Toyota Land Cruiser VS Porsche Cayenne
Toyota Land Cruiser
- Driving a living legend
- Tough-truck looks
- Go-anywhere capability
- Driving it on anything that’s not a mountain
- Trying to shut the door
- Contemplating the price
- Mighty engine
- Relative fuel economy
- Buttons everywhere
- Perhaps too quiet
Toyota Land Cruiser
Andrew Chesterton road tests and reviews the new Toyota LC70 LandCruiser GX single cab with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
You take your life into your own hands when you say this, but the 70 Series Toyota LandCruiser isn't perfect. In fact, it isn't perfect in lots of ways.
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But such is the burning passion for this Aussie (well, Japanese) icon that any criticism of it, no matter how fair, is greeted with howls of protests by our bearded brethren of the bush, who will accept nothing less than top marks for the mighty ‘Cruiser.
And it's hard to blame them: if your morning commute includes cresting glorious mountains and powering through standing water deep enough to swallow a hatchback, you'll find few that do it better than the hard-as-nails Toyota.
There's a reason people say the 70 Series LandCruiser powers the Aussie bush, and that's because it's the place where this vehicle feels truly at home. When you're thousands of kilometres from anywhere else, durability and reliability count above all. And this tough Toyota offers that in spades.
But… if you live in the city, can see a city from your house, or have ever visited a city (or seen a photo of one), then the 70 Series LandCruiser will feel a touch agricultural. And by that we mean there are forklifts that offer more creature comforts than this thing.
We spent a week with one of the most utilitarian of the lot - the LC79 GX cab chassis ($64,990) - to see how we'd get along.
|Engine Type||4.5L turbo|
The Porsche Cayenne is a whopper. It's a big, heavy SUV with tons of room for the family and a badge to keep the neighbours talking. It's also got a planet-bending V8 diesel engine and an air-suspended chassis that has to be felt to be believed.
|Engine Type||4.1L turbo|
Toyota Land Cruiser6.5/10
It’s loud, rough and so overtly masculine you can feel the hairs growing on your chest as you drive it. And while we couldn’t live with it day-to-day, we applaud the fact it exists.
Tell us your best LC70 LandCruiser story in the comments below.
Porsche's push into the mainstream with Cayenne to take on compatriots Mercedes, BMW and Audi has been hugely successful and the Cayenne was the car that started it all. It's priced well (a BMW X5 M50d is $4000 more), has plenty of equipment and a stack of space but is also mighty handy in the bendy stuff.
It may not be a jacked-up 911 but it's certainly a Porsche. Seven out of ten Porsche customers think so too.
Toyota Land Cruiser6/10
Function over form is the order of the day here. Everything that exists on the exterior of the LC79 is there for a reason, from its chunky and thick tyres, the monstrous plastic snorkel or the chicken wire-style mesh that protects the back windscreen like that honky-tonk bar from The Blues Brothers (Bob's Country Bunker - Ed).
There's an undeniable retro-cool to the look (mostly because it is retro, and has barely changed over the years), mixed with a kind of overt masculinity thanks to its bulbous bonnet scoop and a huge bumper bar that juts forth from the grille like Jay Leno's chin.
Inside, it's clean and functional. Expect no touchscreen here. Nor a digitalised driver's binnacle, reversing camera or electric anything. When you leave the car, for example, you need to push down the door-lock button and then hold the door handle up as you slam the door. The last time I remember doing that I think I had a beeper attached to my belt.
Everywhere you turn there are reminders that this car was born in an era when tough mattered. Even shutting the door requires a monstrous effort, with anything but the most brutal of force resulting in a warning light on the dash that serves as a blinking reminder you lack the physical strength to manhandle this car. Needless to say, we saw that light quite a lot.
There's no getting away from it, the Cayenne looks like a big car because it is. With big wheels and a big gaping grille, the Cayenne has street presence few cars can match. It still not the looker one would expect of the Porsche, but this second-generation version is much better resolved than the earlier cars and is less bloated looking.
Inside is very Porsche, and that includes Stuttgart's very unfortunate obsession with a button for everything. If you think the Macan has lots of buttons, the Cayenne matches the price differential by supplying even more buttons for your buck. This sort of thing makes car journalists squeal because when you've only got a week to learn what they all do, it's a race against time that's difficult to win. Standing back and thinking about it, most owners will be perfectly happy after a week or two.
As for the rest of the interior, it's a lovely place to be. Our brown interior with extra brown overlaid with mahogany (brown) may not be to everyone's taste, but it was certainly luxurious. Everyone gets a comfortable seat and plenty of room in which to enjoy it.
With the added light from the panoramic glass, it's an extremely agreeable cabin, with a great view out. The high console in the front makes you feel like you're sitting low in the chassis (you're not) and the whopping big Porsche steering wheel leaves you in no doubt you're in Porsche.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
Is your view of practicality being able to drive up practically anything? Then Toyota's got good news for you. Better still, the LC79 GX has a claimed payload of 1235kg and a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes - both of which are impressive numbers.
Inside, the basic two-seat layout offers a single cupholder to share between passengers, but a storage bin between the seats comes in handy for securing loose items.
Price and features
Toyota Land Cruiser6/10
Cost of entry for the LC79 GX is $64,490 (the same as the LC76 GXL Wagon), which is no picnic no matter how you shake it. And that spend buys you a fairly sparse product.
All creature comforts are cost extra. Air-conditioning, for example, adds $2761 to the bottom line. The tray, tow bar, and trailer wiring harness add another $4305 (but that's the fitted cost), and our test car also got diff locks, which add another $1500. All of which brings the final number to a touch over $73k, before on-road costs.
For that, you get cloth seats, plastic door trims and a scattering of ashtrays. Your radio is Bluetooth-equipped, your windows are manually operated and your plastics are so hard they could be used to cut diamonds.
But all of that is superfluous, really. What you're buying is a tried-and-tested workhorse, and this one has been put through an extra 100,000kms of what Toyota calls "extreme heavy-duty local testing". Toyota toured mine sites and cattle farms across the country, taking in the red dirt of the outback to the rocky escarpments of alpine country to the towering sand dunes of the northern NSW, feeding that information back to Japan while the LC79 was being developed.
The Cayenne Diesel S kicks off at a startlingly reasonable (hey, it's all relative) $144,800. Perhaps against type, there's a lot of stuff packed into the Cayenne and you could cheerfully go without ticking a single box on the breathtakingly long options list.
The standard car carries a 14-speaker stereo, 20-inch alloys, power everything including steering column, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera, keyless entry, electronic dampers, hill descent control, cruise control, cooled glovebox, satnav, bi-xenon active headlights, auto lights and wipers, partial leather seats, sunroof, air suspension and tyre pressure monitoring.
On top of the standard features, ours had a full leather interior ($7690), Yachting Mahogany Interior ($6590 and is what it sounds like), Yacht Mahogany heated wood steering wheel ($1450, ditto), 21-inch wheels ($5610), soft close doors ($1790), black roof rails ($1390), panoramic glass roof ($1190), saddle brown seat belts ($1090), compass ($760), Porsche logos on the headrests ($450) and monochrome black exterior package ($450). This made a grand total of $173,300.
A purely subjective opinion: the mahogany you can probably do without, along with the brown seat belts. That's not a comment on the quality, either – in isolation, it's very pretty wood.
Porsche calls its entertainment system "Porsche Communication Management". Nestled between the air-con outlets, Porsche claims that it's a high resolution system, but it is starting to look its age (the second-gen Cayenne launched in 2010). The screen is good enough, though, and responds quickly to the touch. The 14-speaker stereo is a belter, with tons of power and good bass filling the big cabin and the Bluetooth performance is above average.
Engine & trans
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
It's a single-engine offering right across the LC70 range, with a torque-rich 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 paired with a five-speed manual transmission the only combo on offer. The engine generates 151kW at 3400rpm, but a very healthy 430Nm from a low 1,200rpm.
Like the rest of the LC70 range, the LC79 has undergone an engine upgrade in line with Euro5 standards (the very standards that saw the demise of the Land Rover Defender and Nissan Pathfinder), with a diesel particulate filter added and a tweaking of the gear ratios to make second and fifth taller for better fuel economy. Stability and traction control were also included for the first time in October last year.
The Diesel S packs a 4.1-litre V8 twin-turbo diesel producing an impressive 283kW and a mind-boggling 850Nm of torque. This will whisk all 2.2 tonnes plus passengers to 100km/h in 5.4 seconds and a claimed fuel usage of 8.3L/100km on the combined cycle.
You won't be astonished to learn we were using fuel at a higher rate than that, but with mostly city plus a good highway blast, we saw 11.3L/100km. Driving all four wheels is an eight-speed automatic transmission which has the added fuel-saving of stop-start.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
A nightmare on anything even resembling an actual road. The steering is the same soft and spongy experience you'll find in most serious four-wheel drives, while the suspension feels like it sees more travel than your average pilot.
The turning circle, too, is a curiosity, turning even the most rudimentary U-turns into a three-point effort (if you're lucky). Toyota claims the turning circle figure as 14.4 metres, which is considerably longer than the wagon version. The blame is laid at the feet of the cab chassis' longer wheelbase (3180mm versus 2780mm).
But this is a car set up almost entirely for serious off-road work. And we mean serious. Those who tackle nothing harder than the gravel driveway of a Hunter Valley winery need not apply. The floor matts are constructed from hard-wearing (and easy to hose out) plastic, while the gearing is set up with first gear so short is serves almost no purpose on the tarmac.
Get it moving, and there's heaps of torque available for mid-range acceleration, and it's plenty brisk enough for overtaking, but the ride doesn't inspire confidence on the freeway, and we found ourselves travelling at just below the speed limit instead of on it. At 100km/h, though, it buzzes about, even with Toyota's focus on improved NVH this time around.
But all of that is largely irrelevant. If you're buying this car to navigate sealed roads, then there's probably something quite wrong with you. In fact, even if lightweight 4WDing is in your future, this car is overkill. There are plenty of cheaper options (including those from Toyota) that will tackle some pretty serious terrain, but will do it in what will feel like luxurious comfort by comparison.
If you require the battle-hardened services of a retro-styled legend, however, Toyota's 70 Series LandCruiser is the car for you. In fact, with stricter emission programs spelling the end for Nissan's Pathfinder and the Land Rover Defender, it's just about your only option.
Full disclosure: We didn't venture far off road (we saved that for the LC76 GXL Wagon), but with the same basic architecture, the same 4WD set-up (two-speed transfer case with auto-locking front hubs), and the addition of Toyota's off-road focused 'A-TRC' active traction control (which serves as kind of off-road and digital LSD, preventing wheel spin on low-grip surfaces), we're confident it would shine just as brightly.
Obviously, badge, output and heritage promise a great deal, which the Cayenne does its level-best to deliver. It's clearly not meant to be a high-riding 911 and those who are disappointed to read that should probably pop off and study physics for a bit.
For all its heresy, the diesel engine is a cracker, sending the Cayenne off the line with a hearty shove and very little racket. The 850Nm figure means the SUV will mince just about anything in the gears. Not even V12 Ferraris have this kind of torque.
With all-wheel drive and air suspension, the Cayenne corners mostly flat but also rides beautifully. It's an impressively comfortable car in all conditions and with the lazy diesel V8, you can drive it anyway you like.
For the most part, it just needs a toe waved towards the throttle. Get serious, though, and the huge rubber will keep you ripping along all but the tightest of bends. Couple that with a dynamic driving mode that speeds up the shifts, adds sensible weight to the steering and gives you a bit of rear-wheel drive playfulness, the Cayenne is impressively agile.
Toyota Land Cruiser6/10
Part of this latest update saw Toyota upgrade the safety credentials of its LC70 range, and while the wagon variants oddly missed out on some of the changes, the LC79 got the lot.
The entire range now gets traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution as standard kit, while the single-cab models (including the LC79) got new under-dash padding, new seats and seating frames, and new and stronger body panels.
The utes also scored three extra airbags (joining the two front bags), including two curtain bags and a driver's knee airbag. The result was a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, tested against 2016 criteria.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
The LandCruiser LC79 GX is covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty, and will require a visit to a service centre every six months or 10,000 kilometres.
Toyota's capped-price servicing program limits the cost of each service to $340 for each of the first six services.