What is it?
The latest iteration of a name plate that is legendary. The LandCruiser 200 Series was released in 2007 and is currently scheduled for an update around 2021.
We tested the VX specification, the third in a chain of four. It’s powered by a 600Nm 4.5-litre diesel V8, and that peak torque is on tap between 1600 and 2600rpm. Peak power is quoted at 200kW.
Weighing in at more than 2700kg dry, and with a gross weight of 3350kg, economy is a claimed 9.5L/100km on the combined cycle. Our test was way off, with a highway best of 11.5L/100km. That’s from a main tank of 93 litres and sub-tank of 45 litres.
Transmission is 6-speed auto only.
What’s it cost?
Toyota’s website allows a prospective buyer to configure their vehicle, and pricing depends on location.
The entry level GX, for example, in plain white, starts at $84,600 for our location. The VX, as tested in Silver Pearl, was $107,600.
For the money you get airbags for all three rows of seating, as the VX is a seven-seater these days. The third row seats fold up to the sides of the cargo section.
There are air vents for the second and third row and there is four-zone aircon to suit, with separate controls for the second and third rows located at the rear of the centre console.
The console itself has a large storage box which, in the top of the range Sahara, is a coolbox.
The front seats are powered. The specs mention venting for the front seats in Sahara, but nothing about heating for any model.
The dash for the driver is almost completely analogue with dials for transmission temperature and battery charge, along with the normal speed, tacho, fuel, etc.
Although it’s a big machine, with a 4990mm length, and a boxy 1970mm and 1980mm height and width, packaging shows the age of the interior as real space isn’t great. It’s adequate, but not great.
There are also no items such as a wireless charge pad, but there is a USB port.
Sounds come from a DAB equipped system via the 9.0-inch touchscreen. Nine speakers make for excellent audio quality. Bluetooth streaming, Toyota apps, and satnav add to the picture.
The centre console also houses two dials for high and low range 4WD, plus a crawl mode for off-roading.
The exterior has changed noticeably since the 200 was released. Headlights are slimline, the grille has three, massive horizontally aligned strips, and the sheetmetal is subtly curved from front to rear.
The front door sills are illuminated and the rubber is huge, with Dunlop Grand Treks 285/60s on 18 inch alloys.
Safety also sees front and rear sensors, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Blind Spot Warning. Next level Sahara gains the full Toyota Safety Sense package.
What’s it go like?
It’s best driven gently from a standing start. There’s no doubt at all that those 600Nm will move the hefty machine with urgency when required, but bulk counts against it in some areas.
We drove a 1300km loop from the lower Blue Mountains to Coonamble in NSW, then to the villages of Pilliga, Baradine, Coonabarabran and Siding Spring, before wending west through the Warrumbungle Ranges.
In a straight line the steering is soft on centre, with a discernible measure of freeplay. This comes in handy though in off-road driving.
A light pair of hands on the wheel allows for control while allowing the steering to do its own thing.
Inside the alloys are 354mm stoppers and these do a fantastic job of hauling in the three tonne mass.
But the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, designed to give the LandCruiser its off-road capability, allows the nose to dive considerably under even light braking.
The name itself showcases just what this vehicle is capable of. It eases, almost wafts along the highway. Coupled with plenty of noise insulation, it dramatically reduces driving fatigue.
On the highways between towns we found a mix of tarmac only, and tarmac and gravel. Heading north-east from Coonamble and around an hour’s drive, is the heated natural springs just outside Pilliga.
South to Barradine and it’s mainly gravel and here the LandCruiser shows how adept it is in this environment. The suspension absorbs all of the ruts, the irregularities, the stones and rocks. The nose wavers but is easily controlled.
The climb up to Siding Spring is a narrow and naturally curvy road. Here the mass of the VX clearly counts against it and requires judicious driving.
There’s some hesitancy in turns as the smooth shifting 6-speed decides which cog it needs, while the engine is kept ticking over below 2000rpm.
The brakes get a workout on the descent and careful planning to deal with the weight is required.
Ease into long turns and the nose holds on nicely, but come into sharper ones and again the weight requires a pre-planned approach and exit strategy.
What we like?
- Super relaxed driving attitude
- Imposing on-road presence
- Grunty V8 diesel makes almost everything easy to deal with
What we don’t like?
- Outdated architecture inside
- Competent suspension is too soft for an urban environment
- Economy figures aren’t great
The bottom line?
For a 12 year old design, the LandCruiser still holds up in the looks and ride department — to a point.
Newer competition from other Japanese car makers and the two big ones from Korea is starting to apply pressure.
But very few of them can challenge the LandCruiser’s off-road credentials and those that can tend to have Rover in the name.
LandCruiser is what it is and does what it does admirably. The legend continues.
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Toyota Land Cruiser 200, priced from $77,832