Friday, November 28, 2008
He is larger than a Hummer. He weighs more than two and a half tonnes and still can conquer any terrain that comes his way. He is kind to the atmosphere (emits less CO2 than petrol model), kind to your wallet (more mileage) and he is called the Toyota Land Cruiser GXLTDV8 costing around AUD 79,990 – 104,990 as supposed to the petrol variant costing around AUD 69,990 – 94,990.
As you unlock it and climb into it, you instantly get a feel of already being on top of the world; as if on a hilltop. As you start it, you only get one hint of its engine. No, it is not the sound. The slight barely felt shake in the seats as if having a massage reveals that it is a diesel engine.
It is quite effortless to drive as it has a super-light steering, strong reliable brakes and commendable acceleration. The only issue one may face in the civilian usage of this vehicle is the size. One may find it hard to park. Sure, for an extra bob, you will get rear-parking sensors. Still, you will feel as insecure as driving a supercar when you enter underground parking spaces. Parallel parking the 5-metre long, 2-metre wide gigantic body does require a lot of concentration. But, for our off-road test driver, it wasn’t much of an issue.
It carries a 93 litre main and 45-litre secondary fuel tank totalling to a 138-litre fuel tank capacity. Apart from this, it also renders a decent 9kms a litre mileage. While towing a 1700-kilo weight, it delivers decent 6kms/lire. And during inclines, you needn’t compromise on speed too. So, this is civilian in every way. And, it has not compromised on its ruggedness either. Read on.
Once you take it off-road, you get this reaction from the Toyota as if it is relaxed, as if it is feeling at home. The soft suspension that might have been scary on the road while cornering will be appreciated here. With over 220mm of land clearance, inhospitable terrains are dealt in a light-minded fashion. 261hp and 650nm of torque available at as low as 1600rpm enables the 4.5 litre, 8-cylinder twin-turbo diesel to plough through any landscapes as long as you keep using the accelerator pedal.
While the petrol variants get CRAWL, the diesel gets the DAC – downhill assist control. Keep your foot off the brakes and trust the DAC. It will surprise you by its controlled descent. Keep this option “on” as it serves better than the 6-speed auto-transmission. But, the DAC does make the brakes hot which gradually reduces its effectiveness. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the 200 series Land Cruiser was given a manual gear-box which prompt buyers to opt for the Prado instead.
The remarkable 285/65 R17 wheel articulation allowed by the suspension makes the deepest, the steepest, the uneven-est parcel of land capable of being driven on. The stability and traction control come with the vehicle that can be turned off. But, it is to be noted that Toyota has optimised their functionality for both on and off road activities. So, leave them on.
The diesel engine has more torque than the petrol V8 variant. That is exactly what you need to tackle difficult situations. This diesel variant is expected by Toyota to outrun the sales of the petrol variant. They claim it to be their best diesel engine.
Frankly, the diesel engine would be advised. Even though you pay an extra while driving it off the showroom, the practicality and packaging of the diesel variant seems more impressive. If it is possible, it is also suggested that you opt for the KDSS package as it is what decreases the body roll (+AUD 2500). With a towing capacity of 3500 kilos, this is quite a purposeful vehicle and with the amount of torque, it could conquer terrains with more ease than its petrol brother.
Chop a tree, fill up the tow cage, drop your sullen kids to school, kiss your wife goodbye at her urban workplace and take yourself for work in ease and comfort. And, notice the LC will not say a word. Of course, there are cheaper off-roaders that might perform these tasks. But, they will not do it in ease like the LC. Besides, after these daily routine which any other SUV could do, it is very re-assuring to know that in times of need the LC can/will handle the extra pressure with ease and style.
(Its safety and interior equipment is similar to the petrol. So, kindly read our petrol variant review for this info.)
Copyright © Ajey Padival 2008 (Brisbane, Australia; +61-434360675; firstname.lastname@example.org)