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2022 Toyota Land Cruiser LC300 GX vs Nissan Patrol Ti-L vs Land Rover Defender 110 D250 comparison review: On road, off-road, and towing!

The ultimate showdown between tribes of 4x4 enthusiasts - this comparison will pit the new Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series up against the Land Rover Defender 110 and the Nissan Patrol.

That’s right - we’ve got three serious off-road capable four-wheel drive SUVs that we are comparing here, and surprisingly - in the specs we’ve assembled - they’re close on price and equipment.

Our test vehicles are the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series GX, which is the base model. It’s up against another base model, the Land Rover Defender 110 D250. And the Nissan Patrol Ti-L we have here is a bit more expensive, but comes with a lot more kit because it’s the range-topper.

Our test vehicles are the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series GX, the Land Rover Defender 110 D250, and the Nissan Patrol Ti-L. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) Our test vehicles are the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series GX, the Land Rover Defender 110 D250, and the Nissan Patrol Ti-L. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

In this test we’ll address the important stuff like pricing and specs, practicality, safety and engine specs, but also look at how they drive on the road, while towing a 2750kg caravan as part of our towing review, and also how they go off road - they’re 4WD models, after all. 

Which will be our pick of this pack? Read on - and make sure you watch the video for plenty of unexpected action and findings.

Price and features

You might be surprised to learn that these three four-wheel drive wagons are pretty close on price. You’re likely to be even more surprised by the fact the Land Rover is actually the cheapest of the three, based on list pricing (MSRP - before on-road costs and options)

In fact, we’ve gone as far as piecing together a story about the differences in pricing and specs between these three four-wheel drives - check it out here.

The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 lists at $82,466 (correct at time of writing), though the model we had included more than a handful of options, pushing its as-tested price to $99,596. 

  • The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 lists at $82,466, though the model we had included more than a handful of options, pushing its as-tested price to $99,596. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 lists at $82,466, though the model we had included more than a handful of options, pushing its as-tested price to $99,596. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Nissan Patrol Ti-L lists at $94,115. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Nissan Patrol Ti-L lists at $94,115. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX lists at $89,990. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX lists at $89,990. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

Some of those options are arguably unnecessary, though - the Santorini Black Contrast Roof ($2171), the Front Jump Seat ($1853), Privacy Glass ($999), Leisure Activity Key ($910), the black bonnet decal ($281) are all things you don’t really need.

The Off-Road Pack ($1663) with the electronic active differential/torque vectoring by braking, black roof rails and a 230-volt power point in the boot - that’s pretty good. The Advanced Off-Road Capability Plus Pack ($2210) while the tow hitch receiver ($1432) is pricey, and the Clearsight interior rearview mirror ($1274) is a good option to have, as the visibility isn’t terrific without it. There are a few things you should get standard, but don’t, which are detailed in the table below.

Next most expensive on list pricing is the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX, which lists at $89,990. Couple of options for our car, including a towing kit with electronic brake controller, and silver paint. This five seater is pretty basic, but there’s a bunch of stuff you’d expect for this amount of money that is included, and plenty that isn’t. Compare them in the table below.

The most expensive on this test is the Nissan Patrol Ti-L, listing at $94,115. It is showing its age from some of the tech inclusions, but the comfort and convenience measures in place are pretty impressive. 

Let’s look at the multimedia/infotainment situation for each car, first.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L    

Sat nav

Y

N

Y

Apple CarPlay / Android Auto

Y

Y

N

Touch screen size

10.0-inch

9.0-inch

8.0-inch

USB ports

5

2

4

Radio

AM/FM/DAB

AM/FM/DAB

AM/FM/DAB

CD / DVD player

N

N

Y

Rear seat entertainment

N

N

Y - two screens

Sound system speakers

6

6

13 - Bose

Wireless phone charging (Qi)

N

N

N

 

Next, let’s look at some other interior trim elements - which is the most luxurious based on its furnishings, and which is very much aimed at a rough-and-tumble buyer?

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Number of seats

5 standard, 6 as tested

5 standard

7 standard

Interior trim

Leather

Cloth

Leather

Flooring

Carpet

Vinyl

Carpet

Front seat adjustment

Manual

Manual

Electric

Leather steering wheel

Optional

N

Y

Heated front seats

Optional

N

Y

Ventilated / cooled front seats

N

N

Y

Heated steering wheel

Optional

N

Y

Air conditioning

Dual zone climate control

Dual zone climate control

Tri zone climate control

Directional rear air vents

Y

Y

Y (three rows)

Keyless entry / smart key

Y

Y

Y

Push button start

Y

Y

Y

Cruise control

Adaptive

Adaptive

Adaptive

Auto dimming rearview mirror

Y - with optional camera version

N

Y - standard camera version

Electric tailgate

N

N

Y

Sunroof

Optional

N

Y

Right, so what about what sets them apart on the outside? There are some visual differentiators, and we’ve detailed the tyres you get here, too.

too.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Wheels

18-inch steel

17-inch steel

18-inch alloy

Tyres

Goodyear Wrangler A/T

Dunlop Grandtrek A/T

Bridgestone Dueler A/T

Spare wheel

Full size spare - tailgate mounted

Full size spare - under body

Full size spare - under body

Roof rails

Optional

N

Y

LED headlights

Y

Y

Y

LED daytime running lights

Y

Y

Y

Fog lights

N

N

Y

Auto headlights

Y

Y

Y

Auto high-beam lights

Y

Y

N

Auto rain sensing wipers

Y

Y

Y

LED tail-lights

Y

N

Y

Snorkel air intake

N

Y

N

There are multiple trim levels above and beyond what you see here in the LandCruiser and Land Rover, so you can spend a whole lot more if you want to. 

In fact, we’d suggest you spend up on the GXL version of the 300 Series at least, that way you’d get seven seats, carpet, added safety gear, and Toyota’s multi-terrain select system, too.

And the sky's the limit when it comes to what you can add to your Land Rover Defender - there are literally thousands of combinations - including a multitude of engine options (and a mammoth petrol V8, too!) - but just be prepared for the prices to be sky high, too.

As for the Nissan Patrol Ti-L? On pricing and specs it’s the clear winner here. It might be the most expensive on list price, but it has the most standard inclusions, and could be a great option for families looking for an adventure rig for under a hundred grand. 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX7
Land Rover Defender 110 D2508
Nissan Patrol Ti-L9

Design

It’s in the eye of the beholder, they say, and you might likely have a favourite when it comes to these three big SUVs - but this section will look at the fundamentals of their design as opposed to their styling. However, a straw poll at our testing saw everyone say the Land Rover is the best looking, though we all still wonder what that box over the C pillar is really all about.

Here are the specification details for the dimensions of each of these 4x4s.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Length

5018mm

4980mm

5175mm

Wheelbase

3022mm

2850mm

3075mm

Height

1967mm

1950mm

1955mm

Width

2008mm

2000mm

1995mm

What is surprising is that the Nissan is the narrowest of the three, because it feels big from the inside. And the Land Rover doesn’t feel nearly as broad as its dimensions suggest.

  • A straw poll at our testing saw everyone say the Land Rover is the best looking. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) A straw poll at our testing saw everyone say the Land Rover is the best looking. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Nissan is the narrowest of the three. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Nissan is the narrowest of the three. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The big new LC300 is actually not that big at all. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The big new LC300 is actually not that big at all. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

As you can see, the big new LC300 is actually not that big at all, and it has a considerably shorter wheelbase than its rivals. Our testing highlighted the issues that can bring when towing, and the relative advantages the other vehicles highlighted by having a bit more stability nose-to-tail - see the towing section below for more.

So, what is the Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series towing capacity? And the Nissan Patrol towing capacity? And the Land Rover Defender 110 towing capacity? Well, here’s a table to explain the weights and limitations of these three.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Towing capacity - unbraked

750kg

750kg

750kg

Towing capacity - braked

3500kg

 

3500kg

3500kg

Towball down weight

350kg

350kg

350kg

Kerb weight

2347kg

2495kg

2750kg

Gross vehicle mass (GVM)

3200kg

3280kg

3500kg

Payload

853kg

785kg

750kg

Gross combination mass (GCM)

6700kg

6750kg

7000kg

Okay, so what about the all important off road specs? Ground clearance mm, approach angle, departure angle, breakover/rampover angle? We’ve got it all below:

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Ground clearance mm

291mm

(air suspension standard height)

235mm

273mm

Wading depth

900mm

700mm

700mm

Approach angle

38.0 degrees

32.0 degrees

28.0 degrees

Ramp over/ breakover angle

28.0 degrees

21.0 degrees

24.4 degrees

Departure angle

40.0 degrees

25.0 degrees

26.3 degrees

On paper, the advantage lies with the Land Rover. Surprisingly, for off road angles and clearance, it’s a pretty close race between the other two.

While the interior design is dramatically different between these three vehicles, we’ll get to that in the next section.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX8
Land Rover Defender 110 D2509
Nissan Patrol Ti-L8

Interior and practicality

There are three very different looks and feels when it comes to the cabin presentation and finishes, and also the amount of space and storage on board these three four-wheel drives.

First up, let’s consider the cabin of the Land Rover.

It has a far more adventurous look and feel compared to the other two - the materials are interesting, from the wetsuit-like pad across the top of the dash to the soft plastic toppers on the doors, to the white plastic dashboard finish embossed with “DEFENDER” in front of the passenger. This is a far more fun and interesting place to be than its rivals.

Our test car had the Jump Seat (the middle front seat) option, which has a pair of cup holders integrated into it but they have a hard plastic edge and can be uncomfortable on your arm. The standard middle option is a console box with armrest. 

The storage incorporated by the dashboard design is clever, there are plenty of spots for loose items. And like the other models in this test, you get bottle holders in all the doors, too.

The Pivi media screen is high resolution and crisp in its display, fast to respond to inputs and pretty easy to use on the road, too. We did have some pairing issues when using Bluetooth and iPhone, but it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The part-digital instrument cluster is an interesting feature, too.

One thing we found encouraging was that not all the functions run through that infotainment screen - instead, you have knobs and dials for the air-conditioning and fan, which also double as controls for the off-road modes (which then show the selected mode on both the media and driver info screen). It might sound complex, but it’s simple.

  • With five adults on board, all agreed the seat comfort was best in the Defender. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) With five adults on board, all agreed the seat comfort was best in the Defender. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Defender has 972 litres of boot space. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Defender has 972 litres of boot space. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The biggest potential annoyance with the boot of the Land Rover is the side-swing tailgate. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The biggest potential annoyance with the boot of the Land Rover is the side-swing tailgate. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • Not all the functions run through that infotainment screen - instead, you have knobs and dials for the air-conditioning and fan, which also double as controls for the off-road modes. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) Not all the functions run through that infotainment screen - instead, you have knobs and dials for the air-conditioning and fan, which also double as controls for the off-road modes. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

It might be the widest in terms of exterior dimensions but it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly broad inside. There’s certainly enough space to feel comfortable. With five adults on board, all agreed the seat comfort was best in the Defender. The front seats have manual adjustment.

The space in the second row is good, too, with a nice amount of width for shoulder room, a decently flat floor and easily enough knee and toe room for adults and kids alike. As with the other vehicles in this test, it has dual ISOFIX rear outboard seat attachment points and three top-tether points. 

What you miss out on in this spec of Defender, though, is a pair of map pockets in the back, and there’s no fold-down armrest and no cup holders. At least you get rear directional air vents, and a few USB ports to choose from.

While the overall feeling in the cabin of the Defender is one of rugged luxury, it does come with “durable rubberised flooring” which might not be to all tastes. Just get some floor mats.

In the boot area there is a nice sturdy lining to stop your muddy boots from ruining any carpeting, and the test car we had included a 230-volt power point in the back, too. 

The biggest potential annoyance with the boot of the Land Rover is the side-swing tailgate, which is assisted in the way it opens but can still almost shut on you if you’re parked on an incline - you have to make sure it opens and the opening lock actuates so as not to get swallowed by the door. Note, that door is also huge if you reverse park close to a wall. Boot space dimensions and details are below.

Next, the LandCruiser 300 Series, which in GX spec is basic and, frankly, a bit boring. 

There are cloth seats with manual adjustment up front, while the floor is vinyl. That’s great for adventure, but - as with the Defender - you might expect more when you’re spending this much. That said, the GX version of the ‘Cruiser has always been aimed more at fleet and business customers than private buyers - but we included it here because it was on price parity.

The cabin space is a tall and airy feeling than the Land Rover, with a simple but clean layout. The controls all look a bit more modern than the old 200 Series, with up to date switchgear and a more digital-influenced design - though it’s hardly at the cutting edge.

There’s a mass of black plastic inside, and no real distinguishing features to add any “special” or “adventurous” or even “luxurious” feel. 

But it does what Toyota does well - the controls are all placed logically, interacting with them is simple, and anyone could simply sit in the driver’s seat and understand what’s what. That’s not necessarily the case in either of the rivals.

  • The back seat in the LandCruiser is about equal to the Land Rover for foot, shoulder and head room. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The back seat in the LandCruiser is about equal to the Land Rover for foot, shoulder and head room. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • In the boot there’s a large flat vinyl-lined floor, easily large enough for multiple large bags and camping gear. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) In the boot there’s a large flat vinyl-lined floor, easily large enough for multiple large bags and camping gear. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The LandCruiser's capacity is 1131 litres (VDA) to roofline. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The LandCruiser's capacity is 1131 litres (VDA) to roofline. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The controls in the new LandCruiser all look a bit more modern than the old 200 Series. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The controls in the new LandCruiser all look a bit more modern than the old 200 Series. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

The 9.0-inch touchscreen media system is flanked by buttons and knobs to make it simple to use, but it’s the only one here without sat nav built in. The screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it looks small, and so does the 4.2-inch driver info screen between the dials. Just a note - if you buy a more expensive LandCruiser, you can get a bigger driver info screen and a larger multimedia screen, too.

The result is that you feel a bit shortchanged by the up-front experience in the LC300 GX, though the requisite storage and smarts are all good: you get bottle holders in the doors, cup holders between the seats and a few storage nooks and crannies in the cab, too. A plastic steering wheel adds to the utilitarian bent of the interior.

The back seat is about equal to the Land Rover for foot, shoulder and head room. You can fit three adults across the back, and like the Defender and Patrol there are three top-tether points across the second row, and two ISOFIX attachment points in the outboard second-row seats, too. 

While the rear seat has directional vents, they didn’t work in our test car. We tried for about an hour to figure out why they weren’t and consulted the owners manual too - but to no avail. 

As with the Defender, you don’t get a fold-down armrest, there are no rear cup holders, and there are no map pockets, either. 

In the boot there’s a large flat vinyl-lined floor, easily large enough for multiple large bags and camping gear (see boot capacity figures in the table at the bottom of this section). The spare wheel is mounted under the boot floor, and there’s a 230-volt powerpoint in the boot.

If there is one of these SUVs that feels like it was inspired by early 2000s business class cabin interior design, it’s the Nissan Patrol Ti. 

With its wood and leather-laden interior, it is most certainly aimed at a different type of customer to the other two vehicles here. 

The thing is, this interior was probably actually designed in the 2000s, because the Patrol went on sale in 2011 and - in Australia at least - hasn’t seen any significant interior improvements. As such, it’s a button-fest, with a small screen by modern standards, and seats and finishings that feel, well, really old.

That isn’t aided by the media screen and sat nav map graphics that are close to dot-matrix levels of clarity, and while it has a surround view camera, the clarity of the image is poor - I’ll expand on these comments in the towing section.

Further, the controls for the screen are a bit convoluted, as there’s an array of buttons in different configurations - a circular section at the top, and a couple of rows of buttons and dials below. Let’s just say that modern screens are better laid out.

  • The second-row experience the Patrol is a considerably more luxurious one, with flip down cup holders and leather trim. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The second-row experience the Patrol is a considerably more luxurious one, with flip down cup holders and leather trim. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • Boot space in the Patrol with five seats up is 1413 litres. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) Boot space in the Patrol with five seats up is 1413 litres. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • Considering the Patrol’s cargo zone also hides a pair of extra seats, it’s particularly impressive. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) Considering the Patrol’s cargo zone also hides a pair of extra seats, it’s particularly impressive. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Ti-L has third-row seating. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Ti-L has third-row seating. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Patrol is the only one here with rear entertainment screens. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Patrol is the only one here with rear entertainment screens. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

There’s another dial controller behind the shifter for the off-road controls, and that’s a pretty simple setup to get to grips with. 

The storage up front includes a few cup holders that you can hide away, a big covered and cooled centre console bin, plus bottle holders in the doors. A bit more loose-item stowage - like somewhere to store a larger smartphone other than in the cup holders - would be helpful.

The second-row experience in this car is a considerably more luxurious one, as it has flip down cup holders, map pockets, sumptuous leather trim, and it’s the only one here with rear entertainment screens. The screens are capable of playback of DVDs (there’s a CD/DVD player in the front), plus it can do USB or HDMI playback, too. There are remote controls and headphones as well.

There are rear temperature controls and vents, too, and it feels more plush as a result of all those inclusions.

Plus it’s the only one with third-row seating in this test, though the middle row doesn’t slide like some other SUVs - it just folds. Read our family review of this car to see how the third row stacks up.

As you can see from the interior pictures, the Patrol has a third row seating setup with two additional seats, and the driver’s rearmost seat includes a top-tether attachment point, too, adding a little bit of extra flexibility for families. 

Here are the boot space figures for all three. It is worth considering that the Defender’s boot is notably smaller than its rivals here, despite the numbers being relatively close. In our testing - with our suitcases - we noted that the Patrol and Cruiser both had much more room to play with. And considering the Patrol’s cargo zone also hides a pair of extra seats, it’s particularly impressive. 

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Boot space - five seats up

972 litres

1131 litres (VDA) to roofline

1413 litres

Boot space - seven seats up

N/A

N/A

468 litres

Boot space - two seats up

N/A

2052 litres (VDA) to roofline

N/A

So for the interior, it’s going to depend on what you need. You can option seven seats (or six) in the Defender, while the Patrol comes with seven standard (and eight if you choose the cheaper Ti model). It’s only the LC300 that you need to spend-up on the next model (the $101K-plus GXL) for third row seating, but then at least you’re getting a few more creature comforts, if at a high price.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX7
Land Rover Defender 110 D2508
Nissan Patrol Ti-L7

Under the bonnet - drivetrain

Three different takes on propulsion, here - it’s petrol V8 vs twin turbo diesel V6 vs inline twin-turbo six with mild hybrid tech.

Here are the specs and details of each of the drivetrains.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Engine

3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel
inline six-cylinder

3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6

5.6-litre petrol V8

Power output

183kW at 4000rpm

227kW at 4000rpm

298kW at 5800rpm

Torque output

570Nm at 1250-2250rpm

700Nm at 1600-2600rpm

560Nm at 4000rpm

Transmission

8-spd auto, AWD

10-spd auto, 4WD

7-spd auto, 4WD

Surely this generation of Nissan Patrol can’t be long for this world, with its 5.6-litre petrol V8 engine at odds with not only its diesel-dominated segment but also the automotive world at large. Does anyone really want to be driving a four-wheel drive this large and this heavy with a petrol engine that you just know is going to be hard on the wallet when it comes time to refill? More on that in the next section.

  • The Defender has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel, inline six-cylinder engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Defender has a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel, inline six-cylinder engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The Patrol has a 5.6-litre petrol V8 engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Patrol has a 5.6-litre petrol V8 engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)
  • The LandCruiser has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The LandCruiser has a 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

Pipping the torque output of the Patrol is the Land Rover Defender. We’ve got it with the entry-level D250 powertrain - which has been superseded for the 2023 Defender models, but and that D300 diesel unit bumps its outputs to 220kW/650Nm if you want it, plus there’s a choice of three different petrol engines - including the huge 5.0-litre supercharged V8 - but that spec blows the price out by more than a hundred and thirty grand! 

Of course the big news for the LC300 Land Cruiser was the end of the V8 diesel and petrol engines, and it now has a downsized 3.3-litre twin turbo diesel V6 engine as the only choice available. But that unit offers strong outputs - and because we know torque is king for off-roaders like this, it is hard to look past the 700Nm pulling power figure. It also has the most gears to its auto transmission, with 10 speeds at the ready. 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX9
Land Rover Defender 110 D2508
Nissan Patrol Ti-L6

Efficiency

As you might expect, there’s a gulf (pun intended) between the petrol-powered V8 Patrol and the diesel-drinking rivals, and there’s a mix of emissions and efficiency measures across the trio.

Below you will see the official combined cycle fuel consumption figures, which are calculated as a result of a complicated lab test stipulated by ADR 81/02, and in reality your litres per 100km will probably vary.

You will also see our real-world fuel consumption across a mix of urban and highway driving.

And there’s also a section for our towing fuel consumption results. You might be surprised at some of these numbers.

 

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Official combined cycle fuel consumption

7.9L/100km

8.9L/100km

14.4L/100km

On test fuel consumption - urban and highway

9.0L/100km

10.6L/100km

17.5L/100km

On test fuel consumption - towing

17.8L/100km

16.6L/100km

23.8L/100km

Fuel tank size

89L

80L main, 30L sub = 110L total

140L

Theoretical range based on testing

988km urban and highway
500km towing

1037km urban and highway

662km towing

800km urban and highway

588km towing

Clearly if you’re choosing an SUV like this based on fuel efficiency, there are plug-in hybrid alternatives (like a BMW X5 or Mercedes GLE) which would better meet those needs. Oh, and there’s a Defender Plug-in Hybrid coming at some point, plus a Toyota Land Cruiser hybrid will eventuate at a later date, too.

At the time of writing, though, the Defender 110 D250 is the only vehicle to incorporate any kind of ‘electrification’, as it incorporates a 48-volt ‘mild-hybrid’ or MHEV system into the powertrain. Essentially it uses regenerative braking to capture potential lost energy, storing it in a compact battery. An onboard electric motor can then assist in pushing away from a standstill or when full throttle is applied, adding some extra pep to the already decent outputs.

The Defender is also the only one here with AdBlue urea after treatment for exhaust nasties, meaning it meets Euro 6d compliance levels. The others don’t.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX8
Land Rover Defender 110 D2509
Nissan Patrol Ti-L6

Driving - on-road

Our on-road testing saw us drive these three SUVs across the same roads to see how they compared for driving dynamics, comfort and efficiency. Here are our findings. 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

It handles itself well, and the suspension is well sorted. It handles itself well, and the suspension is well sorted.

The LC300 doesn’t feel as big as it is in urban and highway driving, and it kind of shrinks around you. 

Part of that is to do with the steering, which is easy and predictable in urban settings and reassuring and confident at highway pace. As we found in the towing test, the steer-by-braking system for lane keeping can be a bit invasive, so be prepared for that.

It handles itself well, and the suspension is well sorted, offering a nice and comfortable ride over bumps and dealing well with sharp edges, too. Overall, it’s very comfortable for urban driving and probably perfectly suited for family buyers because of that.

Our driving loop didn’t cause much concern for the engine and transmission, both of which performed with grunt and precision. The gearbox has plenty of gears at its disposal and it isn’t afraid to shuffle through the cogs to ensure the best ratio for smooth and efficiency progress, and while I was fine with the transmission being a bit picky, some buyers might find it annoying - especially if they’re stepping into a 300 from a 200 Series, which had a relaxed and composed powertrain.

The main concern, really, is that in the GX (again) it’s a little bit noisy - the V6 diesel engine is not as quiet as the other two in terms of cabin insulation, but our testers all thought the engine sounded pretty good, and there was no issues with the power and torque on offer, no matter the speed or situation.

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

The ride comfort in the Defender is exceptional, with a really comfortable and quality level of suspension control. The ride comfort in the Defender is exceptional, with a really comfortable and quality level of suspension control.

The LC300 was good, but the Defender 110 offers an even more refined and plush drive experience. 

There’s less noise to contend with than in the other two SUVs here, and indeed it is a more refined noise from the engine, too. Almost VW- and Audi-like.

The engine isn’t perfectly linear in its power delivery, with some lag to contend with from slower pace or standstill. The engine in the LC300 by comparison was just a touch more linear and less fussy, could be to do with the number of gears available for use in that SUV.

However, the ride comfort is exceptional, with a really comfortable and quality level of suspension control. The airbags front and rear make for a cushy ride in most situations, though - as is the case with many airbag-equipped vehicles, larger sharper bumps can be felt with a bit more of a jolt than in the more traditional suspension of the Toyota for instance, but it’s not to the point of annoyance and the general ride quality is so good that it’s easy to overlook such a minor complaint.

The steering is just a little bit slower than the Toyota, but again that lends to that luxurious feel of the Defender’s urban driving character – plus there is good feel to the wheel, too.

Probably the only complaint really is visibility from the driver’s seat. Over shoulder is pretty poor thanks to those odd boxy design features at the C-pillar, and unless you order the optional camera-based rearview mirror you will be stuck with a spare tyre in your view too. However something to note, in bright light at certain times of the day that camera based mirror can also suffer from lens flare.

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

The petrol V8 engine in the Patrol is very punchy and also sounds terrific. The petrol V8 engine in the Patrol is very punchy and also sounds terrific.

Sit in the Patrol and you instantly feel like you’re driving something much larger and much heavier than the other two vehicles here. 

Despite that, the steering despite is extremely light and actually kind of off putting because it is so light - it’s so quick to turn at times, but then you still have to turn the wheel quite a lot to get the thing to about face - it’s just not nearly as pinpoint accurate or enjoyable as either of the other two.

The suspension can be a little bit firm at times but also slightly wobbly when it comes to the body control, and the front suspension can shudder a little bit over sharp jolts. it’s all a bit hodgepodge, and the sheer mass and size of the thing makes it a little unwieldy by comparison.

What is enjoyable about this drive experience is the petrol V8 engine, which is very punchy and also sounds terrific. If that’s what you’re into, you’re gonna love it.

But you might find yourself taking gear-shifting into your own hands, as the transmission can be lazy in taking its time to downshift when you’re climbing hills and coming to a halt.

It’s almost like stepping back in time here – this is an old feeling drive experience, and just isn’t quite as polished or enjoyable as either of the rivals in this test. It’s a convincing third place for the urban and highway driving experience. 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX8
Land Rover Defender 110 D2509
Nissan Patrol Ti-L6

Driving - off-road

This could be the deciding factor for you - what is our take on the Nissan Patrol off road, the Land Rover Defender 110 off road, and the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series off road… You’re about to find out - and the results may leave you shocked.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

The LandCruier 300 had really good articulation, with the front and rear axles managing to keep those tyres on the surface below. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The LandCruier 300 had really good articulation, with the front and rear axles managing to keep those tyres on the surface below. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

High hopes? You bet. But did the new 300 Series live up to our expectations? For the most part, yes, but a longer wheelbase and better clearance wouldn’t go astray.

That is to say we had no real issues whatsoever with traction - on our testing loop in the lower Blue Mountains, we had a mostly sand and rock dry surface that was at times pretty loose under foot, and even with road-going tyre pressures and the standard tyres (Dunlop Grandtrek A/T in a relatively skinny 245/75/17 size), the GX proved adequate at maintaining traction and grip.

It also had really good articulation, with the front and rear axles managing to keep those tyres on the surface below.

The Toyota is the only one with a standard snorkel air intake, which we didn’t need during our dry and relatively dust-free off-road test, but it’s good to know you’ve got it. 

While we did engage low-range 4WD, there is no limited-slip differential and no locking differential to select in the GX - so if we’d needed it, we could have been in trouble, and if you want front and rear diff locks you need to add $40K to the price (or get them aftermarket). Thankfully the sense from the cabin was of a good balance from the drivetrain and chassis, with easy progress easily maintained and the anti-lock brakes front and rear working really well together at both axles. Toyota’s Crawl Control helped slink down hill and the hill-start assist made stop-start sections of the ascent a breeze.

The double-wishbone front suspension and four-link rigid axle rear suspension helped iron out big undulations with ease, with a soft spring rate making it feel settled, controlled and easy to manage over mixed terrain.

What surprised us was that we noticed some underbody touch down at certain points - that carbon fibre front bashplate earned its keep in some of the rocky crops we drove over.

As for the engine and transmission, there were no real issues in low-speed crawling, with the engine and transmission not feeling laggy, and locked in low range it just did its thing. The snorkel and fan noise were the only issues in terms of the powertrain.

The steering was fine, the turning circle okay. It took about 3.25 turns lock to lock on our test.

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

The Land Rover combines multi-link suspension and air suspension to great effect. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Land Rover combines multi-link suspension and air suspension to great effect. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

What a difference.

The Land Rover Defender 110 is like a more modern, tech-focused and inspiring place to be as a driver or passenger. In fact, it could be the sort of 4WD that a Tesla customer might love, because there is so much about the drive experience that is tailored for a tech-head.

The surround view camera system for example - it really inspires confidence, because there’s a clear view around the car that you don’t get when you’re just looking out the windows, and by comparison, the LandCruiser’s bonnet bulges were actually quite intrusive for placement of the car - the Land Rover has a camera system that can artificially delete the bonnet and give you a view of the road underneath you at the front of the vehicle. It’s surreal, and superb, and the standard-fit, agressively-patterned Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tyres (255/70/18) offer a better contact feel through the chassis, too.

On our test loop the Land Rover was in low-range, in the Terrain Response system’s Grass/Gravel drive mode, and the air suspension was raised to the highest level. As you might expect, that meant much better clearance - a staggering 291mm! - and it made for a seriously fuss-free ascent and descent. We didn’t notice any touch-down at all over the same path as the other two vehicles.

The Land Rover combines multi-link suspension and air suspension to great effect, and while we had no opportunity to test the 900mm wading depth, the car also has a wade sensing system to help you ford rivers or creeks. The Defender we tested included the electronic active diff option (which you can watch actuate via the media screen, and see it do its thing in real time - a very interesting experience for passengers to see the car essentially thinking its way through different situations) and that system includes torque vectoring by braking to ensure smoother progress, too. 

The Defender’s air suspension still has a firmness to it over the really sharp bits of rock and track, and in its full-height mode it’s not as pillowy as you might think it would be over big bumps - we felt the big rugged ruts below the rubber more in this than in the ‘Cruiser. You feel more of the surface below, but for some drivers that might be an advantage - I personally prefer that to a pillowy, cushy feel where you’re more remote from the surroundings. The suspension is lovely over smaller bumps and in more general gravel driving, too.

As for throttle and brake control, it was better at pace or when ascending or descending, but really slow-speed manoeuvres - such as negotiating rocky parking spots for video shots! - required a little more considered application of the pedals, and there is a little bit of low-speed lag to contend with. 

But it was so confident and enjoyable in every other way - including with really good seat comfort and excellent support, both for those up front and three-across in the back - that it was our pick of these three.

Add to that the factory rubber from the showroom floor is more aggressively off-road-focused than its rivals, and it has a quicker steering rack (2.75 turns lock to lock), and the Defender stood out as a serious bit of off-road kit.

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

The Patrol has sophisticated double-wishbone suspension front and rear with remote cross-flow reservoirs to better control weight transfer in bumpy terrain. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Patrol has sophisticated double-wishbone suspension front and rear with remote cross-flow reservoirs to better control weight transfer in bumpy terrain. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

Given the apparent on-paper disadvantages of the Patrol - approach angle and its sheer size! - we had expectations of it touching down all through the descent.

We expected the front and steps to kiss on some of the rocky, craggy sections, the washouts and rock ledges. But it exceeded expectations - though we did approach things a bit more gingerly, as it wasn’t our intention to go out and damage a hundred-grand four-wheel drive just for the fun of it. You wouldn’t if it was your car, would you?

That said, we did end up with gouged side steps on both sides, and that actually drew our attention to the benefit of not having side steps on the other two. A set of tougher aftermarket side steps or rock sliders might be a good upgrade for Patrol buyers.

As for other elements of the drive, the steering was less annoying off-road than on-road, and offered a reasonable amount of response when negotiating tighter sections. But the size of the Patrol - and its larger-than-the-rest turning circle and slower steering (3.5 turns lock to lock) meant it really felt as big as it is. And despite having 18-inch wheels with 265/70/18 Bridgestone Dueler tyres, traction wasn’t an issue.

It feels the oldest when it comes to the off-road modes and info available (limited to a display of the tyre pressures, three of the four of which weren’t showing any information on test), but in low-range over our test loop, it performed fine. And that’s no doubt because it has sophisticated double-wishbone suspension front and rear with what Nissan calls “Hydraulic Body Motion Control” with remote cross-flow reservoirs to better control weight transfer in bumpy terrain and while also aiming to level the car in cornering. It also comes standard with a rear helical LSD and hill descent and hill hold control, so no wonder it’s accomplished off-road. 

That said, we found the Patrol’s suspension compliance wasn’t quite as good as the other two four-wheel drives here - it never felt as dialled into the terrain as the Land Rover or LandCruiser, but at the very least the suspension felt more at home off-road than it did on-road.

The engine and transmission behaved themselves, and while we had no real major issues with power delivery in the other SUVs, the Patrol was just a smidge more predictable off-idle as you might expect for a naturally aspirated engine. It makes perfect sense - non-turbo vs turbo is equal to linear vs lag.

Our testing loop in the lower Blue Mountains had a mostly sand and rock dry surface that was at times pretty loose under foot. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) Our testing loop in the lower Blue Mountains had a mostly sand and rock dry surface that was at times pretty loose under foot. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX8
Land Rover Defender 110 D2509
Nissan Patrol Ti-L7

Driving - towing

Thanks to our mates at Avida for loaning us the Topaz test caravan for our towing review. This multi-terrain model tips the scales at just over 2750kg, meaning a pretty decent towball down weight of 275kg or thereabouts. The Avida Topaz Multi-terrain model we tested has a list price of $115,000. 

That’s within the 3500kg braked tow rating of all three of these models, and representative of what you might tow if you have a family of four and all the associated holiday gear when considering your overall gross combination mass and payload capacity. 

Before we get into it, hitching up this 8165mm-long caravan to the back of each of our 4WDs required a tow ball adjustment (pin-type towing attachment rather than the 50mm ball each came equipped with), and we also measured the rear suspension sag or deflection when the caravan was hitched. We also checked and corrected our tyre pressures, too.

For reference, the least deflection was from the Defender, with its airbag suspension clearly better catering for a more level towing stance (it dropped just 35mm at the back). The Patrol already looked comparatively squat, but it dropped a further 60mm at the back. And the high-riding LC300’s rear slumped by 65mm to accommodate the caravan. 

Here’s how they went over our multifaceted towing loop, which incorporated tight urban streets, open country road cruising, smooth highway driving and “can I keep up” freeway testing, as well as a few steep climbs thrown in for good measure.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

The LC300s engine definitely feels up to the task, but it can also sound a little raucous when pushing hard. The LC300s engine definitely feels up to the task, but it can also sound a little raucous when pushing hard.

To say we expected better of the LC300 would be apt. It wasn’t nearly as composed or comfortable as its rivals for the driver or passenger during our towing test loop, and felt considerably more busy and prone to swaying and body movement overall.

There was lots of nose-to-tail bobbing and you can really feel it has a shorter wheelbase compared to its rivals (2850mm vs 3022mm for Defender and 3075mm for Patrol). The ride comfort and outright stability just wasn’t as good or controlled as its competitors. It’s also important to note the LandCruiser is the only one of this trio to use a less-sophisticated solid rear axle.

The LC300’s steering was a highlight however, with nice weighting and feel to the driver’s hands. The LC still runs a hydraulic steering setup, and that system does offer a level of engagement that is impressive.

The lane keeping tech can correct the steering line by braking certain wheels rather than actively torquing the steering wheel itself and it is mostly pretty benign, but I did have one moment where the steer-by-braking system caught me unawares, and that’s not ideal with almost three tonnes in tow.

So what about the engine? Well, it definitely feels up to the task but it can also sound a little raucous when pushing hard. The GX’s passenger-side snorkel definitely adds some additional engine noise to contend with, too.

And yes, on paper, the new 3.3L V6 offers more grunt than the old 200 Series V8, but it also has additional gears to play with for hilly roads and when accelerating from a standstill - we’re talking 227kW and 700Nm through 10 gears, as opposed to 200kW/650Nm and six gears.

I would say most people are probably going to think that the 200 Series with the lazy acceleration of the diesel V8 will be more suited to towing, and I’d agree. The transmission and the fact that there are more gears to play in the LC300 can mean it felt busier, and as though it’s doing more work than it might need to be doing – that’s the impression you get.

That isn’t to say it isn’t settled at freeway pace. We sat at 110km/h and the rev readout was just a touch under 1500rpm, and it appeared to be in 10th gear, too.

As for our hill climb at the end of the freeway - for those playing along, we’re talking about Lapstone Hill, just the other side of the Nepean River at the end of the M4 freeway in Western Sydney - the LC300’s transmission dropped back several gears to maintain 90km/h up this ascent, and we noted it ended up in fifth gear to do so.

But what was annoying was that in drive (rather than in manual mode) there is no “current gear indicator” - we had to slip it into manual mode to see what gear it was in.

That said, the engine was definitely up for it, even if the transmission was a little busy.

On the road, then, it was a bit of a mixed bag. And hooking up the van was a bit of a challenge, too.

Firstly, the offset-mounted reversing camera has a guide line (in the GX at least) to hook up where the middle of the back of the vehicle is, but it doesn’t line up with where the towbar is - that’s annoying.

Plus that camera doesn’t have active steering guidelines like its rivals in this test, and for a new car it offers poor resolution.

And one final towing trouble - the reversing camera turns off instantly as you shift out of Reverse, making fine adjustments of centimetres at a time very frustrating.

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

The Defender offers a confidence-inspiring towing experience. The Defender offers a confidence-inspiring towing experience.

While the Toyota was a pain to hook up because of its terrible camera setup, the Defender was easily the best of the bunch. In fact, it’s the best camera setup this particular tester has ever experienced when hooking up a trailer.

That’s because it has a surround view camera but also a prioritised rear view camera at the touch of the screen. There’s a towing mode for the (centrally mounted) camera with the towbar lining up at the centre of the camera. It made for a simple hook up.

There is also a towing mode for the side cameras that can give you a broad view of the road on either side of your caravan.

Further, you can adjust the car’s smarts by using a bespoke towing mode - we input the fact we were towing a caravan (options included a trailer, car trailer, camper and more), and also the length from towbar to axle midpoint, and the overall width, which allowed the car to figure out how its systems (air suspension, electronic stability control and more) behave. 

And behave it does, with the Defender offering a confident and confidence-inspiring towing experience, with a level of control and comfort that the LC300 simply falls short of.

It is refined and composed for the most part, with far less nose-to-tail bobbing and good body control while towing. The wheelbase length advantage over the LC300 was clear, as was the tyre contact patch, with the wider rubber of the Defender helping it feel more in tune with the road below.

The steering is light and manageable, without quite as much feel to the driver’s hands as the Toyota offered, 

Admittedly, it didn’t have the same urgency under acceleration as the LC300 - understandably, as they’re close in terms of kerb weight but the Toyota produces 44kW and 130Nm more. But it’s not slow, and was easily capable of keeping up with traffic (highway speed - eighth gear at 110km/h, revving at 1500rpm) and holding its own for the hill climb test (dropping to fourth gear to maintain 90km/h).

The big take away was that with two fewer gears, the powertrain felt a bit more relaxed, and a hushed soundtrack from the diesel power unit meant it was more relaxing in that respect, too. We also loved the transmission throttle-blipping on downshifts when approaching intersections, as it just offered a level of reassurance that you know what’s happening at all times, without it being intrusive or confusing.

A final consideration? The optional Clearsight mirror is useless when towing a caravan of this height. It just looks straight at the caravan. 

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

The Patrol felt more stable with a load in tow. The Patrol felt more stable with a load in tow.

Hitching up in the Patrol was difficult. The camera resolution is poor, the image quality is squint-worthy and also annoyingly offset. I relied on my colleagues the most when trying to line this vehicle up to the trailer.

As for the towing experience, it could be better too. 

The biggest issue I had with it was the steering response and accuracy, which simply doesn’t offer a very true feel for the road. It’s very hard to find a comfortable position for the steering on the straight-ahead, and maintaining a line requires a lot of constant adjustment.

Further to that, when you start to turn the steering is more direct and reactive and you might think it will be based on the straight-ahead impression, and that can be a little disconcerting and take some getting used to.

But, with a 225mm wheelbase advantage over the LC300, the Patrol felt more stable with a load in tow, with its all-independent suspension ironing out bumps and lumps better than both of its rivals. While the nose-to-tail bobbing was bad in the Toyota and improved in the Defender, it was almost non-existent in the Patrol.

The engine is a strong and revvy character, with a nice soundtrack to it and you’ll hear plenty of it in traffic or when accelerating. Even so, it’s quieter inside than the Toyota, and that could come down to the fact it has double-glazed windows.

The seven-speed auto holds gears as long as it thinks it needs to, and doesn’t muck around too much between ratios either. It’s pretty quick to react to sudden throttle inputs as well. However, it is better at higher speeds, because when you’re going slower it can be a little eager to hang on to higher gears rather than down-shift.

Of note, the Patrol was revving a little higher at 110km/h (1800rpm) in seventh gear - it has fewer ratios than its rivals, and of course, it’s a petrol, so it will have a tendency to sing a higher tune. And on our hill climb, it dropped as low as third gear, with some evident hustling between gears to hold 90km/h.

Couple of notes on the brakes - they felt good and nicely progressive through the pedal when driving, but that foot-operated park brake is a pain in the backside.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX7
Land Rover Defender 110 D2508
Nissan Patrol Ti-L7

Safety

There’s a few years between when the Nissan Patrol was developed, and when the newer, more technologically advanced Toyota LandCruiser 300 and Land Rover Defender were engineered.

As such, it’s no real surprise that there’s a sizable gap between the latter two and the former when it comes to active and advanced safety technology. Here’s a rundown on the inclusions and exclusions for these three wagons.

 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Reversing camera

Y

Y - 360 degree surround view

Y - 360 degree surround view

Front parking sensors

-

Y

Y

Rear parking sensors

-

Y

Y

Airbags

10 - dual front head, dual front knee, front side, rear side, full-length curtain

6 - dual front, front side, full-length curtain

6 - dual front, front side, full-length curtain

Auto emergency braking (AEB)

Y - 10km/h to 180km/h

Y - 5km/h to 130km/h

Y - 5km/h and above

Pedestrian detection / braking

Y - 10km/h to 65km/h

Y - 10km/h to 80km/h

-

Cyclist detection / braking

Day and night - 10km/h to 65km/h

Day and night - 10km/h to 80km/h

-

Adaptive cruise control

Y - all speeds

Y - all speeds

Y - above 32km/h

Lane departure warning

Y

Y

Y

Active lane keep assist

Y - 60km/h-200km/h

Y - 60km/h-180km/h

Y - above 70km/h

Blind spot monitoring

-

Y

Y

Rear cross traffic alert

-

Y

Y

Rear AEB

-

-

-

Speed sign recognition

Y

Y

-

ANCAP safety rating (year tested)

Not yet rated

5 stars (2020)

Not tested

It’s interesting to note that the Nissan Patrol, despite having been on sale for a decade in this current generation and with more than 25,000 examples sold, has never been ANCAP crash tested.

At the time of publishing, the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series was in the midst of being tested against 2021 criteria. But in the spec you see here, the new-generation model leaves a bit off the standard gear list. Having a simple reverse camera, no parking sensors, no blind-spot monitoring and no rear cross-traffic alert is a huge miss by Toyota. This vehicle costs $90,000!

The Land Rover Defender range (excluding the 110 Hard Top version) has been awarded a maximum five-star ANCAP rating based on 2020 criteria, and it has the greatest amount of standard safety technology of these three. Another tick to the Defender.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX7
Land Rover Defender 110 D2509
Nissan Patrol Ti-L7

Ownership

You might be shocked by this, but on paper it actually looks as though the Land Rover has the advantage when it comes to ownership.

We know - it’s competing against a Nissan and a Toyota, both of which have sturdy reputations for reliability and longevity. But each of those big SUVs has its downfalls when it comes to the ownership promise. Here’s a table for the info you need:

 

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX

Land Rover Defender 110 D250

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Service interval

6 months/10,000km

Conditional

6 months/10,000km

Annual service cost (avg over three years)

$750

$530 (with service pack)

$1093

Capped price servicing plan

Five years/100,000km

Five years/130,000km

Three years/60,000km

Prepay servicing available?

-

Y - $2650 for five years

-

Vehicle warranty cover

Five years/unlimited km

Five years/unlimited km

Five years/unlimited km

Extendable warranty conditions

Seven year drivetrain warranty if logbook servicing maintained

-

-

Roadside assist included?

-

Five years

Five years

So, the Land Rover works out cheaper to service if you opt for the service pack - and why wouldn’t you? - plus it has longer servicing intervals that are condition-based, meaning you don’t have to worry about setting a reminder on your phone to take your car in every six months for servicing.

Six-month intervals are just the start of the question-marks around both of the others. If you consider the annual costs - because you have to get them serviced twice a year - you’re looking at higher expenses for running costs, and the Toyota doesn’t even come with roadside assist included, you have to pay extra for it.

The counter argument is that if you’re doing the big Aussie trip and you’re stuck with some kind of problem, you’re always going to be closer to a Toyota workshop than you are to any other brand in the country. That’s just a fact, and it’s why you see so many ‘Cruisers in the remote areas.

But even so, we can’t give the Toyota the win in this section because, on paper, it’s worse than the Defender (apart from that conditional seven-year warranty extension if you have your car serviced on time). The Nissan? Its costs make it run third in this section.

Oh, you might be wondering about common complaints, concerns, recalls, issues, reliability quibbles and other ownership question marks, right? Well check out our dedicated pages which will likely highlight any key issues: Land Rover problems; Toyota LandCruiser problems; Nissan Patrol problems.

Where is the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series built? The answer is “made in Japan”, and that’s the same answer for “where is the Nissan Patrol built?”. But if you’re asking “where is the Land Rover Defender made?”, you may be surprised to learn the answer is Slovakia… not England.

Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX7
Land Rover Defender 110 D2508
Nissan Patrol Ti-L6

To say we were surprised by the results of this test would be an understatement, but as Editor, Mal Flynn, said on the testing days, “you’ve got to love an underdog”.

And so it is that the Land Rover Defender 110 D250 is our pick of these three SUVs when it comes to the tests we put them through. We love its poise and comfort, and its rugged interior and smart driving nous both on road, off road and with a load. 

Second place went to the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series GX, which is a competent four-wheel drive and an improvement in many ways over the 200 Series, but in this trim it felt pretty stripped back, and we were frankly surprised at its twitchy towing performance.

And in third spot in this test is the Nissan Patrol Ti-L, which offers a lot to like for your money in terms of equipment, and still holds its own when it comes to off-road driving and towing. But you cannot escape the fact it feels relatively ancient inside, the engine is thirsty, and it’s lagging behind for interior smarts.

The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 is our pick of these three SUVs when it comes to the tests we put them through. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan) The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 is our pick of these three SUVs when it comes to the tests we put them through. (Image: Brett & Glen Sullivan)

 

Toyota LandCruiser
300 Series GX

Land Rover Defender 110

D250

Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Pricing and specs

7

8

9

Design

8

9

8

Interior and practicality

7

8

7

Under the bonnet - drivetrain

9

8

6

Efficiency

8

9

6

Driving - on-road

8

9

6

Driving - off-road

8

8

7

Driving - towing

7

8

7

Safety

7

8

7

Ownership

7

8

6

Overall (average of the above)

7.6/10

8.3/10

6.9/10

$82,466 - $95,115

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.