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Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 review

"Who needs a sports car when you've got one of these?" It's not a phrase you'd expect to hear from a passenger in a Toyota LandCruiser Troop Carrier. And it is also less likely to be heard when the said vehicle is diesel powered.

But it was said... although we cannot say with confidence that the enthused passenger - obviously excited by real-life handling and performance expelled from this gawky beast - has a great deal of authority when it comes to recommending cars.

We will leave it that he is a good mate and a good photographer - responsible for the pictures of the Toyota Troopy which carried us into the South Australian countryside on a 800km-plus road test.

The comment was even stranger considering the new 70-Series Troop Carrier is the first car in the CARSguide garage for quite a while that comes without airbags or ABS brakes. In fact, the Troopy is very much a rough-and-ready beast with a new turbodiesel V8.

It growls, rumbles and even sounds a little like it's got a cold - the standard snorkel breathes near the top of the driver's door and it has a rattly breath with every gear change. Not that there needs to be that many.

The Troopy has arrived with the turbodiesel V8 that it will eventually share with the 200 Series LandCruiser (albeit with more grunt). In this guise, it offers 151kW of power at a guttural and amusing 3400rpm, and a useful and even more amusing 430Nm of torque at just 1200rpm.

The diesel V8 roars with gusto but can also dribble along on the ample torque.

It can dribble for a long way, as well. With a 180-litre tank it uses, a claimed 11.9 litres of diesel for every 100km travelled, means it could cover more than 1500 country kilometres.

The features list includes tilt-only power steering, manual mirrors (another novelty), variable intermittent windscreen wipers and front power windows (the rest slide horizontally).

There's cloth trim and a bit of in-cabin storage, including square-shaped central cup holders, ideal for holding iced coffee cartons.

Also in the relatively sparce cabin is a CD-equipped, four-speaker sound system which can generally make itself heard above the din, but airconditioning appears on the options list.

It is practical, more than glitzy and, again, not a vehicle you would say is befitting of the silly off-the-cuff sports car comment.

So, what prompted that comment from my offsider?

It was most likely the 2115mm high Troopy's road-sticking ability at a decent clip which gave him the initial thought, followed by the fact he was not flung all over the place while using his laptop while trying to meet a deadline.

For such a large beast, with a 235mm ground clearance, the new Troopy behaves pretty well on the open bitumen - even with its big, knobbly off-road tyres on 16in steel wheels creating plenty of noise on our coarse roads.

The 70-Series LandCruiser Troopy weighs in at 2335kg and behaves itself on the open road with a decent load in the back.

But where this big fella is going to shine most is in the off-road stakes, where the pizza-cutter rubber, tough suspension and ground clearance come into play. With the optional diff locks topping off a drivetrain that oozes off-road cred, the big two-door wagon will saunter through rough stuff unfazed.

Wet, slippery forest tracks can be traversed with gusto and the Troopy has surprising agility for a wagon 2.1m in height.

But it was a muddy farm track that brought the diff locks into play. Slithering along the trail, made even more entertaining by recent heavy rain, diff locks and low range were engaged just to be sure.

The big wagon sauntered through the mud with only a couple of slithers and repeat journeys with progressively fewer features locked in didn't halt the progress - it just made it more amusing for the driver.

For $60,000, it's a big chunk of change for such a spartan machine, but if you need to go everywhere and be certain of the return trip, there aren't many better vehicles to pick.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

(4x4) 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $19,690 – 24,860 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 (4x4) Pricing and Specs
(4x4) 11 SEAT 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $21,670 – 27,390 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 (4x4) 11 SEAT Pricing and Specs
(4x4) 3 SEAT 4.2L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN 4X4 $21,340 – 26,950 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 (4x4) 3 SEAT Pricing and Specs
GXL (4x4) 4.5L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $28,984 – 45,000 2007 Toyota Land Cruiser 2007 GXL (4x4) Pricing and Specs