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Could Hyundai topple the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series? Off-road war would be a battle of the booming V6 diesels

Can Hyundai take down the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series? (Image credit: Enoch Gabriel Gonzales)

With news that Hyundai would be unfazed by the Toyota LandCruiser's formidable legacy should it act on the rumours it's set to enter the rugged ladder-frame SUV space, it got us thinking, how would the Korean giant's off-road entrant measure up against the might of the incoming LC 300 Series?

Short answer? Very well indeed, especially given it has the epic turbo-diesel V6 from Genesis at its disposal - the very same engine we hope finds its way into a GR HiLux-rivalling Hyundai and Kia ute - as well oft-forgotten experience in the true off-road space via the now-gone Terracan.

But first, we recap: Hyundai in Australia has recently confirmed that, should the brand push into the off-road market, then the tackling the reputation of the Toyota LandCruiser wouldn't be a problem. Pointing to the success of both the i30 N (against cars like the Golf GTI and RenaultSport) and the iLoad (against the Toyota HiAce), the brand's executives say they have the know-how when it comes to making a splash in previously uncharted territory.

"We study everything that is a potential global project. There is a market here. But there are significant challenges with bringing a car like that to market," says Hyundai Australia's General Manager of Product, Andrew Tuitahi. "(Like a) LandCruiser brand name. We have the ability to overcome a lot of those challenges.

"I think what we’ve done with things like the i30 N, challenging the traditional RS and GTI buyer mindset has been very successful. Similarly, what we’ve done with iLoad, challenging cars like HiAce in a segment that they've typically dominated. We've done a very good job of challenging that mindset.

"I don’t think that would be a problem if we were to bring a rugged SUV to market."

So, are they right? Welcome, then, to our Dream Factory, in which we'll break down what we think these brands should throw at their off-road flagships.

A caveat, of course. It's called a Dream Factory for a reason, with Toyota so far keeping quiet on what to officially expect from the new LC300, and Hyundai yet to officially confirm a ladder-frame SUV.


It's a battle of the big diesel V6 engines here, with both Toyota and Hyundai packing some serious torque in their respective corners.

We start with the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, which we know will arrive in Australia with up to three engines, but it's the all-new diesel we'll focus on here.

Reports out of Japan point to the updated icon getting a new 3.3-litre V6 diesel, which marry with the news first reported in CarsGuide that the locally-delivered Toyota LandCruiser 300 would swap the 2.8-litre diesel offered in international markets for a punchier V6 diesel to satisfy our towing and off-road requirements.

CarsGuide understands the engine, which will be a new offering from Toyota, will out-punch the 200 Series on both power and torque, which should mean outputs in excess of 200kW and 650Nm.

Those are big numbers. But Hyundai has its own diesel at its disposal, and it's no slouch either.

The punchy straight-six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine currently used in the Genesis GV80, is capable of 205kW of power and 588Nm of torque, and it's unlikely to only live within Genesis, with the brand already flagging its "many applications".

“With this engine we can have so many applications. As you know, we make commercial vehicles and so on, so this engine will be out there for quite some time. You don’t need to worry about that engine,” says Hyundai Group R&D Chief Albert Biermann.


Again we start with the LC300, and we'll throw to Toyota Australia's sales and marketing chief, who recently told CarsGuide the incoming icon will outperform the 200 Series in every measurable way, from power and torque to towing and toughness.

"The LandCruiser needs to be capable. It needs to be able to perform, drive, tow, as expected of a LandCruiser," Mr Hanley says.

"It has a huge heritage. It's a legend, actually, of capability in the Australian landscape. It’s clear that the number of cylinders are cubic capacity are not the only things that determine the powertrain performance.

"The powertrain of any future LandCruiser will be built to deliver. It will deliver on power, torque, towing and off- and on-road capabilities. And I am supremely confident that with whatever we do, it will continue to remain a very capable vehicle all round.

"I can assure you that any new-generation model will have the enhanced capabilities, and I am more than confident it will strengthen LandCruiser's legend status."

Safe to say, then, Toyota knows how important capability is to the LandCruiser story, and will be pulling out all the stops to ensure this new model shines.

As previously reported, the new LandCruiser will adopt a ladder-frame TNGA platform, and will arrive in 4WD guise only. Japanese media has also reported the new vehicle's dimensions as 4950mm in length, 1980mm in width, and 1870mm in height.

Hyundai, on the other hand, is a little more mysterious, given the brand is yet to actually confirm the vehicle. We do know, though, that both it and Kia are working on a ladder-frame pickup, for which it will need to develop an entirely new chassis, and one that would likely underpin an off-road SUV, too.

And if we can use the ute as looking glass, we also know that that vehicle will deliver some serious specs that would surely make their way into an off-roader, including 3.5-tonne towing.

Launch date

Ah, the sticky one.

International reports point to the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series debuting in September 2021 - around 12 months later than planned after its production was thrown into covid-19 chaos.

The Hyundai, on the other hand? That's more mysterious. While rumours abound, the brand is yet to confirm the new model, which makes predicting a launch date a touch tricky.

While we do know work has begun on the ute part of the equation, if a ladder frame SUV is to follow, it's unlikely to be any time before 2023.