Land Cruiser may have seven seats and all the new gizmos but it’s overall strength remains in being the best workhorse out there.

The 2,755cc, 16-valve DOHC engine produces a maximum 174bhp (130kWand matched with new six-speed automatic transmission you can enjoy even more pulling power to be delivered, with an extra 30Nm on tap between 1.600 and 2.400rpm. That makes it perfect for pulling the caravan or horsebox across any type of terrain.

The new automatic benefits from control systems that help Land Cruiser achieve around a nine per cent improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions. On the combined cycle the five-door model on test could achieve 38.2mpg and CO2 emission levels of 194g/km. You get a top speed of 109mph and 0-62 in 12.7seconds.

Toyota has tried to narrow the gap between its rivals and even the entry-level models now come equipped with DAB digital radio, while the options list has been extended to include Toyota Touch 2 with Go, which adds intuitive navigation functions to the vehicle’s high-resolution, touchscreen-controlled multimedia system at an extra cost of £750.

Customers can also specify leather seats for the vehicle. On three-door models this also includes heated front seats and leather door trims (£1,395); on the five-door Active the package includes power adjustment for the front seats and triple-zone automatic air conditioning (£2,795).

The Icon model also adopts DAB and Toyota Touch 2 with Go Plus, adding voice command recognition, 3D city mapping and a text-to-speech function. At the top of the range, Land Cruiser Invincible gains the same new features, plus all the elements included in a new optional Safety Pack.

The safety pack equips the SUV with a wealth of features to help avoid accidents and support safer driving on and off road. These include Adaptive Cruise Control and Pre-Crash Safety system; Lane Change Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; Blind Spot Monitor; and a Multi-Terrain Monitor, which gives a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings.

A Protection Pack is also offered for all five-door models, adding side mouldings, a rear bumper protection plate and a boot liner.

It all sounds great but the result is an inflated price tag and the Automatic Invincible on test hit the road at a cool £55,595.

I found the Land Cruiser genuinely more at home on the country track than on the open road, with the feeling that you could tackle any obstacle the countryside could throw your way. For improved traction over rugged terrain, the model benefits from a low-ratio gearbox and lockable centre differential.

But it’s still comfortable enough on the open road. You sit extremely high up, so vision all-round is brilliant, but that means a bit of corner lean which needs the driver to stay concentrated.

After a week behind the wheel you would soon find yourself at home though and in the cabin all the controls are exactly where you would expect to find them.

Inside there’s more space than you are ever likely to need, though the third row of seats does eat into the massive boot area when upright. There’s loads of storage space and there were no complaints from three hefty six-footers who travelled in the back.

The model on test may be a little outside of many price-ranges but you can still put a Land Cruiser on the road for under £36,000 – and that’s a lot of car for your money.


 

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