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Toyota LandCruiser Sahara ZX 2022 review

It's a beast, but a good looking one.

This is my first time in a Toyota LandCruiser Sahara, and I was pleasantly surprised. Is it big? Yes. Is it luxe? Yes. Does it make you feel like the queen of the road? Triple yes. 

It’s a highly anticipated, new generation Sahara that’s come after 14 years,  and is now more brash and flash than ever before, with a price tag to match.

I test drove the Sahara ZX which is the top-of-the-range and costs $138,790, before on road costs.

It competes with cars like the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS. I drove the bolshie five-seat SUV around with my family of four this week to see how it goes in real life. If you’re looking for a seven-seat SUV, there are other LandCruiser models to fit that bill.

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How does it look?

It’s a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking. It’s quite square-ish in shape and has definition wedged into the bodywork.

  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara is a beast of a car, high, wide, and good looking (image: Dean McCartney).

With a huge grille on the front, the rest is understated and it lets the size speak for itself. This is the car version of The Rock in a suit. 

Being the top model the interior is luxe. The one I tested featured a black and red theme though it comes in beige and plain black.

Being the top model the interior is luxe (image: Dean McCartney). Being the top model the interior is luxe (image: Dean McCartney).

There’s a wide centre console area that is nicely designed, very functional and feels premium, much more so than any Toyota I’ve ever driven. 

The steering wheel is leather-trimmed with a carbon look finish, and there are wood panel accents throughout. It’s definitely a big player in this premium category. 

What’s the tech like?

The multimedia screen on this model is 12.3 inches and you’ll get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connected by a USB cord.

The multimedia screen on this model is 12.3 inches (image: Dean McCartney). The multimedia screen on this model is 12.3 inches (image: Dean McCartney).

That means instant connectivity with your phone’s main apps and you can use Google maps to navigate and a streaming app to listen to music or podcasts. There are 14 JBL speakers in this car, so turn the sound up, it’s worth it. 

How easy is it to use every day?

The LandCruiser Sahara features power everything including power adjustable front seats and a power tailgate. 

There are two cupholders in the front, a large centre storage bin that’s also refrigerated and is genuinely good for keeping drinks cold, with a swish double door opening.

There's a wireless charging pad, and bottle holders in the doors. 

My kids loved this car, the height, the space - they’ve been a bit critical of cars recently but as soon as they got in and saw the screens - well, you know how kids feel about screens, so it was an immediate winner.

They spent the whole week changing the radio station over. And over. And over. Besides that you’ll have to get them something else to do on these screens, which I didn’t do.

You’ll get your own climate control in the second row, cupholders in the centre armrest and bottle holders in the doors. 

How spacious is it?

Space is enormous in the front, there’s loads of leg and headroom for taller people, and it’s so high off the road it feels like a mini house on wheels.

Space is enormous in the front (image: Dean McCartney). Space is enormous in the front (image: Dean McCartney).

There’s plenty of room in between the passenger and driver’s seat. You won’t feel like you need more room. 

Space in the back is great. You can fit three child seats across, I did it with two boosters and a baby capsule.

You can fit three child seats across the back (image: Dean McCartney). You can fit three child seats across the back (image: Dean McCartney).

I’m 161cm and there’s loads of room for me. Taller adults and teenagers won’t have any issues fitting in the second row. 

The square shape also makes the boot functional, and large, with 1131L on offer with the second seat upright.

The square shape also makes the boot functional (image: Dean McCartney). The square shape also makes the boot functional (image: Dean McCartney).

Fold that second row and the available space grows to no less than 2052L.

Fold the second row down and the boot space is 2052L (image: Dean McCartney). Fold the second row down and the boot space is 2052L (image: Dean McCartney).

You might be surprised to find this big SUV is only a five seater, and you can certainly get seven-seat LandCruisers, but the Sahara ZX is all about storage space.

How does it drive?

Driving in the Sahara is pretty great. There’s a large 3.3L diesel engine which means it has loads of power and you can feel it as soon as you get in.

The car moves with little effort, speeds up hills and you can overtake on highways easily. There’s a heaviness on take off, but that’s to be expected with such a heavy, large car, and nobody’s expecting this to be nimble. 

The Sahara features a diesel engine which means it has loads of power (image: Dean McCartney). The Sahara features a diesel engine which means it has loads of power (image: Dean McCartney).

It handles well and you do quite honestly feel as though you are queen of the road in the Sahara. It feels very safe and solid, and you feel confident driving it. 

Parking is not too bad, but it is such a large car, you won’t fit into parks that you ordinarily would. I stuck out a lot in the local outdoor carpark. It takes up a lot of space.

Other than that the parking is fine, you can still reverse park when there is enough room for you and there’s a good reverse parking camera, plus a 360-degree view to help you out. 

How safe is it?

For safety there are airbags for driver and front passenger and side airbags for the first and second row.

You’ll get auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, active cruise control, lane departure alert, rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. 

The latest 'Toyota Safety Sense' suite includes AEB with daytime cyclist and vehicle detection, nighttime pedestrian detection, intersection turn assist and steering assist.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to secure child seats in the second row.

How much does it cost to own?

The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs. The official combined Fuel consumption figure is 8.9L/100km and I averaged 12.3L/100km this week. 

  • The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney). The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney). The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney). The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney).
  • The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney). The Toyota LandCruiser Sahara costs $138,500, before on-road costs (image: Dean McCartney).

It’s covered by Toyota’s five year, unlimited km warranty and will need a service every six months or 10,000km which is quite short. 

However, the 'Toyota Service Advantage' program has been extended from three years/60,000km to five years/100,000km, including capped-price servicing on the first 10 services at $375 each.


The Wrap

The new Toyota LandCruiser Sahara ZX is a fabulous family car. It's got loads of interior space, feels incredibly luxe and is lovely and refined to drive for a car of this size. There’s all the latest tech and safety and it’s a proper 4WD so will be great for big road trips. 

I gave it a family rating of 8.5 out of 10, and my kids gave it a 9.0. I think they only took a point off because it wasn’t electric, but apart from that they loved it. 

 

Likes

Interior design
Refined driving
Space

Dislikes

High on fuel
No hybrid/electric variant
Short service intervals

Scores

Nedahl:

4.3

The Kids:

4.5

$138,790

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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