Since 1951, Toyota has been producing the kind of vehicle that can be relied upon for any type of punishment that can be thrown at it. That vehicle is the Toyota Land Cruiser. Sales in the UK may well be modest, but countries with less civilised terrain literally lap them up, knowing that the rugged beasts will just go on and on. At the Frankfurt motor show in September, Toyota took the wraps off the latest generation Land Cruiser, and the newcomer is arriving in showrooms right about now. Built to last is the name of the game, and that is translated into the no-nonsense interior, with upright styling, and bold, clunky buttons. The softtouch plastics give a feeling of quality, while all of the fittings are durable. The driving position gives you a commanding view of the road ahead, while visibility all around the vehicle is good. There’s lots of adjustment to the seats and the steering wheel, so gaining a comfortable driving position is easy, and you’ll find plenty of room around the cabin, with decent legroom for middle row passengers in particular. Adults that travel in the rearmost seats will only want to do so for a short journey, but it is fine for children. Boot space is at its best with the rearmost seats folded away, as when in place there’s little room for luggage.
The Land Cruiser is unusual in that its 3.0-litre D-4D engine has four-cylinders rather than the usual six, with power lower than some of its main rivals. But there’s an advantage with this, the Land Cruiser produces lower levels of CO2 emissions at 214g/km, while having the capability of achieving 34.9mpg on the combined cycle. This stands up well compared to the Discovery, which produces 244g/km and achieves just 30.4mpg. Out on the road, it is clear that the Land Cruiser isn’t going to win any prizes as a driver’s car. It lacks the precision of the Discovery and wallows through bends and over bumpy roads. But show it a muddy field or a serious off-road track and the Land Cruiser comes into its own. Here it will show most rivals a clean pair of heals and will cope with virtually anything you throw at it. It’s able to wade through water that is 70 centimetres deep and climb angles up to 42 degrees. We know, because at the Land Cruiser’s launch in Buckinghamshire on a wet November day, we were taken through a series of tough tasks that we expected not to come back from. The Land Cruiser equipped itself incredibly well, not baulking for a second at any of the tough terrain that it was asked to traverse over.
With a price tag of £40,395, the Land Cruiser isn’t the cheapest off-roader on the market, with Mitsubishi’s Shogun undercutting it by a few thousand pounds. Standard equipment is extremely generous to justify the price tag though, with a full set of safety equipment, 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, Bluetooth hands-free system, front and rear parking sensors, a snazzy JBL audio system, electric and heated leather seats, tri-zone climate control and a whole host of other useful gadgets.
RIVALS: LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 3.0 TDV6 XS, MITSUBISHI SHOGUN 3.2 DI-DC
- Engine: 2982cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed automatic
- Max power: 171bhp at 3,400rpm
- Max torque: 302lb ft at 1,600 to 2,800rpm
- Max towing weight: 3,000kg
- Max speed: 109mph
- 0-62mph: 11.7secs
- Combined consumption: 34.9mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 214g/km (K)
- Bootspace: 621/1,151litres
- Insurance group: 32