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Nissan Patrol


Toyota Land Cruiser

Summary

Nissan Patrol

The Nissan Y62 Series 5 Patrol is the iconic go-anywhere rival to the equally legendary and off-road-tough Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series. Like the ‘Cruiser the current Patrol is aging, having been around for a decade now. So, did the late-2019 update to the Patrol wind back the clock with new styling, tech and safety?

What’s it like to live with on-the-road when it’s not adventuring through the desert? And is that petrol V8 thirsty?

I found the answers to all these questions and more when the top-of-the-range Patrol, the Ti-L, came to stay for a week.

Safety rating
Engine Type5.6L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency14.4L/100km
Seating7 seats

Toyota Land Cruiser

New models don’t get much bigger than this. Literally, but also figuratively speaking. In fact, I haven’t actually seen anything generate anywhere near the level of buzz around the new Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series in the past decade. 

It’s also not often we see a new design with the pressure of living up to a seven-decade heritage, but this one also carries the reputation of the world’s most successful car brand on its shoulders. 

The big LandCruiser wagon is Toyota’s equivalent of the 911, S-Class, Golf, Mustang, Corvette, GT-R, or MX-5. A flagship model that needs to demonstrate the brand’s core values. 

There’s some poetry in the biggest brand having the largest icon, but its physical scale is more of a by-product of its broad spectrum of capabilities. 

And unlike these other brand figureheads, the new LandCruiser LC300 won’t sell in the big markets like China, the USA or Europe. Instead, it’s the Middle East, Southeast Asia (including Australia), Japan, Africa and Central and South America where it will strut its stuff. 

Yes, little old Australia, which has a demonstrated love affair with the LandCruiser badge that kicked off as Toyota’s first export model (ever, anywhere) in 1959, and therefore blazed the trail toward the global domination Toyota enjoys today.

This love affair has never been clearer than the massive anticipation for the new 300 Series LandCruiser, with the stories we’ve published on CarsGuide to-date having broken traffic records left, right and centre. 

Why do we love the idea of a big LandCruiser so much? Because of its demonstrated ruggedness for remote areas and off-road, ability to tow huge loads and carry lots of people in great comfort over very long distances.

For many who live in remote areas, these are essential strengths for daily life. For those of us in more populated parts of Australia, it represents the ideal gateway for escaping to enjoy this wide, brown land.

And for every Australian looking to buy one new, there’s probably hundreds dreaming about buying a used example in the future, with the expectation of a dependable buy decades after they’re built.

The big plot twist amid all this is that despite finally going on sale, Toyota still can’t promise when you’ll be able to park one in your garage, due to pandemic-related parts shortages halting production. Keep an eye on this page for any developments on that front.

But for now, thanks to the LandCruiser 300 Series’ Australian media launch, I can finally tell you what the finished product is like to drive. 

I can also finally dissect the whole Australian line-up, and go through all the details we were still missing when we published Byron Mathioudakis’ prototype LandCruiser 300 review back in August.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.3L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency8.9L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Nissan Patrol7.6/10

The Patrol Ti-L is a go-anywhere beast but as my test showed anywhere can also mean the upmarket end of town on city streets where its on-road manners are refined, composed and comfortable, with looks that border on prestige. The Patrol might be getting on, and the interior design is starting to age, but this is still a superb vehicle for the money.


Toyota Land Cruiser8.5/10

There’s not much more to say really. The new Land Cruiser 300 Series seems like a better all-round package than ever, that’s so well suited to Australia’s broad array of driving conditions.  

It's impossible to suggest a sweet spot among the six trim levels on offer, given they all tend to be aimed at a specific use case and buyer. May I reiterate; check all the details before choosing the right model for you.

It’s not cheap, but try and find something that’ll do everything so well at any price.

Design

Nissan Patrol7/10

Large. Enormous. Big. Some of the words I’ve used so far to describe the Patrol, but they aren’t going to help you when it comes to knowing if it will fit in your garage or the shopping centre car park.

So, here are the Y62 Series 5 Patrol’s dimensions. The Ti-L measures 5175mm long, 1955mm tall and 1995mm wide. It’s the height which was the primary concern for me because I live in the city and many multi-level carparks have maximum clearances of 1.9m.

The Patrol’s styling doesn’t exactly try to hide its size. The thing looks like it’s been chiseled out of sandstone, with a face that looks like a wall, a high and broad bonnet, and a flat roofline leading to a sheer drop at the tailgate like the Nullarbor meeting the ocean.

In late 2019 the Patrol received styling tweaks with the bonnet, front wheel arches, and grille given a redesign along with both bumpers. Nissan says the Ti is the sporty looking one while the Ti-L we’re reviewing here has a more premium look.

I’d agree with that; premium but with a bit of Robo Cop thrown in. It’s definitely confronting and modern looking, but with a high-end air.

The prestige feel continues inside but it’s less futuristic with all that wood, and the tech is beginning to date. Still, this is a plush cabin, with a good fit and finish to it.


Toyota Land Cruiser9/10

The new 300 Series’ overall proportions look very similar to the 14-year old 200 Series it replaces, but Toyota insists it’s a clean-sheet design from top to bottom.

Overall imensions (mm)LengthWidthHeightWheelbase
Sahara ZX5015198019502850
GR Sport4995199019502850
Sahara4980198019502850
VX4980198019502850
GXL4980198019502850
GX4980200019502850

I actually have a feeling the bonnet release lever is a carryover, but I’m yet to verify this, and everything else seems to take a step forward to push it’s all-rounder status to greater heights than ever.

Australia has once again played a key role in its development, with the first prototype touching down in 2015. Toyota says that in addition to Australia being a key market for the 300 Series, we offer engineers access to 80 per cent of the world’s driving conditions.

The new body is both stronger and lighter than before thanks to using aluminium for the roof and opening panels, plus high-tensile steel, and rides on a new separate chassis with redesigned mechanical elements that have been relocated to give a lower centre of gravity while offering more ground clearance. The wheel tracks have also been widened to improve stability.

It all aligns with the TNGA platform philosophy that’s put a shine on all new Toyotas since the launch of the fourth-generation Prius, and the LC300’s specific separate-chassis iteration is branded TNGA-F. This also underpins the new Tundra truck in the US, and will also evolve into the next Prado and likely others.

Regardless of the new design, it is still a big car, and combined with its requirements for ruggedness, it was always going to be a heavy outcome, with all versions tipping the scales near the 2.5 tonne mark. Which makes it one of the heaviest cars on the market.

 Kerb weight
Sahara ZX2610kg
GR Sport2630kg
VX/Sahara2630kg
GXL2580kg
GX2495kg

On the inside, the new LandCruiser is bang up to date. Even the base GX looks nice and fresh with materials that feel like the top quality you’d expect, and a lot of attention has been paid to ergonomics. It’s clear that function has been put before form, unlike a lot of other off-roaders that do it the other way around to the detriment of occupants.

There’s also plenty of button controls, which I’d prefer rather than hidden controls behind submenus in the touchscreen.

On that note, it’s surprising to see analog gauges across the range, where so many new models are going for full digital instrumentation lately.

Another thing that’s surprisingly missing for a new model in 2021 is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, even though all bar the base GX gets a wireless phone charger. You do get corded Android Auto and Apple CarPlay across the range, but no wireless, even when you spend up to just under 140 thousand dollars.

Practicality

Nissan Patrol9/10

The Patrol is a seven-seat, large SUV and in the words of our five-year-old son, “This is a good car because it’s big, but also it’s too big.”

He said that as he made a second attempt to scale the entrance into the second row, and that time didn’t fall out. It’s a long way up and while the doorways are tall and wide, it’s not just my kid who’s going to need the side steps to climb in, everyone will. I did, and I’m 191cm (6'3") tall.

The Patrol’s cabin is enormous. I mean Land of the Giants enormous. So, for somebody with my 2.0-metre wingspan it felt great to have so much shoulder, elbow, and headroom up front.

Leg and headroom in the second row is also excellent. There was about a 100mm gap between my knees and the seat back.

The third row is tight, and the second row doesn’t slide forward to offer more room. Still, I could sit back there for a short trip, but those two seats are really for kids. Do the airbags cover the third row? I’ll get to that in the safety section below.

Lets’ talk about cabin storage and then the boot.

Under the centre armrest between the driver and front passenger is a fridge large enough to cool six 600ml water bottles or my wife’s large handbag, and the clever lid means it can be opened from the front or the back.

Door pockets are seriously big, there are two cupholders up front, another two in the second row and the third has four.

When all three rows of seats are in use the boot space left is still impressive at 468 litres, and with the third row folded flat there’s 1413 litres of space, and that opens up to 2623 litres if you fold the second row down, too. Huge.

The boot load lip is pretty high compared to less hardcore SUVs such as a Mazda CX-9. So, if you’re just using the Patrol daily and never head off-road you may quickly get over hoisting your shopping bags into the boot like you’re competing in a hammer throw event.

For devices you’ll find five USB ports (three are in the second row, the rest up front), four 12V outlets (two up front, one in the second row, and a third in the boot), and there’s a HDMI port in the second row, too.


Toyota Land Cruiser9/10

Being a big SUV, practicality is a big deal, and just to reiterate, it’s only the GXL, VX and Sahara that have seven seats, with the base GX and the top-tier GR Sport and Sahara ZX only having five.

There’s good storage space all round, with at least six cupholders, and there’s bottle holders in each door. 

All bar the base GX get ample USB coverage, there’s a 12V point up front and in the second row, and all trim levels get a handy 220V/100W  inverter in the cargo area.

 USB-A (audio)USB-C (charge)12V220V/100W
Sahara ZX1 /*-->*/ 3 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1
GR Sport1 /*-->*/ 3 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1
Sahara1 /*-->*/ 5 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1
VX1 /*-->*/ 5 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1
GXL1 /*-->*/ 5 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1
GX11 /*-->*/ 2 /*-->*/ 1

The second row is where things get clever. Despite the new model riding on the same wheelbase as the 200 Series, they’ve managed to move the second row back to allow an extra 92mm of legroom. There’s always been plenty of room for my 172cm height, but taller passengers will likely be big fans of the new 300 Series, and for those of us with kids there’s the standard two ISOFIX and three top tether child seat mounts. The second row seats also have reclining backrests, but the base doesn’t slide fore and aft. Note that the GX and GXL second row splits 60:40, where the VX, Sahara, GR Sport and Sahara ZX split 40:20:40.

Climbing into the third row is never going to be easy given how far off the ground you are, but it’s pretty good with the second row tumbled forward, and the smaller part is thankfully on the passenger side. 

Once you’re back there, there’s decent room for adults of average height, you can see out the windows quite easily, which is not always the case. There’s good ventilation for your face, head and feet. 

Each backrest reclines (electronically on Sahara), there’s a cupholder for each passenger, but there’s no child seat mounts in the third row, unlike a lot of other newer seven seaters.

Approaching the 300 Series from behind, there is a couple more big changes over the LandCruiser wagons of old. 

First is the one-piece tailgate, so no more split or barn door options. There’s lots of arguments for all three types of tailgates, but two big pluses for the new design is that the simpler construction makes it much easier to seal dust from getting in, and it makes a handy shelter when you’ve got it open.

The second big change back here is that the third row seats finally fold into the floor, instead of the awkward ‘up and to the side’ approach of the past.

One compromise that’s likely resulted from moving the second row closer to the rear is a significant reduction in overall boot space, with the third-row folded figure dropping by 272 litres VDA to 1004, but it is still a big, tall space, and the fact that the third row now folds into the floor has liberated an extra 250mm of boot width.

Boot space5 seat7 seat
Seats up (L VDA)1131175
Third row folded (L VDA)n/a1004
All folded (L VDA)20521967
*all figures measured to roofline

As per big LandCruiser tradition, you’ll still find a full-size spare wheel under the boot floor, which is accessed from beneath. This might sound like a dirty job, but it’s much easier than unloading your boot onto the ground to access it from inside.

Payload figures weren’t a 200 Series strong point, so it’s good to see that these have improved by a useful 40-90kg across the range. 

 Payload
Sahara ZX /*-->*/ 670 kg
VX/Sahara/GR Sport /*-->*/ 650kg
GXL700kg
GX785kg

Note the numbers still vary by up to 135kg depending on trim level, so pay close attention if you plan on carrying heavy loads.

Speaking of heavy loads, the maximum braked tow rating is still the benchmark 3.5 tonnes and all trim levels come with an integrated tow receiver. While the overall number may not have changed, Toyota boasts that the 300 Series does a better job of towing within that limit.

All versions of the LC300 are rated with a 6750kg gross-combined mass (GCM) and a 3280kg gross-vehicle mass (GVM). The maximum front axle load is 1630kg, where the rear can handle 1930kg. The roof load limit is 100kg.

Running ground clearance is slightly improved at 235mm, and the wading depth is rated at the Toyota-standard 700mm.

Price and features

Nissan Patrol8/10

The Y62 Series 5 Patrol line-up consists of two grades: the $76,990 Ti and the top-of-the-range $92,790 Ti-L we’re reviewing here.

The Ti and Ti-L were upgraded at the end of 2019 with new safety tech and some styling tweaks, which I’ll take you through in the sections below.

But for now, let me tell you about the Ti-L’s features.

Coming standard on the Ti-L is leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, heated and cooled front seats which are also power adjustable, a 6.0-litre cooler box, sat nav, proximity unlocking, power tailgate, sun roof, LED headlights with washers, LED fog lights, puddle lights, and a digital rear-view mirror.

The Ti-L also has a DVD entertainment system with an 8.0-inch screen up front and two more seat-back 8.0-inch screens in the second row, and a 13-speaker Bose stereo.

Roof racks are standard on the Ti-L, so is the dark-tinted rear glass, while wheels are 18-inch alloys, and there’s a full-sized spare.

The only optional equipment fitted to my test car was a dealer-installed tow bar kit ($1374) and electric brake controllers ($618). The 'Moonstone White' premium paint it wore is also optional and costs $595.

Is the Patrol Ti-L good value? Yes, but it’s beginning to feel a little dated – a lot like its rival the Toyota LandCruiser LC200 GXL which lists for $89,222.

For similar money you could get into a more modern feeling Land Rover Discovery SD4 SE for $88,421, and if that’s got you thinking then the entry level Range Rover Sport is $105,759.

Something you may not have considered is the Ford Everest, which is extremely capable off-road, comfortable to drive and a whole lot more affordable at $72,590 for the seven-seat Titanium grade.


Toyota Land Cruiser8/10

We’ve known for a couple of months now that the new 300 Series has jumped in price, like a lot of new models lately, but the $7-10,000 price rises are spread across a broader line-up than before, and there’s a lot going on with its new design from top to bottom to help justify it. 

It’s interesting to note that the 300 Series line-up isn’t the usual pattern of more features the more you spend, with some trim levels specifically focused on certain customers and use cases, so check the details carefully.

Like before, you can pick the base GX ($89,990 MSRP) by its 17-inch steel wheels - which revert to six-stud, unlike the five studs used for the past two generations - and big black snorkel. This is the one you’ll see wearing Police signage beyond the black stump.

As we’ve called out before, it no longer gets the barn door tailgate, but still gets rubber on the floor and in the boot instead of carpet.

Equipment highlights include a leather steering wheel, comfy black cloth trim, active cruise control, but you only get most of the important safety gear. 

The base multimedia screen is on the small side at 9.0 inches, but it finally comes with CarPlay and Android Auto, which is still corded unlike the wireless that’s starting to pop up on most new models. The driver gets a basic 4.2 inch display in the instrument panel. 

The GXL ($101,790 MSRP) loses the snorkel but adds key details like 18-inch alloys, roof rails, and alloy side steps. It’s also the cheapest seven-seater, and brings carpet, a wireless phone charger, Multi-Terrain Select which specifically adapts the drivetrain to suit the terrain you’re driving on, and brings in key safety features including  front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts.

The VX ($113,990 MSRP) had become the most popular trim level with the 200 Series, and you can now pick it by its shinier wheels, silver grille and more stylised DRL headlights.

On the inside, it swaps the cloth for black or beige synthetic leather seat trim, and adds highlights like the bigger 12.3-inch multimedia screen and 10 speaker audio with a CD/DVD player (in 2021!!!), a big 7-inch display ahead of the driver, four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, a sunroof, and four-camera surround view.  Interestingly, this is the cheapest model with auto wipers and reverse auto braking to protect from colliding with static objects.

Look for the chrome mirrors to pick a Sahara ($131,190 MSRP) over a VX, and it feels a bit odd that you’ve got to spend more than $130,000 to get leather seat trim with the Sahara, and that’s also the case for a head-up display and a power tailgate. This leather can be had in black or beige, though. 

Other luxury details include second row entertainment screens and 14-speaker audio, electric folding for the third row seats, a cool box in the centre console as per Sahara tradition, heated steering wheel and the second row also scores heated and ventilated seats.

The GR Sport is next on the price tree at $137,790 MSRP, but shifts its philosophy from the Sahara’s luxury to more of a sporting or adventure flavour.  

This means black details and the classic TOYOTA uppercase badge on the grille, a bunch of GR badging, but also a bunch of unpainted plastic to make it more rugged when you’re off-road

It’s also only got five seats - trimmed with black or black and red leather - and loses the rear seat screens, which makes it ideal for mounting a fridge and a set of drawers in the boot for touring. 

Further supporting this notion are front and rear diff locks, and it’s the only model to get the clever e-KDSS active swaybar system for allowing more suspension travel on rough terrain. 

The top of the range Sahara ZX ($138,790 MSRP) is about the same price as the GR Sport, but has a more glitzy look, with bigger 20-inch wheels and a choice of black, beige or black and red leather options. The Sahara ZX seems to be the LandCruiser to buy if you spend a lot of time around town, ironically.

There’s a total of 10 colour options across the LC300 range, but only the top Sahara ZX is available in all of them, so check the brochure for the full breakdown.

For the record, the colour spectrum includes Glacier White, Crystal Pearl, Arctic White, Silver Pearl, Graphite (grey metallic), Ebony, Merlot Red, Saturn Blue, Dusty Bronze, and Eclipse Black.

One of the most recent 300 Series announcements has been the factory accessories range, which is ready to go with a choice of new and improved bullbars and nudge bars, a winch, recovery points, roof carrying systems in addition to the usual optional extras.

As always, these factory accessories are your best chance to retain all safety and mechanical functions, not to mention your warranty.

Engine & trans

Nissan Patrol8/10

The good news is the Patrol isn’t powered by a hamster on a wheel. Nope, the engine perfectly matches the macho look and feel because it’s a 5.6-litre petrol V8 making 298kW/560Nm.

So, if you’re worried that in these days of fuel consciousness the Patrol would have something less beefy, fear not.

The not so good news is that you can only have a petrol V8 and there’s no diesel alternative. That’s not great news for fuel economy as you’ll read below.

If you’re not fussed by how much fuel you’ll use, then in return you’ll have a petrol V8 which is lot quieter than a diesel while the seven-speed automatic transmission is smooth making for a refined and effortlessly powerful driving experience (read more about that below too).

The Patrol is four-wheel drive with 4H and 4L gears, plus an Auto (AWD) setting.


Toyota Land Cruiser9/10

Yes, the V8 is dead, in the 300 Series at least, but don’t forget you can still get the single turbo version in the 70 Series. 

The LC300’s new 3.3-litre (3346cc) twin-turbo diesel V6 F33A-FTV engine promises to be better in every way though, and paired with a new 10-speed torque converter auto they promise more performance, efficiency, and refinement. 

With 227kW and 700Nm, the outright numbers are up 27kW and 50Nm over the 200 Series diesel, but interestingly the max torque band remains the same 1600-2600rpm.

The new engine’s move to a ‘hot V’ design, with both turbos mounted on top of the engine and the intercoolers moved to behind the bumper is more complicated than before, particularly for keeping things cool when you might be crawling over endless sand dunes in say, the Australian outback. 

But, Toyota engineers are confident that it will live up to all reliability expectations, and above all, I like the fact that the new engine has been designed for this car. It’s not like Toyota has cut corners by adapting an engine from the Prado or Kluger, and that says a lot in this day and age. 

It also has a timing chain, rather than a timing belt, and in keeping with the new engine’s Euro 5 emissions compliance, it also has a diesel particulate filter. 

I was surprised to experience the ‘DPF regen’ process three times across three of the four cars I drove during the LC300’s launch program, but if it weren’t for the alert in the driver display, I wouldn’t have been aware it was happening. All vehicles had less than 1000km on their odometers, and the process occurred on the highway as well as during slow-speed low-range off-roading. 

Before you ask, no there’s no hybrid version of the 300 Series yet, but there’s one under development.

Fuel consumption

Nissan Patrol6/10

Nissan says that after a combination of open and urban roads the Patrol Ti-L will have used 14.4L/100km. In my fuel testing I started with a full tank (140 litres) and then after 103.3km of city streets, suburban roads and motorways I needed 19.57L to fill it back to capacity which comes to 18.9L/100km.

That may sound like a lot, but until I hit the motorways the trip computer was saying the average fuel consumption was 30.1L/100km after about 50km of only inner-city suburb driving.

The Patrol needs a minimum of 95 RON premium petrol, too.


Toyota Land Cruiser8/10

Toyota has paid attention to efficiency at every level of this new design, but even with a lighter body, smaller engine, more ratios and a lot more technology you’re still propelling 2.5 tonnes of tall car with big, chunky off-road tyres. 

So the new official combined consumption figure 8.9L/100km is only 0.6L better than the old V8 200 Series diesel, but it could be a lot worse. 

The 300 Series’ 110-litre fuel capacity is also 28 litres smaller than before, but this combined figure still suggests a very decent 1236km range between fills.

During my test I saw 11.1L/100km on the trip computer after a 150km stretch of 110km/h motorway, so don’t bank on achieving 1200km between fills all the time.

Driving

Nissan Patrol8/10

For this review the Y62 Series 5 Patrol Ti-L stayed firmly on suburban roads and city streets and wasn’t taken off-road. If you’re keen to find out how the Patrol fares over tough terrain then read Adventurer Editor Marcus ‘Crafty’ Craft’s off-road review here.

Suffice to say, it’s extremely capable off the road. Essential figures for the Ti-L include a ground clearance of 273mm, an approach angle of 28.0 degrees (34.4 degrees in the Ti) and a departure angle of 26.3 degrees.

And if you’re planning to tow, then read Crafty’s tow test here where he compared the Ti-L with the Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series GXL from what it’s like to drive with a van on the back to the fuel economy.

What you need to know here is the Patrol has a maximum-braked towing capacity 3.5-tonnes, a Gross Combined Mass (GCM) of 7000kg and a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 3500kg.

So, as much as the Patrol is as happy as a pig in mud when it’s in mud, this large SUV will no doubt spend a lot of time on the bitumen as well, where the it's also an accomplished beast.

Ride and handling are shockingly good for something nudging three tonnes. There’s independent rear suspension and 'Hydraulic Body Motion Control' which keeps the Patrol flatter in the corners.

Dampers have been retuned for better on-road comfort and while the ride may be firmer than many large, floaty-feeling SUVs, it’s still enjoyably comfortable.

A turning circle of 12.5m and fairly slow geared steering saw me feeling a bit like a hand-shuffling bus driver doing three point turns in my street. No biggie, though the steering is pinky finger light and makes for easy work.

Around town at lower speeds the steering is accurate and great for piloting through traffic, but on motorways and fast country roads I felt a little disconnected from the front wheels at times, so more feeling in the steering would be an improvement.

Parking obviously was harder in the city where finding a seven-metre space is near impossible, but thanks to the great visibility, both in terms of the ride height and the enormous windows and wing mirrors, maneuvering into tight spaces and navigating city streets was easy.


Toyota Land Cruiser9/10

When Byron drove the prototype version of the 300 Series earlier this year, he came away with only good impressions. 

Now that I’ve finally driven the finished car on and off road, It really seems that Toyota has nailed the brief. 

I covered about 450km on the highway in the Sahara and Sahara ZX, and it’s even more of a loungeroom on wheels than before. It’s quiet, comfortable, and more stable than I remember the 200 Series feeling, which is a big ask given how rugged the chassis is with so much off-road ability. 

With just myself on board the new V6 ticks over at just 1600rpm in 9th gear at 110km/h, which is exactly the kickoff point for max torque, so it takes a big hill before it needs to drop down to 8th gear. Even in 8th, it sits on just 1800rpm at 110km/h. 

What’s the point of 10th gear you might ask? Good question, as I only used it by selecting it manually, and the revs drop down to just 1400rpm at 110km/h. I can only imagine 10th comes in handy when you’re sitting on 130km/h for hours on end in the Northern Territory. I hope we can test that theory soon, but you get a good sense of capability well beyond what’s needed.

You can say the same for its off-road ability, with it being pretty amazing given how comfortable on the road it is. 

Following Toyota’s admittedly prescribed off-road loop, it represented about 5km of low-range, tight, generally loose rock surface, with climbs and descents you’d struggle to manage on foot. Also thrown into the mix were plenty of obstacles that got wheels well and truly in the air despite the 300’s excellent travel and articulation. 

With so much weight, you’d expect it to be pretty settled over such terrain, but it’s some achievement for something weighing 2.5 tonnes to manage its heft so well and simply walk around the track. If the gap isn’t too narrow, there’s a mighty good chance you’ll emerge on the other side.

I managed to get through all the above without creasing the alloy side steps - a traditional LandCruiser weakness - but plenty of the other cars on the day were showing the usual battle scars. They’re still a good buffer before you take out a sill, but stronger aftermarket steps or sliders would be a good move if you plan on using the LC300 to its full potential off-road.

I did all this on standard tyres with no modifications, straight out of the box, in a 2.5 tonne vehicle, that somehow manages to shrink around you when you’re tackling the tough stuff.

Little things like low range clicking in as soon as you flick the switch play a big role here, plus driver aids like really effective Hill Descent Control, and the new-generation Crawl Control that extracts every ounce of grip from the tyres is a lot less dramatic than it used to be.

Now granted I only managed to drive the GR Sport off-road, so its e-KDSS active swaybars suggest it will be the ultimate 300 Series for this sort of thing, so we’ll try to follow up with proper off-road tests of other grades as soon as possible.

I also briefly towed the pictured 2.9-tonne caravan, and while we look forward to bringing you a proper long-distance tow test, its performance with such a big van really underlines that the new model is an even better all-rounder than ever. 

Sitting at a steady 110/km/h, I did notice the bonnet fluttering toward the front, which some drivers may find distracting, particularly in the darker colours. 

I can’t recall noticing this in the 200 Series, and it’s likely a by-product of moving to an aluminium construction and also considering pedestrian impact absorption.

Back on the positive side of the ledger, the new LC300’s seats are among the most comfortable in the business, visibility is pretty good, so I suppose the only thing I haven’t been able to test is the headlight performance. Watch this space.

Safety

Nissan Patrol8/10

The Y62 Nissan Patrol first came out in 2010 and despite many safety upgrades over the years since it hasn’t yet been given an ANCAP rating.

The 2019 upgrade saw more advanced tech added and the Ti-L safety features include AEB, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane keeping assistance, and blind spot warning which will intervene to steer you back into your lane if needed.

For child seats you’ll find two ISOFIX points and two top tether anchor mounts in the second row. Only the right-hand seat in the third row can have a child seat installed and it’s a top tether anchor point.

Nissan says curtain airbags cover all three rows in the Patrol.


Toyota Land Cruiser8/10

The new 300 Series is yet to score an ANCAP safety rating, but here’s curtain airbags covering all rows of seats, which properly cover third-row occupants. 

Also beyond the norm are side airbags up front and in the second row, plus knee bags for both front occupants. 

There’s no centre airbag up front, but a car this wide doesn’t necessarily need it to score top marks from ANCAP. Watch this space.

On the active safety front, highlights for all models include front auto emergency braking that has all the right smarts and is impressively active all the way between 10-180km/h. So it’s fair to describe it as city and highway AEB.

Note that the base GX misses out on key safety features including  front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, which could lead to it being the only LC300 to miss out on a top safety rating.

Only from the VX model upwards do you get rear auto braking for static objects, and I can confirm, it works a treat.

 GXGXLVXSaharaGR SportSahara VX
AEBCity, HwyCity, HwyCity, Hwy, RearCity, Hwy, RearCity, Hwy, RearCity, Hwy, Rear
Rear cross-traffic alertN /*-->*/ YYYYY
Parking sensorsN /*-->*/ Front, RearFront, RearFront, RearFront, RearFront, Rear
Front row airbagsDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, CurtainDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, CurtainDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, CurtainDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, CurtainDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, CurtainDriver, Knee, Pass, Side, Curtain
Second row airbagsCurtain, SideCurtain, SideCurtain, SideCurtain, SideCurtain, SideCurtain, Side
Third row airbagsn/aCurtainCurtainCurtainn/an/a
Adaptive cruise control /*-->*/ Y /*-->*/ YYYYY
Blind-spot monitoringN /*-->*/ YYYYY
Lane departure warningY /*-->*/ YYYYY
Lane assistN /*-->*/ NYYYY

Ownership

Nissan Patrol7/10

The Y62 Series 5 Patrol is covered by Nissan’s five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

Servicing is recommended every six months or 10,000km and the first six services are set at $376 for the first service, $577 for the second, $392 for the third, $860 for the fourth and $407 for the fifth and $624 for the sixth.


Toyota Land Cruiser8/10

Like all new Toyotas, the new LC300 carries a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty, which is the status quo among mainstream brands at the moment, but the engine and driveline coverage extends to seven years if you stick to the service schedule. Roadside assistance will cost you extra though.

Service intervals are still a relatively brief six months or 10,000km, but the capped-price servicing plan has been extended to cover the first five years or 100,000km of ownership. 

So at a decent $375 per service, this totals an also-decent $3750 for the first ten services.