The Toyota Land Cruiser first emerged in the market in 1985 as the “Light Duty Series,” the first cruiser of the series that offered a family car experience and off-road duty. Since then, the Land Cruiser has released four generations. Although the look doesn’t seem too different from its predecessors, driving and riding in the latest Cruiser redefines and refreshes the experience.
The Land Cruiser’s design prioritizes function over form. The large front grille keeps motorists on the alert of what’s behind. Enhancing the driver’s guard is a multi-view monitor system behind the grille. This nose-mounted camera helps in exiting specific junctions; there are also the handy parking sensors for the front and the rear.
Drivers will have no problem settling into their position. All around visibility guarantees a safe and secure experience. The rest of the cabin eases passengers into comfort. Middle-row seats can recline and allow for enough head and legroom. The third-row seats can either be folded out for more passengers or placed back on the boot floor for more luggage space. And even with everyone filling all the seats, there’s enough boot space to accommodate each person’s luggage. More space is found in the glovebox, the cooler between seats, and even in the doorbins. It’s definitely the car to bring for long family road trips.
The Land Cruiser retains some of its original formula from about 30 years ago. Familiar parts such as the live rear axle, ever-reliable four-cylinder diesel engine, and that same body-on-frame. Not exactly the updated considering how far technology has gone in the last few decades. Despite the lack of significant updates, the Land Cruiser still comes at a steep price that may seem over priced for particular customers.
The Land Cruiser’s four-cylinder unit seems powerless against the six-cylinder diesel engines other 4x4s have to offer. Although the entry-level version includes a six-speed manual gearbox partnered with a 185bhp engine, it’s low-down shove is only capable on or off the road; otherwise it doesn’t perform as diverse as its competitors.
The Land Cruiser excels in off-road ability, but otherwise it lacks the necessary handling. On the road it is never as agile as the off-road experience. The cruiser’s hulk size limits certain manoeuvres. The cruiser smoothens the ride on small bumps but potholes and undulating roads are another matter. Suspension and road noise is only kept to a minimum. Wind noise is also a result of the cruiser’s incredible bulk. When revving, more noise comes out compared to the subtler capability of other six-cylinder units.
Loading heavy items can be a challenge with the side-hinged tailgate. Some aspects of the design also fail in delivering form and function. The combination of plastic, leather, and wood for the instruments is just plain ugly. The switchgear is scattered and not placed where it should be, but rather where it conveniently fits.
Overall the Land Cruiser is a practical option for individuals who need to drive through really rough terrain such as the Australian outback. But otherwise there are better choices for families looking for regular duty cruisers.
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