Expect this to be the last of the Toyota V8 diesel legends
Over nearly 15 years of driving cars, rarely has the LandCruiser 200 Series appeared within the Toyota press garage.
There’s good reason. During that time the Cruiser has essentially sold itself — there’s been little need for promotion or media fanfare.
Take a look at any caravan park around the country or journey virtually anywhere in regional Australia. The Outback is known as Cruiser country and Toyota has forged its reliable reputation off the back of six decades in our toughest environs.
After 16 years the 200 Series has one foot in the coffin. Rumours are circulating that the V8 turbo diesel will be replaced by a V6 and supply over the coming year will be tight.
There are no finalised 300 Series details yet.
“Toyota has a long-term commitment to LandCruiser, a nameplate that has served local customers in some of Australia’s toughest conditions for more than 60 years,” a Toyota spokesman said.
“During that time, we have established a track record of continuous improvement with its power, torque, towing and off-road abilities. We can assure you that any new-generation model will have enhanced capabilities and will strengthen LandCruiser’s legendary status as ‘king off the road’.”
Currently, driving away in a bare-bones GX can be done from about $87,900. Yet this Sahara throws luxury into the four-wheel drive mix from $135,500 with on-road costs settled.
Don’t expect lavish extravagance for your investment.
You’re paying for what’s regarded as one of the best towing and off-road vehicles on the market. Investment is an accurate term, the depreciation on a Cruiser is minimal, even with reasonable kilometres on the clock.
Luxury car tax takes hold from $68,740 for non fuel-efficient vehicles, so the government coffers clip every Cruiser ticket. In the Sahara’s case, about $20k goes to LCT.
This variant is certainly the flashiest of the family, boasting leather trim with woodgrain-look highlights, push-button start, nine-inch touchscreen with a CD player connected to a nine speaker stereo, four-zone aircon, sunroof and dual 11.6-inch rear seat entertainment screens that have three sets of wireless headphones and a DVD player.
External colour options are plain, with choices of white, ebony, silver, graphite, black and red.
Servicing intervals are short at just six months or every 10,000km. Each service will cost $300 if you return to the dealer.
Warranty coverage of five years and unlimited kilometres meets the industry benchmark.
Given the Cruiser’s age, it’s understandable that the five-star rating was awarded back in 2013.
The Sahara has kept pace with the latest technology, and is the only model in the Cruiser range to have automatic braking which applys the anchors if the driver doesn’t act quick enough to avoid or reduce the severity of a frontal collision. Also standard is radar cruise control to maintain distances from other vehicles when you’re on the highway.
Other vital equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert that is brilliant to help avoiding car park bingles as you reverse in the urban jungle. A back guide monitor for lining up the tow bar is another inclusion.
Cushy and large seats provide ample real estate where there is genuine accommodation for five adults. Our test machine had the optional two rear pew to boost capacity to eight, but those are occasional use and best left to the kids.
Front seats are heated (so are the two outer rears) and ventilated.
The Cruiser has a reputation for longevity and the cabin feels its age. While most $130k SUVs are technical tour de forces, the big Toyota puts functionality in pole position.
Finding the fan control, hiding within the climate functions on the touchscreen, is the most difficult task within a clearly labelled and big-buttoned environment.
Testament to its age is the inclusion of a single CD player and the absence of smartphone mirroring applications Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We reckon it’s the same green digital clock and temperature readouts that Tyota has used for three decades — maybe more.
At least there’s a USB slot and auxiliary port for more modern devices.
The large console bin doubles as cool box to keep drinks cold. Bottle holders are found in the doors and takeaway coffees are looked after with holders front and back.
Sporting equipment or the weekly grocery shop is easily handled by the large boot which is aided by 40-20-40 folding rear seats. The third row folds 50-50.
Smooth and creamy, the acceleration delivery is effortless. Power comes when summonsed and it takes little time to realise why they are rated as Australia’s four-wheel drive kings.
When on the open road the twin turbo V8 diesel hardly works at 110km/h. Overtaking can be achieved with confidence as the oil-burner responds quickly to right-foot urges.
Weighing more than 2740kg it can tow up to 3500kg and has a gross combined mass of 6850kg … loading up with additional gear with a load attached isn’t an issue.
Attack the bends and the Cruiser feels its size. At nearly 5m long it pitches and dives — this is a genuine off-roader, so you can’t have it all.
Step off the bitumen and there a few impediments. The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System turns some of the toughest off-road challenges simple, along with a multi terrain selector which matches the grip to your driving conditions.
Average fuel consumption during our test returned 12.6 litres for every 100km. That included a reasonable amount of around-town duties. Owners report similar figures even while towing.
With international travel off the agenda for some time, there is no more reliable way to see our wide brown land with peace of mind that I can get support just about anywhere.
There’s few better for towing and comfort. I love my Cruiser, and if the V8 is departing I’m going to have a slice of history.
LEXUS LX450D $151,960 D/A
The plusher version from Toyota’s luxury arm Lexus, with the same 200kW/650Nm V8 twin turbo diesel engine but extra sound deadening materials and higher levels of opulence.
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY D300 HSE $124,520 D/A
Impressive on and off-road, but be prepared to tick some boxes for optional extras and it still carries reliability baggage. Powered by a 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo diesel, 225kW/700Nm.
Iconic with an unrivalled reputation for reliability and performance. With the chance of wholesale changes, these V8 turbo diesels may appreciate in value. If you want one, it
may the last chance.
AT A GLANCE
TOYOTA LANDCRUISER 200 SERIES SAHARA
PRICE $135,500 drive away (pretty big investment)
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5ys/unlim’ km w’ty, services$1200 2 yrs (short intervals)
ENGINE 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel 200kW/650Nm (meaty)
SAFETY 5 star (2013), AEB, lane departure alert, auto high beam, active cruise control, rear cross traffic alert (OK)
THIRST 9.5L/100km (12.6 on test)
SPARE Full-size (perfect)
TOWING 3500kg (strong)