The Toyota LandCruiser dates back to the days when such vehicles were called wagons –
none of this sports utility vehicle nonsense. Unfortunately, they behaved as though they, at
worst, had wooden wheels with iron rims; at best, solid rubber tyres.
One such ‘wagon’ was the LandCruiser, which made Aussie landfall in the 1950s on the
Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. It has not looked back.
The latest LandCruiser 300 came to market two years ago, with Toyota at pains to supply
the vehicle with a stack of the latest automotive technology without lessening the iconic
legacy the ‘300’ had attained.
This involved the inclusion of a new 3.3-litre V6 twin turbo diesel engine and advanced
driver assistance technology underpinned by the maker’s new global architecture platform
to provide quality on-road performance, plus off-road capability.
On the other hand, design engineers touched the exterior lightly, bearing in mind potential
buyers’ loyalty to the traditional character of the large LandCruiser. Joining the show were
two new flagship variants, the luxury Sahara ZX and the highly specced off-road GR Sport,
joining the existing GX, GXL, VX and Sahara.
Big ticket items all round, the entry-level GX sells for $89,990, plus on road costs, then
follows five models ending up with the flagship Sahara ZX at $138,790. Under test, taking
in a week of town-and-country driving, carting varying loads, was the mid-range Sahara at
Covered by the maker’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, for the first time, the
Toyota Service Advantage has been extended from three years / 60,000 kilometres to five
years / 100,000 kilometres, providing customers with capped-price servicing for their first
ten services at a cost of $375 each.
Intervals are every six months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. Also, owners are able
to extend the warranty on the engine and driveline to seven years by sticking to this
As mentioned above, while the exterior design is new, it does bear a resemblance to its
predecessors in its squared-off all-round shape. Further homage is paid to heritage in a
wide, horizontal grille, flanked by slimline headlights, set higher to avoid damage in the
Off-road ability is also improved with the rear bumper curving more steeply upwards for
an increased departure angle, while the rear lights, arranged horizontally, integrate into
the new aluminium rear hatch in a tapered rear, aiding aerodynamics.
The GXL features an 18-inch alloy six-spoke wheel with the Sahara adding a polished
‘super chrome metallic’ finish. An array of improvements to noise, vibration and
harshness ensures the 300 Series is the quietest and most comfortable LandCruiser
In line with its flagship status, the cabin has been designed to wrap occupants in
premium comfort, while having easy access to the latest multimedia technology.
Driver and front row are cosseted in seats, with bigger side bolsters, wide enough to
accommodate the broad backs often part of the make-up of the typical LandCruiser owner.
The second row seats come in a 40:20:40 set-up and feature a reclining function as well
as 92 mm of extra legroom. They can be folded and tumbled forward to create a flat
cargo space in the rear and give access to two dickie seats at the back. Comfort here is
limited to folk of smaller stature and then only on short journeys.
These two rear seats are brought into operation automatically by pressing a button in the
wall of the cargo space under which is lodged a full-size spare wheel. Seven-seat
operation provides 1004 litres of cargo capacity and seating for five, with up to 1967
litres with both rear rows folded. Head room is generous, despite moon roof workings, in
Storage includes a dual-opening centre console cool box, centre storage tray / box,
overhead sunglasses holder, glovebox and a range of door bins and cup holders
capable of holding 750 ml bottles.
Info and entertainment come big in the LandCruiser 300 Sahara with the latest
generation multimedia system, including a 12.3-inch electronic multi-vision touchscreen
– the largest on any Toyota vehicle – plus standard fitment of the rear seat
entertainment system, consisting of a pair of 11.6-inch high-definition touchscreen
displays, which are also capable of smartphone mirroring.
The multimedia system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and
features Bluetooth connectivity, AM / FM / DAB+ radio and voice recognition. The
system adds satellite navigation and a CD / DVD player and Qi wireless phone
Two USB terminals and a 12V socket offer further charging options. Superb sound is
delivered through a JBL 14-speaker system and a full-colour head-up display.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
At the heart of the latest LandCruiser 300 is a newly developed 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo
diesel engine, delivering better performance with improved fuel economy and
emissions. Tuned to produce 227 kW at 4000 rpm and 700 Nm over a wide 1600 to
2600 rpm band, this adds up to an improvement of 13.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent,
respectively, over the previous V8.
Teamed with this motor, the new 10-speed automatic shifts twice as fast as the previous
six-speed auto, and the additional ratios make a significant contribution to improved fuel
economy. Three drive modes are offered as standard – Eco, Normal and Sport – that
adjust the throttle, transmission and steering parameters to suit the driving experience
The LandCruiser 300 Series sees a vast expansion of the Toyota Safety Sense suite of
driver assistance, combining radar and camera sensor technology. For example, the
long list of features starts with the pre-collision safety system, which now detects
vehicles ahead and pedestrians day and night, as well as oncoming vehicles and
cyclists during the day.
PCS now also includes intersection turn assist, and emergency steering assist on VX
and above, for the first time on LandCruiser.
Other active safety features include lane trace assist and parking support brake, lane
departure alert, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitor, and automatic high beam.
The first mountain to tackle, as it were, was access to the LandCruiser 300 Sahara
passenger cabin. Judicious positioning of grab handles all round and side steps aided the
ascent to all three rows of seats.
The big wagon buzzed off from rest on cue, courtesy of firm press of the accelerator pedal,
mostly. There were times when turbo contact was a little tardy. However, once up to speed
things went along smoothly, the ten-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive
transposing power to the road according to the driver’s instructions.
Toyota tells us the latest LandCruiser 300 consumes 8.9 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres
on the combined urban / highway cycle. Closest the test car achieved was 9.5 litres per
100 kilometres over a week of driving in varied conditions on bitumen.
As for ride, the Cruiser tended to rock ‘n’ roll over uneven surfaces at speed, while
handling was surprising agile for a vehicle of its bulk. There was even temptation to throw
the big beast into fast bends. Quite exhilarating, really.
In all the excitement, body temperatures were kept under control by a four-zone
automatic climate-control system, with front and rear temperature sensors. An automatic
rear cooler had its own controls, with fans throughout the cabin ensuring plentiful airflow
reached occupants, regardless of where they were sitting.
The legend that is the LandCruiser 300 shows no sign of coming to an end any time soon.
However, with fossil-fuelled vehicles facing a doomed future it remains to be seen how
long this Cruiser can stay afloat.
AT A GLANCE
LandCruiser 300 GX $89,990
LandCruiser 300 GXL $101,790
LandCruiser 300 VX $113,990
LandCruiser 300 Sahara $131,190
LandCruiser 300 GR Sport $137,790
LandCruiser 300 Sahara ZX $138,790
Premium paints $675
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota LandCruiser 300 Sahara 3.3L V6 twin turbo-diesel, 10sp
automatic, AWD SUV)
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 227 kW @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 700 Nm @ 1600-2600 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.9 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 235g/km
DRIVELINE: Ten-speed torque converter automatic, all-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4980 mm
Wheelbase: 2850 mm
Width: 1980 mm
Height: 1950 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 2630 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 110 litres (80L, main: 30L, sub)
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres