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Toyota Land Cruiser


BMW X6

Summary

Toyota Land Cruiser

If you’re a fan of the Toyota LandCruiser – and, let's face it, who isn't? – then you’re probably really enjoying the exciting time right now in its long and illustrious history.

A tweaked 200 Series is expected here soon-ish, and the 300 Series is also expected here in the not-too-distant future. Problem is, anyone who wants a 300 will have to choose between smaller-engine options – a V6 diesel, V6 petrol or petrol/hybrid – and will have to cop an even bigger price-tag all-round than the current 200 line-up.

So, is the current 200 Series a LandCruiser enthusiast’s last chance to own a new V8-powered upper large 4WD wagon that’s capable of handling family and work-life, but also be more than capable of taking your family into remote areas in comfort and style?

We tested a top-of-the-range Sahara on- and off-road. Read on.

Safety rating
Engine Type4.6L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency13.4L/100km
Seating7 seats

BMW X6

The BMW X6 has long been the ugly duckling of the Bavarian brand’s SUV family, often cited as the genesis of the swoopy, coupe crossover trend.

But look back at its 12-year history, and it's clear that the X6 has resonated with buyers around the world with more than 400,000 units produced.

Now in its third-generation form, the X6 has shed the awkward and even sometimes dorky image of its progenitor and evolved into a much more mature and confident model.

Crowing the new line-up, however, is the flagship M Competition grade that shoehorns a sporty V8 petrol engine to match the bulky and brawny exterior.

Is this a recipe for success, or should BMW go back to the drawing board?

Safety rating
Engine Type4.4L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency12.5L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Toyota Land Cruiser7.1/10

The LandCruiser 200 Series Sahara is one of the best upper large premium 4WD wagons on the market.

It’s capable and comfortable, with plenty of standard features – some of them handy, some of them not – but the interior feels dated and less than premium, that multimedia system just isn't up to scratch and the price tag just feels too high for what you get.

But none of that will sway any die-hard Cruiser-loving adventurer, who wants a big comfortable and capable 4WD for family life, off-road adventures, or to tow a caravan or boat.

And who can blame them? Afterall, it’s hard to ignore the long-term appeal of a 200 Series.


BMW X68.1/10

SUVs are so hot right now, and BMW’s X6 M Competition is the hottest high-riding coupe you can get until its German rivals bring in their high-powered equivalents.

In a lot of ways, the X6 M Competition is one of the most BMW-iest models available today; it's covered head to toe in luxurious features, its performance puts most sports cars to shame and it oozes a don’t-care-what-you-think swagger.

What more could you want from a modern BMW? Maybe high safety standards and a practical interior space? The X6 M Competition has those too.

Sure, you could go for the slightly cheaper and more conventionally styled X5 M Competition, but if you are spending more than $200,000 on a performance SUV, don’t you want to stand out from the crowd? And stand out the X6 M Competition certainly does.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

Design

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

The LandCruiser’s appearance hasn’t changed much in years. This variant does have Sahara-specific branding on the rear horizontal-split door, but otherwise, it remains wholeheartedly 200 Series: a big chunky, distinctively imposing 4WD wagon.

The 200 Series is 4990mm long (with a 2850mm wheelbase), 1980mm wide and 1970mm high. 

The Sahara has three rows of seats; two in the front, three in the second row, and two in the third row, for a total of seven seats. The base-spec GX has five seats in total; the GXL has eight; the VX also has seven.


BMW X68/10

The X6 has long been a love-it-or-hate-it model for BMW, and in it’s latest third-generation form, the styling is as polarising as ever.

Maybe it’s the fact that more coupe-like SUVs have hit the market since the original X6's debut, or that we’ve had time to get used to the idea, but the latest X6 looks … good?

OK, we’re as surprised as anyone, but, especially in this top-spec M Competition form, the athletic proportions, heavily sloped roofline and chunky bodywork don’t look all that awkward or unattractive.

What also helps set the X6 M Competition apart, is its sports body kit, fender vents, aerodynamically optimised side mirrors, arch-filling wheels and black highlights befitting the performance-honed flagship variant.

It certainly stands out from the usual SUV crowd and, with a volcano of an engine tucked underneath the sculpted bonnet, the X6 M Competition is not a case of all show and no go.

You could argue that the X6 M Competition’s exterior styling is a bit ostentatious and over the top, but what would you expect a large, luxury, performance SUV to look like?

Step inside the cabin and the interior balances the sporty and luxury elements almost perfectly.

The front sports seats are clad in soft Marino leather with hexagonal quilting, carbon-fibre detailing is peppered throughout the dashboard and centre console, and small touches, such as the red start button and M toggles, elevate the X6 M competition from its more standard siblings.

Practicality

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

The Sahara is a seven-seater divided in three rows – two at the front, three and two at the rear – as does the second-from-top spec, the VX. The base-spec 200 Series, the GX, has five seats; the next spec up, the GXL, has eight.

It has a listed kerb weight of 2740kg, as do all the other 200s, except the GX, which is 2640kg.

The 200 Series is a big unit on the outside, but has quite a small interior. It is a bit of a premium space though with leather inserts on seats and around the cabin, woodgrain highlights on the steering wheel and dash, plus chrome-look finishings throughout. 

With all three rows in use, there’s not a lot of space at all. Toyota does not have an official figure for cargo capacity of the rear area, but it’s plain to see that there isn’t much room. We packed a first-aid kit and a portable air-compressor and there wasn’t much room left over. You could probably fit a few other bits and pieces, but not much. There are cargo hooks and a 220V power socket. 

When the third row (side folding, 50/50 split seat backs) is stowed away, the cargo capacity is officially listed as 1276 litres, but the reality is those seats protrude into the cargo area, taking up a lot of useful space.

No cargo capacity figure is officially listed for when the second- and third-row seats are stowed away.

Getting into the third row is not difficult as the door opens wide and there is a side step on the Sahara to aid your ingress, but once you’re in the third row, space is a bit pinched and the seats are rather flat and not really that supportive. It’s comfortable enough and really a kids-only zone, but that’s not a newsflash for a third-row. Bonus: you can watch the second-row 11.6-inch DVD screens, one each on the driver and front passenger head-rest.

There are plenty of storage spaces back there: two cup-holders on each side, stash-away spots for bits and pieces, cup holders in the middle, directional air vents, and lights. 

Passengers in the second-row (40/20/40 split folding feat backs) have access to a lot of controls: air con, seat-warming (outer seats), and DVD remote (hidden in the fold-down centre arm-rest, which also has cup-holders and a shallow grippy tray for the DVD remote or a smartphone). There are also directional air vents, lights and storage spaces in the form of hard-plastic door spaces and mesh pockets on the back of the driver and front-passenger seats.

As mentioned, the DVD screens are on the driver and front passenger head-rests.

The seats here are, as expected, more comfortable than the third row with plenty of support.

Upfront, it seems like a bit more of a premium space, and it’s all well laid-out and easy to navigate – to quickly establish which controls are where – but the dash and centre console is all starting to look and feel a bit dated. Especially when the Sahara carries such a hefty price tag.

That 9.0-inch multimedia touchscreen doesn't help either, because it's a bit clunky to use, with its mix of controls, on-screen and dials.

There are a fair few storage spaces though: glove box, door pockets, the cool box (in between driver and front passenger), and cup holders (with a flip-top lid). There is also a wireless smartphone-charging tray.

There are USB charge points upfront, as well as a 12V power socket.

The Sahara also has a moonroof if your passengers want to look at the sky, night or day, while you’re on the move.

Overall, it’s a well put-together cabin, build quality is very impressive and there’s nothing terribly wrong with the interior, but it just doesn't feel like such a prestige space, worthy of a $125,000 price-tag. It feels old, so a facelift – or better still a 300 Series – can’t arrive soon enough.


BMW X68/10

Measuring 4941mm long, 2019mm wide, 1692mm tall and with a 2972mm wheelbase, the X6 M Competition offers plenty of interior space occupants.

There is front-seat space aplenty for passengers, despite sports seats that hug and support in all the right places, while the rear seats are also surprisingly functional.

Even with my six-foot-tall frame positioned behind the driver’s seat set for my height, I still comfortably fit and had enough leg- and shoulder-room.

The sloping roofline however, doesn’t help the headroom situation with my head just grazing the Alcantara headliner.

It’s a different story for the middle seat though, which will only fit children due to the raised floor and seating positioning.

All in all, I'm actually surprised at how usable the rear-seat room is in the X6 M Competition – it's definitely more practical than the stylish exterior would suggest.

Storage options abound throughout the cabin as well, with a huge storage bin found in each door that is easily able to accommodate large drink bottles.

The central storage bin is also deep and cavernous, but it can be a bit difficult to retrieve your phone from the wireless phone charger there as it's tucked away under the shutter.

The 580-litre boot can expand to 1539L with the rear seats folded.

While that figure doesn’t quite match the 650L/1870L figure of its X5 twin, it's still more than enough space to take care of the weekly shopping and family stroller.

Price and features

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

The seven-seat top-shelf* Sahara, as tested, costs $124,996 ($124,396 plus $600 premium paint), plus on-road costs. [* The limited-edition Sahara Horizon costs more, at $129,090 (plus on-road costs), but there are only 400 of those, so I’m not counting those in the mainstream line-up.]

It has a 4.5-litre V8 twin turbo-diesel engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, full-time four-wheel drive with dual-range gearing, a limited-slip centre differential and a stack of driver-assist tech including Toyota Safety Sense (which incorporates Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection (like Autonomous Emergency Braking – AEB), High Speed Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam), as well as blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, a multi-terrain system (with various drive modes to suit different terrain), a multi-terrain monitor, crawl control (low-speed off-road cruise control), hill descent control and more. 

As befitting a top-spec vehicle, the Sahara has quite an extensive features list including a 9.0-inch touchscreen multimedia system with sat-nav, a wireless smartphone charger, a cool box between the front seats, woodgrain-look steering wheel and throughout the cabin, ventilated front seats, heated front and second-row seats, driver’s seat memory settings, four-zone climate-control air-conditioning, 11.6-inch entertainment screens for rear passengers, a nine-speaker audio system, and a moonroof.

It has daytime running lights, a horizontal-split tailgate, side steps, and 18-inch alloy wheels.


BMW X68/10

The BMW X6 Competition wears a $213,900 before on-road costs pricetag, just $4000 more expensive than its more conventionally styled X5 twin.

While a $200,000-plus pricetag is certainly not chump change, things start to look a bit better when stacking up the X6 M Competition against other models that share the same engine and platform.

Take the M5 Competition for example, a large sedan that costs $234,900, but shares much of the same running gear as the X6.

Also, consider that the X6 is an SUV, making it more appealing to those looking for a higher ride height and more practical storage options.

As standard, the X6 M Compettition is fitted with four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, automatic tailgate, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, Harman Kardon sound system, panoramic glass sunroof, adjustable exhaust, keyless entry and push-button start.

For the instrument panel, BMW has fitted its 12.3-inch screen, while the multimedia system is a 12.3-inch touchscreen unit with support for Apple CarPlay, gesture controls, digital radio and wireless smartphone charging.

However, it’s the attention to detail that we appreciate in a luxury SUV like this.

Take, for example, the spare tyre, which is stored under the floor of the boot. In any other car where this happens, you would just have to lift up the floor and then struggle to take the tyre out as you fight to prop up the floor. Not in the X6 – the floor panel has a gas strut to keep it from dropping when it's lifted. Clever!

The front cupholders are also fitted with heating and cooling functionality, both of which have two settings.

Befitting an M model, the X6 M Competition also scores an active differential, sports exhaust, adaptive suspension, uprated brakes to go with its potent engine.

Of note, there is no cooling option for the seats and the steering wheel misses out on a heating element.

However, the metallic paintwork and carbon-fibre interior flourishes as seen on our test car are no-cost options.

Engine & trans

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

The 200 Series has a 4.5-litre V8 twin turbo diesel engine – producing 200kW@3600rpm and 650Nm@1600-2600rpm. That power figure is not whopping, but the engine is very torquey, with plenty of that on tap at lower revs, and the six-speed auto is a clever smooth-shifter. 

On different tests, I’ve towed camper-trailers and an almost three tonne caravan with a 200 Series, and have been happy with its ability to tow safely and comfortably.

It has full-time 4WD and a limited-slip centre diff, as well as a whole bunch of driver-assist trickery, which I’ll detail later in this yarn. (Head straight down to ‘What's it like to drive?’ Right now if you’re too impatient.)


BMW X69/10

The X6 M Competition is powered by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 engine, outputting 460kW/750Nm, which is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Drive is sent to the road via a rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which enables a zero-to-100km/h acceleration time of 3.8 seconds. The X6 tips the scales at 2295kg, so this level of acceleration almost defies the laws of physics.

The engine is shared with the X5 M Competition, M5 Competition and M8 Competition.

The X6 M Competition also outpowers its Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe rival by 30kW, though the Affalaterbach SUV produces 10Nm more torque.

However, it is important to note that the current Mercedes uses the older 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, and is due to be replaced with a new GLE 63 S model that switches to AMG’s ubiquitous 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 for 450kW/850Nm.

Audi’s RS Q8 is also incoming later this year, and packs a 441kW/800Nm punch thanks to a 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8.

Fuel consumption

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

Fuel consumption is listed as 9.5L/100km (combined). 

I recorded an actual fuel consumption of 12.8L/100km on this test, but I did do a lot of low-range 4WDing.

The 200 Series has a 93-litre main fuel tank and a 45-litre sub tank – that’s a total of 138 litres.


BMW X67/10

Official fuel consumption figures in the X6 M Competition are pegged at 12.5 litres per 100km, however, we managed 14.6L/100km in a morning drive covering almost 200km.

No doubt the hefty weight and big petrol V8 engine contribute to the higher fuel bill, but the start/stop engine technology helps keep the figure down.

Driving

Toyota Land Cruiser8/10

As mentioned, the Sahara is 2740kg, but it generally never feels like it’s so big and heavy.

Steering is reach-and-rake power-adjustable and it’s pretty sharp and, despite its bulk, the 200 is easy to manoeuvre in city and suburban settings, although it does feel its size every now and again. Turning circle is 11.8m and, on squeezy city streets, quick turnarounds can become a bit of a challenge.

But the 200 Series turbo diesel V8 is a simple, powerful and effective engine and it works supremely well with that six-speed auto. 

Acceleration is particularly smooth, making for easy off-the-mark blasts from a standstill and also overtaking moves on the highway, but you can’t be shy with the go-pedal.

The coil-spring suspension yields a spongy, comfortable ride but the 200 Series never feels like its prone to wallowing as much as you might imagine.

All-round, it’s very comfortable as a daily driver, if not entirely practical in terms of cargo space, for its size, and for its price.

Gravel and dirt tracks provided ample opportunities for us to again experience how settled and composed the 200 Series is at speed, on irregular surfaces. 

The 200 Series suspension set-up – independent front, live-axle rear and coil springs all-around – helps the Cruiser to sit really nicely on the road. It's not even thrown off its game by deeper potholes or sharper corrugations.

The Sahara and VX also have KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System), which acts like a swaybar: on-road its aim is to improve handling and to reduce body roll; off-road, the system performs like a swaybar disconnect in that it adjusts to suit the terrain to maximise articulation and stability. (Note: KDSS is not on base-spec GX variants and is an option on the GXL.)

When it comes time for low-speed, low-range 4WDing, the 200 can feel big and bulky, so it does always require considered driving. 

There’s plenty of visibility out of the 200’s windscreen, but the bonnet is quite large and does at times obscure your forward vision, but it's not a deal breaker, and if you’ve spent any time in a 200 Series – or any large 4WD wagon for that matter – it likely won't annoy you too much.

Steering remains light and responsive at lower speeds, and that's important for such a big almost three-ton beast on tight bush tracks and bush routes that twist and turn. 

The 200’s torquey V8 engine, which works really well with the auto off-road as well as on on-road, offers up plenty of that torque at low revs and you can always rely on it. 

Low-range gearing is good and the 200 also has a limited slip centre differential if you get the urge to hit that button as well. 

Wheel travel is pretty decent, but with that KDSS, which acts like a mechanical swaybar disconnect off-road, the Sahara gets even more flex, more wheel travel, to help you get a wheel to the dirt and keep moving.

As well as reliable low-range gearing, good wheel travel and all-around suitability for 4WDing, the Sahara can also tap into a stack of driver-assist tech, including the multi terrain select*, which gives you the capability to dial through five different terrain modes – Mud & Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock & Dirt, and Rock – and that tweaks, among other things, the traction control system to suit the terrain you're on. (The VX also has multi terrain select, but the GX and GXL do not.)

Crawl Control, which regulates your speed at very low speeds via engine power and brake input to each wheel, gives you the ability to select a different low-speed setting to suit the conditions and terrain. This system incorporates turn-assist, which is handy when you need to make a very tight turn while 4WDing, as it applies brakes to your inside rear wheel at low speeds to help reduce your turning circle.

Visibility is good all around, as there’s plenty of glass at the front, rear and to the sides but, as stated earlier, that large bonnet can obscure your forward vision, especially when you’re cresting hills. If you’re finding your vision is hampered, then you can always make use of the multi terrain monitor – standard also in the VX and Sahara, but not available in the other variants.This system is a four-camera set-up designed to offer you views at the front, back, and down the sides, but I wouldn't rely on it. The lenses easily become dirty, as they did on our stint, and it only provides quite a basic, distorted view. Instead of relying on these cameras, the driver should get out, walk the track to see where you're going to drive or, at the very least, stick your head out the window to make sure you can see where you’re going, just to be on the safe side.

Engine braking is good, as is the hill descent control, although on some of the very slippery muddy hills we tackled, the 200 tended to run away a bit on the downhill runs.

The Cruiser has 225mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 700mm, so we had no problems driving through deeper wheel ruts and mud-holes.

An easily-fixed weakness in the 200’s off-road armoury are its standard-issue Dunlop Grandtrek AT25s (285/60R18), which are not aggressive enough for anything more than light off-roading, I reckon. So get rid of those if you plan any four-wheel driving and replace with a set of decent all-terrains. That standard rubber’s on 18-inch alloy wheels. (GX and GXL variants get 17-inch wheels and tyres.)

The 200 Series has a full-sized spare tyre.

It has a 750kg unbraked towing capacity and 3500g braked towing capacity. 


BMW X69/10

With such a large footprint, you just don’t expect the X6 M Competition to drive as well as it does, but it’s great to have your expectations checked every now and again.

The seating position is spot-on thanks to heaps of adjustability in the driver’s chair and the steering wheel, while visibility (even out the small rear window) is excellent.

All the controls fall easily in hand, and if you just left the X6 to its own devices, the sporty elements almost fade away into the background.

Dive into the drive settings, however, and you will notice Sport and Sport Plus options for the engine and chassis, while the steering, brake and M xDrive settings can also be dialled up a notch.

There isn’t a ‘set-and-forget’ drive mode switch though, as each of the aforementioned elements can be adjusted individually to dial in the exact response you want from the car.

Even the transmission has its own independent setting, with shifts in manual or automatic mode able to be tweaked to three levels of intensity each, while the exhaust also has an option for loud or less loud.

We love the flexibility this affords, and opens up the possibility of having the engine on full attack mode while the suspension and transmission are on the comfort settings, but it does require some time sitting in the driver’s seat and tweaking this and that to get things right.

Once you work it out though, you can store these settings in M1 or M2 modes, which can be switched on with the push of a button on the steering wheel.

With everything switched to the sportiest options, the X6 M Competition is much more akin to a rapid hot hatch attacking corners and devouring the open road than its high-riding SUV body style would suggest.

Credit where it’s due, BMW’s M boffins know a thing or two about building a big barnstorming bruiser.

Fitted with gigantic 315/30 rear and 295/35 front Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, the X6 M Competition benefits from superglue-like levels of grip in most situations, but a stab of throttle can still overwhelm the rear axle mid-corner.

Pulling up is a non-issue in the two-tonne-plus SUV, thanks to M Compound Brakes with six-piston fronts grabbing 395mm discs, and single-piston rears biting 380mm discs.

When you're not putting the boot in, the X6 M Competition also doubles as a convincing luxury runabout, but even in the chassis’ most comfort-orientated setting, road imperfections and high-speed bumps transmit directly through to the occupants.

Safety

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

The 200 Series has a five-star ANCAP rating (from testing conducted in 2011), 10 airbags and plenty of driver-assist tech, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, multi terrain monitor, front and rear parking sensors and more. 


BMW X69/10

The BMW X6 has not been tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP and does not have a crash rating.

However, the mechanically related X5 large SUV scored a maximum five stars when tested in 2018, notching 89 and 87 per cent for the adult- and child-occupant protection tests respectively.

Safety equipment fitted to the X6 M Competition includes a surround-view monitor, tyre pressure and temperature monitor, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, reversion camera, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and built-in dash cam.

In terms of safety gear, there really isn’t much left on the table for the X6 M Competition to pack in, though it does lose a point for not having a crash-safety rating.

In its favour though is the fact its onboard technology works unobtrusively and the adaptive cruise control is one of the smoothest and easy-to-use systems I've experienced.

Ownership

Toyota Land Cruiser7/10

As of 1 January 2020, the service pricing for a LC200 Sahara turbo-diesel under Toyota’s capped price servicing is $300 per service for three years/60,000km (up to the first six services). The service interval is every six months/10,000km.

The warranty period for any new vehicle bought after 1 January 2019 is a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty that covers any part, panel and accessory made by Toyota. In addition to this, Toyota will extend your engine and driveline warranty from five to seven years if the annual service schedule is adhered to.


BMW X67/10

Like all new BMWs, the X6 M Competition comes with a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, with three years roadside assist and 12 years of anti-corrosion assurance.

Scheduled service intervals are pegged at every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first.

BMW offers two five-year/80,000km service plans with the X6 M Competition, a basic option for $4134 and a Plus for $11,188, with the later including the replacement of brake pads, clutch and wiper blades.

Though pricey to maintain, it’s not unexpected for a vehicle at this price point.

What we like to see though, is BMW match Mercedes’ pledge for a five-year warranty across its range, including high-performance AMG models.