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Toyota LandCruiser 2022 review: GR Sport - off-road test

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Everyone knows the Toyota LandCruiser so rather than go through a potted history of the vehicle, let’s get stuck into this review. 

The 300 Series line-up has a new engine, more power and torque, and it’s supposedly more efficient, and more comfortable than the 200.

The GR Sport is the second-from-top spec in the 300 Series range and it’s being hyped as the most off-road capable of the new batch. It has front, rear and centre diff locks, E-KDSS (essentially an electronic active swaybar), and the bolted-on off-road efficacy that comes with being part of Cruiser heritage – but, at almost $140,000, is the GR Sport really worth it? 

Read on.

You might also be interested in the Ford Ranger

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You might also be interested in the Ford Ranger

image of Ford Ranger

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The GR Sport is a five-seater 4WD wagon. Price is listed as $137,790 plus on-road costs, but price as tested creeps past $138,465 because this vehicle is fitted with a roof rack ($446), ski carrier ($318.29), towing kit ($283) and an electric brake controller (the fitment price of which was not available to us at time of writing). It also has Merlot Red premium paint, which costs $675.

Standard features in the GR Sport include a 12.3-inch colour touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and sat nav, 4-zone auto climate control, AEB, Lane Trace Assist with steering wheel vibration, Toyota’s Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS), 18-inch black alloy wheels, as well as front, rear and centre diff-locks. 

Inside is a 12.3-inch colour touchscreen. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Inside is a 12.3-inch colour touchscreen. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

It also has a raft of other features that, I suppose, warrant the high price-tag, such as heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated and powered seats, cool box centre console, sunroof, soft-touch surfaces everywhere, wireless charging pad, second-row entertainment screens, 14-speaker audio, and more.

There’s a cool box in the centre console and its lid can be opened from either direction. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) There’s a cool box in the centre console and its lid can be opened from either direction. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Bonus: there’s a big range of factory accessories, covered by Toyota’s warranty, and which includes nudge bars, bullbars, winches, recovery points, roof-storage systems and more.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

The GR Sport is 4995mm long, 1990mm wide and 1950mm high. It has a listed kerb weight of 2630kg.

In grand Cruiser tradition this is a big unit but the GR Sport is pretty easy on the eyes and certainly has a real adventurous feel to its appearance.

The GR Sport is a rugged SUV ready for an off-road adventure. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The GR Sport is a rugged SUV ready for an off-road adventure. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

It stakes its claim from the front with an eye-catching all-caps ‘TOYOTA’ badge on the grille, then black treatments everywhere, black alloy wheels, blacked-out ‘Land Cruiser’ on the tailgate, and then GR branding scattered about inside and out to make sure that no one ever forgets which variant this is.

The Cruiser sits atop a new separate chassis, and has a lower centre of gravity, a higher listed ground clearance (235mm), and a wider wheel track – and any of these visible elements add to the 300 Series’ solid presence.

The GR Sport is pretty easy on the eyes. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The GR Sport is pretty easy on the eyes. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The 300 Series range has a 3.3L V6 twin-turbo diesel engine – producing maximum outputs of 227kW at 4000rpm and 700Nm at 1600-2600rpm – and it has a 10-speed torque converter automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

It has a full-time, dual-range 4WD system – with high- and low-range 4WD – and it has front, rear and centre diff locks.

The 300 Series’ V6 replaces the 200 Series’ much-loved 4.5-litre V8 and numerous concerns have been expressed about this change, in terms of a perceived or anticipated detriment to performance with the move to a smaller capacity engine. Odd that this kind of mentality remains, in this day and age.

The 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine produces 227kW/700Nm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine produces 227kW/700Nm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Is there actually any negative impact on performance? Of course not – on paper, at least – just take a look at those maximum power and torque figures: up 27kW and 50Nm respectively over the V8’s outputs.

The auto transmission is generally so nicely on point that it micro-manages power and torque to maintain an even-handed liveliness about the driving experience.

How practical is the space inside?

The LandCruiser has always made a great off-road touring platform – due in some part at least to its practicality and functionality – and that reputation’s unlikely to change with the 300 Series.

However, the one-piece tailgate has replaced the split and barn-door tailgates and the improvised picnic table/work bench/standing office desk/cards table that was the split tailgate will be sorely missed.

The GR Sport is a five-seater so the rear cargo area is your load space and cargo volume there is a listed as 1131 litres. On our test we barely registered in the packing stakes with an onboard load in the rear of only a set of four Maxtrax in a carry bag, a vehicle-recovery kit, a first-aid kit, an air compressor, and some tools. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of space to work with back there.

Boot space is rated at 1131 litres. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Boot space is rated at 1131 litres. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The rear cargo area has a 220V/100W inverter and four tie-down points. 

The rest of the cabin is a usable and functional space.

Second-row passengers get heated and ventilated seats, a fold-down arm-rest with cup-holders, as well as two USB-C charge points (in the rear of the centre console), a 12-volt power socket and directional air vents. 

Back passengers directional air vents, two USB-C charge points and a 12-volt power socket. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Back passengers directional air vents, two USB-C charge points and a 12-volt power socket. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

There’s ample room for second-row passengers, including extra leg space over the 200 Series, and the 40:20:40-split row has reclining backrests. Of note to those with children, is the availability of two ISOFIX and three top-tether child-seat mounts

The LandCruiser theme of being a nice practical space continues all the way upfront.

There’s ample room for second-row passengers. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) There’s ample room for second-row passengers. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

If you’ve ever been in a Cruiser, you’ll know that sense of familiarity you get when climbing into one of these vehicles: you already have a feel for where everything is and how to operate it all before you even get into the driver’s seat.

And it’s pretty easy to get comfortable in this cabin. For starters, the steering wheel is heated and the driver and front-passenger seats are heated and ventilated. Seats have genuine leather accents with double stitching.

The interior is a practical space with a definite premium feel about it. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The interior is a practical space with a definite premium feel about it. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Soft-touch surfaces abound, as do leather accents and carbon fibre-look trim, and there’s GR Sport branding on the headrests.

The GR Sport’s 12.3-inch colour touchscreen dominates the main cabin and it’s easy enough to use. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and there’s a wireless charging pad near the shifter, which worked well with our videographer’s iPhone. There are USB and USB-C charging points as well.

There's a wireless charging pad near the shifter. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) There's a wireless charging pad near the shifter. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

There’s a cool box in the centre console and its lid can be opened from either direction, so driver or passenger can access the ice-cold beverages stowed within at their leisure.

There’s also a powered sunroof.

The GR Sport scores a sunroof. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The GR Sport scores a sunroof. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Beyond those features, there are the usual storage spaces, cup holders, hard pockets in the door for bigger bottles, and a few other spaces for your bits and pieces. 

The interior is a practical space with a definite premium feel about it.

What’s it like as a daily driver?

The LandCruiser has always been considered an appealing daily driver by those who clock up a lot of drive time; an appeal largely attributed to the comfort afforded to those inside. That grand tradition continues here.

The driver seat is power adjustable in pretty much every direction, so you can dial in your preferred driving position – and that makes a world of difference when you've got big days in the saddle to look forward to. 

On the move, the 300 Series is very quiet inside, with NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels kept to a subdued minimum befitting a vehicle with a price-tag creeping towards $150k.

Not only that but this Cruiser is lighter than previous generations and, with a turning circle of 11.8m, it feels tightly controlled, quite manoeuvrable and able to punch along the road at a decent clip for a wagon that weighs 2630kg.

There is simply so much power and torque available – harnessed so smoothly through the 10-speed automatic transmission – that driving the Cruiser is a very nice experience.

You barely feel any imperfections in the road surface. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) You barely feel any imperfections in the road surface. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

And refinement and comfort are large factors in that.

Motoring journalists – including me – have been guilty of describing a vehicle’s suspension as “soaking up the lumps and bumps”, but what I/we really mean is that the set-up takes the sting out of sharper obstacles. 

However, in the Cruiser, its suspension – double wishbone, independent at the front and live axle and multi-links at the rear, and coils all-round – really does soak up everything. You barely feel any imperfections in the road surface – you almost float over the top of them – and yet the driver still retains a confidence-inspiring sense of vehicle control.

Also, adding to that controlled and comfortable feeling is the fact the GR Sport is the only variant in this new Cruiser mob equipped with Toyota’s E-KDSS (electronic kinetic dynamic suspension system) which acts like an electronic active swaybar, adjusting tension on the front and rear sway bars to suit the terrain and driving conditions. It tightens them up for better body control at higher speeds on sealed surfaces, and allows for a lot more play in them when you’re off-road for improved wheel articulation through undulating terrain.

The GR Sport has variable dampeners with selectable Comfort, Sport or Sport+ settings.

The LC300 has so much power and torque available. (image credit: Glen Sullivan The LC300 has so much power and torque available. (image credit: Glen Sullivan

The new wider wheel tracks also lend a concentrated stability to ride and handling.

But this is a LandCruiser after all and it still feels like one: soft and comfortable but it exhibits more than a bit of body roll when pushed even remotely hard through corners.

Braking performance is commendable, with the 300 Series’ ventilated discs all-round bringing the big wagon to a sharp enough stop when required.

Overall, this new Cruiser hasn't lost a step over the previous versions. It’s never going to be considered dynamic but for a 4WD wagon – in terms of ride and handling and performance in that realm – the 300 Series does well. 

What's it like for touring?

As good as you’d expect.

For such a hefty wagon, it feels surprisingly nimble, when you get off sealed roads and onto fast gravel or dirt tracks.

And when it comes to low-range 4WDing, the LC300 is well suited to the task. It has the LandCruiser full-time dual-range 4WD, nicely tuned electronic traction control, and a centre diff lock. 

The LC300's ground clearance is listed as 235mm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The LC300's ground clearance is listed as 235mm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

It’s also the only variant in the 300 Series line-up to get, as major points of difference, front and rear locking diffs.

The LC300 also has a different selectable off-road driving modes – including sand, snow, mud, rocks, and dirt – and those tweak vehicle systems to suit the conditions, driving style and terrain. 

And whereas before things like downhill assist control and crawl control were a little bit clunky in operation, now these have been reined in and work supremely well when it comes to the crunch.

The GR Sport feels surprisingly nimble. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The GR Sport feels surprisingly nimble. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Even with no diff locks engaged this Cruiser ate up every obstacle we drove it at, through and over, including our tough, short but steep rock-step hill-climb on test. 

The aforementioned E-KDSS – the active swaybar system – also gives the vehicle a lot more flexibility in terms of wheel articulation, offering full stretch on the axles when tackling off-road scenarios. 

In fundamental suitability to off-road driving the LC300 is built for purpose: visibility is good all around, offering clear sight-lines forward, to the sides and to the back; steering is light and precise; and throttle response is good, giving the driver plenty of control in order to sustain a safe, sustained momentum. 

The LC300’s tryes are decent on-road, but aren’t great for 4WDing situations. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The LC300’s tryes are decent on-road, but aren’t great for 4WDing situations. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Ground clearance is listed as 235mm, and wading depth is 700mm. Approach, departure and rampover angles are 32 degrees, 25 degrees, and 25 degrees respectively. The GR Sport’s full-size spare is mounted to the underbody.

And whether it’s being able to access 700Nm of useable torque across a wide rev range, or relying on the LC 300’s well-calibrated traction control, or if you are engaging front, rear and centre diff locks, this Cruiser is nearly unbeatable on the rough stuff. 

Flaws? Beyond being concerned about getting this $140k scratched or dinged while 4WDing, there’s not much to worry about when off-roading in the LC300.

The LC300’s Dunlop Grandtrek AT30s (265/65 R18) are nice on-road but these all-terrain tyres aren’t quite up to scratch when it comes to more difficult, traction-compromised 4WDing situations. That’s an easy fix though – just buy more aggressive tyres – and that’s really the only chink in the GR Sport’s off-road features.

The GR Sport wears blacked out 18-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The GR Sport wears blacked out 18-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Packability helps to determine a vehicle’s real-world suitability to touring. The five-seater GR Sport, with its rear cargo area, lends itself to that, offering more interior room and flexibility enough to accommodate a cargo barrier, portable fridge, sliding drawers and more. However, the GR Sport’s payload is listed as 650kg – and that’s equal lowest in the 300 Series range. And, remember, once you start adding Toyota accessories or aftermarket gear into your Cruiser, those items add to the weight of your vehicle.

Roof-load limit is 100kg.

The LC300's roof is limited to carry 100kg. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The LC300's roof is limited to carry 100kg. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Towing capacity is 750kg (unbraked) and 3500kg (braked). 

The GR Sport has a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3280kg and a GCM (gross combined mass) of 6750kg.

How much fuel does it consume?

Official fuel consumption is listed as 8.9L/100km on a combined cycle.

I recorded an actual fuel consumption on this test of 13.4L/100km, but our test included a lot of high- and low-range 4WDing.

Official fuel consumption is listed as 8.9L/100km on a combined cycle. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Official fuel consumption is listed as 8.9L/100km on a combined cycle. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The GR Sport has 110L fuel tank capacity (80L main and 30L sub-tank) – that’s down from the 200 Series’ 138 litres – and our on-test fuel-consumption figure would give us an effective touring range of about 760km, which includes a safe-distance buffer of about 50km. 

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The GR Sport will not undergo ANCAP safety testing, but the rest of the 300 Series line-up have received the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating in January 2022. 

Safety gear includes 10 airbags, two ISOFIX anchor points, as well as AEB with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, Active Cruise Control (all-speed), Lane Departure Alert (with brake to steer), Road Sign Assist (speed signs only), Trailer Sway Control, and more.

Off-road driver-assist tech includes Crawl control , Downhill Assist, Hill-start Assist, Multi-Terrain Select, a four-camera Multi-Terrain Monitor with Panoramic View Monitor, Active Traction Control (A-TRC), and electronic front, rear and centre locking differentials.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The 300 Series GR Sport range is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty

Engine and driveline coverage stretches to seven years if you stick to the service schedule. 

The LC300 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The LC300 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Roadside assistance costs extra.

Service intervals are six months or 10,000km.

Capped-price servicing plan now covers the first five years or 100,000km of ownership – and works out at $375 per service, so a total of $3750 for the first 10 services.

The LC300 GR Sport is a large luxury 4WD with real-world 4WD capability – and it has few serious rivals – perhaps the Nissan Patrol or the latest Land Rover Defender.

Toyota has finessed its successful LandCruiser formula, and simply made the 300 better, more efficient, more capable and even easier to drive than any Cruiser before it.

This is one of the best – if not the best – of the contemporary large SUV mob.

But, for me, the GR Sport’s price-tag of $140,000 is too much money.

If you're looking to build a off-road tourer or recreational tow vehicle, perhaps consider buying a lower-spec LC300 – a GX or GXL – and spend the cash you save on genuine accessories or aftermarket equipment to fit out your new Cruiser for action.

$137,790

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4/5

Adventure score

4/5

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.