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Hard not to be impressed

 
Created on 10/12/2014 @ 08:35
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze 

The latest Toyota Land Cruiser is built of strong stuff and will do just about anything you ask – but there’s a price to pay.

The Land Cruiser is backed by over 60 years  of all-wheel-drive engineering and lives up to its reputation for toughness and go-anywhere ability. But you get what you pay for and the model on test would cost a hefty £55,020.

The Invincible with a four cylinder diesel. Three litre engine and full-time four wheel drive came with a five speed automatic gearbox and checked in at £52,960 but a safety pack and metallic paint pushed the price up another £2,000.

It’s hard not to be impressed by the sturdy looks and impressive cabin though and if you’ve got that sort of disposable cash the Land Cruiser is a pretty good alternative in competitive sector.

You get the feeling that the Land Cruiser is happier off-road and it’s probably not as agile as some of the competition on-road and is a nightmare to park on busy streets. It has a low ratio gearbox and lockable centre differential for improved traction.

But the test car was completely at home on the motorway and a pleasure to take on a long journey. There's a fair amount of lean in bends and the car does bounce around on rough surfaces though.

You need to be pretty mobile to even get in and out because there’s a high driving position, which means visibility is great when behind the wheel. A superb rear-view camera is a real bonus for reversing into those tight spaces – you need all the help you can get.

It’s a practical car too and is highly adaptable from one to seven seats. For example when seating four, the middle seat of the second row can be stowed to allow more elbow room.

The blind spot warning system is a real bonus with a monitoring system in place when you indicate to change lanes using radars in the door mirrors. If it senses a car a symbol flashes in the door mirror, changing to an audible warning if you get too close.

The Land Cruiser is a safe option with seven airbags, active front head restraints and cruise control. And you won’t break in easily either with deadlocks, an alarm system and glass break sensors meaning the model is a secure as it gets.

You get hill-start control, downhill assist control, limited slip differential, 4-wheel active height control, crawl control, multi-terrain options and smart energy stop-start function.

There’s dusk sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror along with front and rear parking sensors.

Rear seat passengers aren’t forgotten with an entertainment system, heated seats and individual climate controls.

Cheaper models in the range get climate control, alloy wheels and Bluetooth but expect to pay a premium if you want leather, Sat-Nav or Bluetooth connectivity.

The test model had a top speed of 109mph and reached 62mph in 11seconds. Fuel consumption reflects the size with 34.9mpg on the combined cycle and C02 emissions are high at 213g/km.

The Land Cruiser wouldn’t be my first choice in this sector but if you need to use the vehicle to its full 0ff-road capacity you won’t find anything better.

 

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