Toyota LandCruiser 200 with the V8 petrol engine has a reputation as being a gas guzzler, something we criticised in a big way the last time we road tested one. Now Toyota has introduced what it says is, “a more powerful and more efficient V8 petrol engine.”
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
LandCruiser's new 4.6-litre V8, down marginally from 4.7 litres in the outgoing unit, has had its power increased by 12.9 per cent to 228 kW at 5500rpm and torque by 7.1 per cent to 439Nm at 3500rpm. Naturally, there’s an emphasis on improved torque in the lower regions of the rev range, but the engineers have also worked on making the 4.6 engine operate well at higher revs.
Fuel consumption on the official scale has been cut by 6.2 per cent to 13.6 litres per 100km while CO2 emissions are down by 8.2 per cent to 313 grams per kilometre. The LandCruiser petrol now has a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the five-speed in the previous petrol engine. Taller gearing in top is part of the economy package and should make for more relaxed open-road cruising. The new automatic is the same one we have admired in turbo-diesel models for some time now.
More LandCruiser 200s go off-road than anything else in its class, so off-road technology in the upgraded model sees the introduction of multi-terrain anti-skid braking system that detects and automatically adapts to off-road conditions. The existing vehicle stability control and active traction control are assisted by this new ABS system.
Toyota LandCruiser VX and Sahara now have Multi-Terrain Select that regulates wheel-spin in tough off-road conditions with five driver-selectable modes: Rock, Rock and dirt, Mogul, Loose rock, Mud and sand.
The GX’s off-road cruise-control system, ‘Crawl’, has been improved from three low-speed settings under 25 km/h to five settings. It automatically controls the engine output and brake pressure to maintain a uniform vehicle speed with minimal wheel spin or lock-up. The system now includes an Off-road Turn Assist function that makes it easier to negotiate sharp bends by automatically applying the inside rear brake.
The top-of-the-range Sahara has Multi-Terrain Monitor with four wide-angle cameras for checking terrain hazards that are normally hidden from the driver's view. A facelift is part of the package, with new front grille and lights, revised bumpers. Audio systems have been upgraded.
All LandCruiser 200 models now have 138-litre fuel-tank capacity with 93-litre main and 45-litre sub tanks. LandCruiser GX, sold with a 4.5-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel engine, now has centre wheel caps for the 17-inch steel wheels, a new design of black grille and revised rear lights with LEDs.
LandCruiser GXL now has satellite navigation with a new 6.1-inch touch-screen audio system that includes a single CD and USB input. New styling sees the GXL with a black grille with chrome surround, restyled halogen headlamps, and clearances lamp positioned between the low and high-beam lamps.
LandCruiser 200 from Toyota is mainly aimed at country and outer suburban buyers and is an excellent tow vehicle. Getting in and out is awkward at times, a drawback of this being a genuine off-road vehicle. It’s a fair climb up to the seats and they are set a good distance inboard.
The interior is spacious and the LandCruiser 200 can seat up to eight people. Six can be adults, though four plus four children is more realistic. The second-row seats can slide backwards and forwards to juggle the amount of legroom. When they are all the way back the legroom they provide is limo-like. Naturally, the third row seats are very cramped when you slide the centre row all the way back.
In-cabin stowage space is very good, with a cavernous centre-console box, large door pockets that can take large drinks bottles and numerous little nooks and crannies for sunnies, mobiles, wallets and so on. The two rearmost seats fold up against the side of the luggage area when not in use and there's still plenty of luggage space between them when they are stowed. Even with the seats in use you can fit a fairly hefty suitcase behind them.
Some drivers may find it too soft in the handling department, and the steering on the slow side, but this Cruiser is very much a cruiser and sharp dynamics were never part of the dynamic agenda. Cruising is exceptionally easy as suppression of NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) is most impressive and the big Toyota has the sort of luxurious feel you expect in an upmarket passenger car.
The complete 2012 Toyota LandCruiser range is:
GX 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel: $77,990
GXL 4.6-litre petrol: $83,990
GXL 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel: $88,990
VX 4.6-litre petrol: $94,990
VX 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel: $99,990
Sahara 4.6-litre petrol: $113,990
Sahara 4.5-litre twin-turbo diesel: $118,990
Price: from $77,990
Warranty: three years/100,000km
Thirst: 13.6/100km, CO2 313g/km
Crash rating: 4 stars
Equipment: 8 airbags, ESP, ABS, EBD, stability and traction controls
Engine: 4.6-litre, V8 petrol, 228 kW/439Nm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 4WD constant
Body: 4-door wagon, 8 seats