A range of four wheel drives, the Land Cruiser is the longest running series manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation. The production of its first generation formally started in 1951 when it came as Toyota’s version of a Jeep like vehicle. Through the years, Land Cruiser has come in forms of station wagons, convertibles, hardtops and utility trucks. Its reliability and endurance made it popular particularly in South Sedan and Australia. This Toyota SUV competes against Land Rover Discovery, Mitsubishi Prado, Audi Q7 and Nissan Patrol.
The earliest models of Land Cruiser actually date back to 1940s when Japanese military authorities asked Toyota to make a vehicle similar to, but not exactly like the American Jeep. Since then Land Cruiser trims have been a part of Toyota’s line up and its 200 Series (LC 200) went into production in September 2007. The SUV was launched in India with its 4461 cc V8 diesel engine that churns 285 bhp and has 66 kgm of torque. It is mated to 6 speed automatic transmission.
Most SUVs have a commanding road presence with their hefty and invincible profile. But the LC 200 is truly huge and it is taller, if not wider than Land Rover Range Rover. This car also sports a special air of indestructibility and at its launch Toyota has claimed that the Land Cruiser ‘never breaks down’. While this may sound too overstated but the SUV’s reputation for dependability is substantiated by the fact that it is commonly used in most inhospitable terrains around the globe and also in war zones.
The facelifted model of LC 200 was unveiled at Auto Expo 2012 – it came with subtle design tweaks and more equipment but the mechanicals remained unchanged. With four horizontal slats and the Toyota logo in between, the chrome framed front grille looks solid and establishes the regal presence of Land Cruiser. Its edges meet the elongated headlamps that have LED daytime running lights for added flair. New round fog lamps have replaced the rectangular ones that were seen on the pre facelift model.
Toyota’s SUV has XXL dimensions and even the 285/60R 18 tyres look puny against its size. The design is not aesthetic but with a square jawed front look and blocky silhouette the strong profile of this car is visibly accentuated. At the rear, tailgate has split opening and the word Land Cruiser is engraved in bold on the license plate garnish. There is a running board that makes climbing into the rear part of the cabin simpler.
Cabin design has not changed heavily for the facelifted LC 200. The view from high set driving position is commanding and the interiors are refined, luxurious. Quality of materials is top-notch and there is a set of tech rich equipment. The premium entertainment system comes with EMV screen that features a DVD, CD and MP3 player. USB port, Aux input and Bluetooth connectivity are standard. Thanks to a four zone climate control, the driver and passengers can enjoy pleasantly cooled zones around their individual seats. The seats on front and second row are heated for more comfort. There is ample legroom for third row seat occupants but thigh support out there is limited. This row fold sideways and eats into some luggage space but the capacity of boot is an admirable 1267 litres.
A powered moonroof gives feel of more roominess in the cabin. Even minor creature comforts have been taken care of. For instance the vanity mirrors are illuminated, there is an overhead console besides large door pockets and cup holders, and a cooler box keeps your beverages chilled irrespective of the soaring temperatures outside.
Electric modulated suspension controls the damping pressure of shock absorbers to offer stable body position and cushy ride. The permanent 4WD system has been devised to optimise front/rear torque distribution irrespective of the kind of terrain the SUV is being driven on. For safety, LC 200 is equipped with adaptive traction control, multi terrain ABS with EBD, crawl control system, back guide + multi-terrain monitor and hill start assist. It has ten optimally positioned SRS airbags that protect driver and passengers from serious injury in case of a collision.
You can choose between ten vibrant body colours that include both metallic and solid shades. Seat upholstery and wooden trims can also be configured as per individual preferences.
Land Cruiser LC 200 costs Rs 1.13 crore (ex showroom price Delhi) and with its massive build this SUV loves to guzzle fuel. The FE range is only 5.2 to 8.5 km/litre so you should be prepared to shell out more at refuelling stations.
Toyota Land Cruiser was named the ‘Highest Retained Value’ by IntelliChoice in 2014. It has the Best Resale Value of all brands in 2014 as per Kelly Blue Book’s KBB.com. The car across its generations has won several accolades in Australia and Europe.
Land Cruiser LC 200 VX comes to India via CBU route. With regards to handling it is not as sharp as some of its rivals but spacious interiors, off roading strengths and enormous road presence make it an enviable SUV to own.