Fleet News

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota

Review

Everything about the Land Cruiser is big and brawny. This is not a car built with elegance in mind.

So the 3.0-litre D-4D engine fitted to our test vehicle has quite a job shifting the near two-tonne weight around.

With its size and weight, the D-4D unit returns 29.7mpg on the combined cycle, which combined with its 87-litre tank capacity should give the Land Cruiser a range of nearly 600 miles, although CO2 emissions of 253g/km put it in the highest benefit-in-kind tax band.

##LandCruiser2003--none## The LC5 model is the top-of-the-range version, which means all mod-cons including heated leather front seats, front and rear climate control and Toyota's outstanding touch- screen DVD satellite navigation – the best system on the market. The new dashboard continues the theme of the Avensis and the new Lexus RX300, with a sort of chrome goalpost on the centre console, but the interior is not exactly Tate Modern.

Buyers of 4x4s such as the BMW X5 or Volvo XC90 who prefer a cabin straight out of a Habitat catalogue will find the Land Cruiser a utilitarian and clumsy affair with buttons, levers and switches strewn about the place.

Those more concerned with the habitat on the outside – mud, fields and other rough nature – will find the Land Cruiser is pitched just about right. While there are enough creature comforts, it does not make you feel that you should be hoovering it out after every trip.

The driving experience is not for show-offs either. It will cruise without too much bother, although the engine is very noisy, but the appearance of corners serves to illustrate that Toyota actually believes that buyers will use these vehicles off-road.

It rolls a fair bit. That is because the Land Cruiser comes with double wishbones at the front and multi-link coil springs on a live axle at the rear, unlike more car-like systems many of the more lifestyle-orientated SUVs use.

That's not to say that the Toyota is a Luddite's paradise. There is plenty of computer power and technological trickery on the LC5 version, such as active traction control (A-TRC), vehicle stability control (VSC), hill-start assist control (HAC), downhill assist control (DAC), and Toyota Electronically Modulated Suspension (TEMS).

This raises and lowers the rear suspension and has four settings for the dampers so you can adjust levels of the level of ride comfort and body control. It's a personal thing, but I found the firmest setting was the best for on-road driving. It is not too stiff to be uncomfortable and stops the car feeling too floaty over long undulations.

For off-road use, there is permanent four-wheel drive with a low-ratio transfer box. Over the years the Land Cruiser has become the machine of choice for those in the know and there is no reason why that should not be the case with this vehicle.

This reflects in the residual value of the car, with CAP estimating it will retain 40% of its cost new after three years/ 60,000 miles. The more lifestyle-conscious SUVs mentioned earlier are predicted about nine percentage points higher, but 40% is still pretty healthy and puts it about level with a Land Rover Discovery.

At £35,100 on-the-road you get a big meaty off-roader with plenty of kit, as well as bomb-proof reliability, and for those whose big appetite extends to their cars, the Land Cruiser is a great tool.

Model: Toyota Land Cruiser LC5 3.0 D-4D
Engine (cc): 2,982
Power (bhp/rpm): 161/3,400
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 343/1,600
Max speed (mph): 103
0-62mph (sec): 12.7
Combined economy (mpg): 29.7
CO2 emissions (g/km): 253
Fuel tank capacity (l): 87
Transmission: 5-sp man
Price (OTR): £35,100

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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