Every now and then, a legend comes along. That legend may be a film, a person, a car. In this case, A Wheel Thing went one on one with the four wheel drive legend, the 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200. It really is the kind of car that will, in normal off road situations, be able to do more than what most normal drivers are able to do. This particular press car came fitted with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, KDSS, of which more information can be found here:Kinetic Dynamic Suspension SystemThere’s certainly no lack of oomph, with a 200kW diesel V8, thanks to revised injectors and engine mapping, compared to the previous iteration, with torque still a Superman twisting 650Nm. No, it’s not quick off the line, not is it indecently slow. It’s more a load lugger, a crawler, especially with the four wheel drive system engaged in low range. There’s no two wheel drive setting either, stamping the GXL V8 as a dedicated 4WD.
On road it’s not as blunt edged as expected; it’s certainly no ballet dancer but there’s more finesse than one would think in the ride and handling departments. The steering is lighter than anticipated on tarmac, yet shows signs of old school toughness in some off road sections.
As expected, under brakes, the big boofa takes a bit of distance to haul up, but is sure-footed and confident in doing so, with a measurable amount of dive when stamped hard. Off road braking is nicely calibrated, with the drive system working smartly to pull down the near three tonne (2740 kg dry!) mass.
There’s a muted but familiar V8 burble from the exhaust, a subdued chatter from the front under a light foot, a deep inhalation and an impression of implacable confidence when pressed hard. There’s certainly no doubt that this is a driver’s car, as in it might be a smooth shifting six speed auto, but a driver needs to be in control and aware 110% of the time.
Economy for a large engine and a large car (4990 x 1980 x 1945 mm ) with a weight of three tonnes (with passenger) was surprisingly frugal, at around 10.9L of the good stuff consumed per 100 kilometres.On A Wheel Thing’s test track in Faulconbridge, in the lower Blue Mountains, the choice of fitting the KDSS was an inspired one, with both the varying surfaces (mud, gravel, granite outcrops) providing an ideal mix to test. Throw in some rocky and sandy slopes, some judicious throttle usage (and knowing there’s more electrical backup in the form of Hill Descent Control, for example), the Land Cruiser easily exhibited more ability than most drivers would require.
On one particular slope, the view from the cabin, and eyeballed by a walk, gave the impression that it would be a tricky one to try for a comparitively inexperienced off roader. But, simultaneously, ideal for the kinetic suspension. Low range and centre diff lock were engaged, a gentle prod of the go pedal and a minute later all aboard were wondering what the fuss was about. Yes, there was body roll and some moments where a dry cleaner may have been needed but the ‘Cruiser is more than adept in this kind of country.
It’s clear, when you step up and inside, that Toyota feels the GXL will be driven and used by people that don’t need certain fripperies. There’s no steering wheel mounted controls for audio, a basically trimmed interior, sensible rubber floor mats, a functional infotainment touchscreen, typically good ergonomic but no hint of luxury. The only apparent concession was the addition of a Reverse Parking camera. The dash itself is clean and simple, plus has extra information such as battery charge level whilst aircon controls are oldschool “Press Me, I’m a button” with clearly readable markings.
As you’d expect from a behemoth like a Land Cruiser, there’s plenty of room inside for five adults, complete with rear passenger air vents and two extra folding seats. They’re comfortable enough and supportive enough on and off road to not leave a passenger wanting for more. Plastics are are good quality but it’s a functional interior, intended to be hosed out every now and then, one suspects.
The exterior of the LC200 has been given a mild freshen up. The tail light covers have been subtly redone, but it’s the front that’s raised an eyebrow. The design team have extended, horizontally, the chrome from the grille, through the headlights, with the front now looking uncannily like Ford’s new Ranger and Everest. LED driving lights add to the resemblance. The front bumper, guards and bonnet (noticeable for the twin ridges now) have also been updated.
The Land Cruiser LC200 GXL V8 diesel has more brawn than a chain gang, more subtle on road menace than an angry bull, enough off road ability to make a mountain goat weep and enough lack of luxury to satisfy any cocky that just wants a car to do the job. At around 90K, it’s not cheap and compared to something like a Q7, XC90 and suchlike, lacks the perceived value those cars offer.
But they’re HIGHLY unlikely to come close to being used for what the ‘Cruiser can deliver and that’s the crucial difference to the bloke in the bush or the company in the Outback that needs a solidly built, mud mauling, no bullshit off roader. The Land Cruiser’s heritage has it standing tall for its legions of followers.
Although there’s been price rises across the range, in the order of a couple to a few thousand, this model comes in at around $89600 driveaway. Given that this particular specification level isn’t aimed at the finger lifting, latte sipping, dahling set, but good, solid, dependable farmers and such like, it’s a performance bargain, especially with that suspension system. No, not performance as in how quick down a quarter mile but how it’ll clamber up hill and down dale with more ability than a normal driver needs. Naturally you’ll get Toyota’s three year/one hundred thousand kilometre warranty.
Toyota Land Cruiser GXL. Big diesel V8. Big car. Big winner.
For A Wheel Thing TV’s video review, click here: 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser GXL V8 diesel
For details on the Land Cruiser: 2016 Land Cruiser range