')">Toyotas have been missing from our review/test drive a lot and since all the smaller Toyotas have been done for, I have moved onto the bigger ones. Speaking of big, is there anything bigger in the Toyota portfolio than the Toyota Land Cruiser. I don’t think so. I am not bringing Lexus into the equation either. Be it for conquering the Savannah in Africa or the rustic places in Afghanistan, the preferred set of wheels is always a Toyota Land Cruiser or its smaller brother, the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. The one that I got for testing here is the Toyota Land Cruiser in India model. Ah well for some trivia, it is one of the oldest models in the Toyota lineup that is still on sale. It is also the first car to be exported from the Japanese manufacturer’s Japan facility in 1956. It is been seen in many Hindi movies as it is a symbol of political clout as also wealth. Its smaller sibling, the Prado is also abused many a times, most of the times by villains who pose as macho men in this car.
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Come to think of it, the vehicle that I have here is the latest generation of the Toyota Land Cruiser. It is the eighth generation car of its series but still retains visual cues from its predecessors. The head lamps occupy a prominent place for the front fascia. The turn indicators slot in the head lamps cluster is a slightly bulging part. The grille is an imposing thing and one which screams attention in a subtle manner and unlike the Audi Q7. The fog lamps are dinner plated sized and very old designed. Somewhere down the line, I did have this gut feeling that this car looks old fashioned yet modern. The wing mirrors are also large and complement the overall look of the car. The 18 inch alloy wheels are subtly designed and scream old school from every angle. The gap between the wheels and arches is huge and increases to even more with the adjustable ride height. The rear boasts of a duck like back with the tail lamps also bulging like the head lamps.They are also split by the hatch which opens upwards. The reflectors find their way to the lower portion of the bumper. A small wiper is present for cleaning duties for the rear wind screen.
Some modern cues actually fit in, atleast in the cabin. This is just the features list that I am going to write about now. It includes a stereo system which has got 14 speakers, an automatic climate control system which was a bit tough to understand, a well defined navigation system were you to think of going to the Himalayas, power goodies all around and even a charging port at the rear. I would have preferred a beige treatment or something other than the black leather interiors. The steering wheel, like the car is also XXL sized and has the usual Bluetooth, audio and cruise controls fitted into it. The optitron meter dials have a chrome ring surround to them as well. There is a bit of wooden influence all around and this cabin seems different than the one in the Toyota Fortuner. Seats, especially the front one, provides for a commanding view. Raise the height of the suspension and other SUV owners would have to look upto you. The aircon controls feel and look very old. The meter dials also have a display which shows up the gear in which the car is currently running in, outside temperature and also the latest fuel efficiency figures. This is actually the first vehicle wherein I didn’t have to adjust the steering wheel or seat for tucking myself in. I counted atleast 28 different outlets for directing the flow from the 4 zone climate control. The front arm rest doubles up as the chiller box and once you lift it up from its position is only the latter revealed. Climbing, yes I had to climb onto it revealed that the middle row of seats is also surprisingly comfortable. This inspite of the fact that the middle row is on a raised platform. Under thigh support was also good contrary to expectations. The third row of seats can only accommodate kids and that too thin ones. Those seats also fold sideways to accommodate for the luggage thing. Boot space is a paltry 260 liters but increases to 700 liters once the third row is tucked away whereas if you still want to shift homes, then the second row can be neatly folded away with just 3 tugs and about 1300 liters of total cargo volume is revealed. Build quality as expected is also top notch and the ruggedness in the outside shows up in inside as well. Expect the Toyota Land Cruiser in India not to develop any niggles or malfunctioning interiors for a long long time.
Handling and ride quality
The Toyota Land Cruiser in India boasts of having an old school body on frame chassis. This means that it is a true blue SUV and not some soft roader. This also translates to lots of body roll when cornering and trying some enthusiastic motoring. Slot the adjustable damper mode to sport and the car would immediately tighten its suspension and some clever electronics would interfere in mid corner and make gliding through the corner a small affair. There are three modes namely comfort mode, sport and standard. Go for the comfort mode and the SUV just soaks up everything in its part. For off-roading, there is a complete set of tools like the High low ratio, hill start assist control, Downhill assist control, ESP and all. NVH is also of a low order initially but then it increases once the car crosses the 3000 rpm mark and you immediately become aware that a diesel motor is under that rugged hood. The steering wheel is electronically assisted but it isn’t as direct as the competition. You wouldn’t believe it that this car also has the off-road ABS to assist it.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Toyota Land Cruiser in India is offered in two engine options. One is a gas guzzling 3956 cc V6 engine with VVT-I and DOHC. It produces 381 bhp @ 5600 rpm whereas the peak torque figure reads as 544 Nm @ 3800 rpm. It has got a 5 speed auto transmission for transferring the power to all the 4 wheels. It is said that it goes from 0-100 kmph in only 12 seconds and top speed is in the regions of 170 kmph. As for the diesel engine, it was a bit late in coming to our shores and a 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8 is the one powering it. This engine makes 281 bhp of peak power and an earth moving maximum torque of 650 Nm. The transmission is a 6 speed automatic. On the go, the transmission is a bit sluggish but up the pace and the transmission changes to a slick unit. Inspite of Toyota claiming to have eliminated turbo lag in this big engine, it is still noticeably present in this car. Initial response is sluggish but then as I discussed earlier, up the pace and the car accelerates with an alarming ferocity. The 0-100 kmph time is achieved in only 10.3 seconds. The top speed however was a disappointment with only 160 clicks registering on the speedometer. The engine, like I said was pretty much refined earlier on but then it took a rasp typical of V8 engines. The driveability afforded by the dollops of torque is very good.
The Toyota LC 200 as it is called carries high performance soles to reign in all the so called weight and performance afforded by this car. It gets discs all around and this have immense stopping power. Of course, electronic aids like 4 channel ABS, EBD and ESP make it all the more easier. The safety features are dime a dozen. For starters, how does 10 airbags sound? Reverse cameras a must requirement for this big car is also present. Other than that, the usual 3 point seat belts, side intrusion beams and collapsible steering column do their bit.
As far as efficiency goes, the Toyota Land Cruiser petrol model used to deliver 4.6 kmpl in city and 10.2 kmpl on the highway. The diesel model on the other hand gave me 7.7 kmpl in city and 11.4 kmpl on the highway.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is available in two trim levels. Those are the Toyota Land Cruiser VX Standard and Toyota Land Cruiser VX Premium. If you are in the market looking for a sturdy and highly reliable off-roader, then look no further than the Toyota Land Cruiser LC 200 in India. This SUV can seem a bit cumbersome in traffic but once off the road, it becomes a mountain goat. Add to it, the tremendous road presence and a car which screams I have arrived in life, you cannot go wrong with it. Trample your friends ego with the 600 plus torque figure or even the XXL proportion of the interiors. The petrol model is said to be scrapped from the Toyota Land Cruiser’s line up. As of now, it is only the diesel that is available for sale. The Toyota Land Cruiser price in India starts at Rs 1,1000000 on road in Mumbai. Now, that’s a lot of money for an SUV especially when you have one with better brand quality in the market but then none as nimble and agile as this on the off-road path.