Written by Tim Marsh:
The LandCruiser remains as an oddity in the Toyota vehicle lineup – a big, petrol-guzzling SUV in an otherwise economical group. That it’s still viable and even thriving in Australia, where it dominates the market for huge off-roaders, is a credit to its reputation and design. Over 50 years of research and design have proved useful for this full-sized vehicle, and it remains the off-roader and people-hauler of choice for many Australians.
The LandCruiser 200 can be had in four trim levels, depending on the off-road worthiness and luxury required. The base GX model emphasizes its ability to travel anywhere in comfort with Whiplash Injury Lessening front seats, rear bam doors, and a snorkel air intake for aquatic excursions.
The GXL, and VX models provide additional options, including a petrol engine, entertainment system with a 6.1” LCD display, and sat-nav. Finally, the top-of-the-range Sahara model features an upgraded luxury interior, four-camera Multi Terrain Monitor, and additional rear seat entertainment options for optimal comfort.
Exterior and Style
While many SUV manufacturers have opted for an upscale, trendy design, the LandCruiser maintains Toyota’s big, modern design language throughout. In recent years, the manufacturer has adopted some of the most current industry trends like LED running lights and a bigger, bolder grille. While it’s certainly not as eye-catching as the Land Rover lineup or its premium cousin, the Lexus LX, the LandCruiser maintains the look of a big, confident off-roader.
Interior and Comfort
Inside, the vehicle has the same upright, chunky styling that all newer Toyota trucks have received. One of its main draws is the tremendous amount of room inside, and that shows when perusing its interior. The LandCruiser can easily fit eight full-grown adults inside while still maintaining a significant amount of storage space. Its sheer cargo capacity is also impressive: one 2014 Toyota LandCruiser 200 series review reports the ability to transport decent-sized ladders and full-length Malibu surfboards with ease.
Under the Bonnet
All trim levels of the LandCruiser 200 are offered with a 4.5L V8 Twin Turbo engine that puts out 195kW/650Nm and provides plenty of power to fuel off-road expeditions. Those preferring a petrol will have to upgrade to the GXL, VX, or Sahara models, which also offer a 4.6L V8 petrol. All models come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission and inclusive four-wheel drive.
Living up to its reliable reputation, the LandCruiser provides a host of safety features. In addition to its sheer size—which affords a measure of protection in itself—Toyota has included ten standard airbags, anti-skid brakes, traction control, and vehicle stability control.
On the Road
Unsurprisingly, the LandCruiser is at its best off of the tarmac, where it handles all but the harshest terrain with ease. It becomes apparent that the vehicle hasn’t forgotten its off-road roots as the four-wheel drive and massive V8 diesel effortlessly overtake any obstacles in their way.
On the road, that big engine benefits the LandCruiser as well, utilising its vast reserves of torque to maintain momentum and provide sufficient boost when needed for overtaking. That power also comes in handy for towing, a task that adds almost no noticeable strain. Body roll and handling through turns are surprisingly good, especially considering the sheer bulk of the vehicle. The standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System continually adjusts both front and rear stabiliser resistance to maintain optimal suspension performance throughout the drive, resulting in an adaptive driving experience that maintains ride comfort on even the worst maintained and uneven roads.
Value for the Money
The Toyota LandCruiser 200 series price starts at $78,635 for the base GX and range as high as $114,635 for the top-of-the-range Sahara. However, Toyota has provided significant value in the 2014 model by including nearly all formerly optional features as standard, eliminating the price inflation that occurs with many other vehicles.
Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series’s Manufacturer Prices:
GX Turbo Diesel & Automatic: $78,635
GXL Petro & Automatic: l: $84,635
GXL Turbo Diesel & Automatic:: $89,635
VX Petrol & Automatic: $95,635
VX Turbo Diesel & Automatic: $100, 635
Sahara Turbo Diesel & Automatic: $119,635
Sahara Petrol & Automatic: $114,635
Several contenders—including Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, and Landrover—offer similar vehicles to the LandCruiser.
The Nissan Patrol closely matches the Toyota LandCruiser 200 series price, but lacks a diesel option, which limits its versatility.
The Mercedes-Benz GL Class starts over $10,000 higher than the Toyota and does not display the same off-road proficiency, which may break the deal for dedicated adventurers.
Mitsubishi’s Pajero may be an option for those who do not need a large SUV with a V8 diesel; its smaller size and four-cylinder engine may suit those looking for a more economical vehicle.
The Land Rover Discovery is also very comparable to the Toyota, but digging into its options list quickly pushes it into a different price range.
Off-road enthusiasts looking for a big, well-appointed, reliable SUV simply must consider the LandCruiser 200. Between its impressive cargo and hauling capacity, rugged off-road performance, and impressive features, it’s easy to see why this Toyota dominates the category.
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