The 2018 TOYOTA LAND CRUISER

With an off-road heritage spanning more than 65 years, Land Cruiser remains unique in its segment for its ability to combine outstanding quality, durability and reliability with unrivalled off-road performance (they say) and ever-greater levels of luxury, comfort and ownership prestige.

Land Cruiser is more widely available than any current Toyota model, being sold in more than 190 countries worldwide. Its off-road abilities have earned it a rock-solid reputation as one of the world’s toughest and most reliable 4x4s and made it the segment sales leader in the more than 10 European markets.

The new Land Cruiser enhances this reputation with more modern and robust exterior styling, a more sophisticated, comfortable and higher quality interior, and improvements to its dynamic performance and user-friendliness, both on and off-road.

Switchgear on the new dashboard is ergonomically optimised and functionally grouped. The dash also incorporates a large, eight-inch touchscreen for the Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia system, Optitron meters and a 4.2-inch multi-information display.

The cabin has been made more comfortable with front seat ventilation, rear seat heating, and automatic climate control, and life has been made easier with the introduction of an electric, heated windscreen, heated washer nozzles, reverse-tilting door mirrors and a new smart key design.

In western Europe the new Land Cruiser is powered by a 175bhp/130kW 2.8-litre D-4D turbodiesel engine. It will accelerate the vehicle from rest to 62mph in 12.7 seconds, and on to a maximum 109mph. Official combined cycle fuel consumption is 38.2mpg with 194g/km CO2 emissions.

Land Cruiser’s peerless off-road capability is rooted in its highly durable and deformation-resistant body-on-frame construction, which is now unique in the large SUV segment. The vehicle’s combination of strength and durability provides a high level of damage protection and it is designed for easy maintenance and repairs. Significantly reduced levels of body twisting help the driver optimally position and control the vehicle.

The body-on-frame build also efficiently isolates the cabin from suspension impacts, making even the most challenging off-road conditions more comfortable to negotiate for everyone on board.

Personally I believe it's a double edged sword that the all-terrain support systems helps even unskilled drivers make the most of Land Cruiser’s off-road performance. They also make the Toyota one of the most technically advanced, safe, pleasurable and easy-to-use all-wheel drive vehicles in the world, though I'm confident Land Rover would have something to say here. Of course I understand why manufactures like Toyota create fool proof 4x4 systems, but I firmly believe that off-road driving is a skill that is learnt from experience, and experience isn't gained when the machine is doing everything for you, but I digress.

The new Land Cruiser builds on this proven, trusted formula with a new design that is visually more agile and dynamic, yet which maintains three core strengths essential to the vehicle’s go-anywhere credentials: Total Practicality, with headlamps and cooling openings positioned to maximise protection and wading depth; Total Durability, with the powertrain and all functional parts well-protected; and Total Capability, with a tight turning circle and generous ground clearance, essential for the most demanding off-road driving conditions.

The overall length has been increased by 60mm to 4,840mm (4,565mm for the three-door model). A minimum turning circle of 5.8 metres (5.2 metres three-door) contributes to exceptional manoeuvrability.

The bonnet has been shaped to improve downward visibility at the centre and it is sandwiched by the sides of the bumper to help protect the engine bay. The corners of the lower part of the bumper have integral fog lamps and kick upwards, while the centre section is shaped like a skid plate for easier manoeuvring off-road. The top section of the wings has been raised so that it’s easier for the driver to pinpoint the vehicle’s extremities.

The front grille and headlamps have been organised into single, powerful graphic and set higher for better off-road functionality, though I have to say, not very aesthetically pleasing. The grille’s apertures have been made as large as possible for optimum engine cooling, while the headlamp main beams are positioned inboard to avoid damage when driving off-road.

In keeping with Land Cruiser heritage, the grille itself features broad vertical bars with slit-shaped cooling openings, finished in chrome. The headlamp clusters comprise high and low beams, front turn indicators and daytime running lights, contained in a distinctive housing. According to model grade and market, the headlamps use halogen bulbs or LEDs, in the latter case with LED daytime running lights as well.

The sharply trimmed lower section of the body reinforces the Land Cruiser’s broad stance and minimises the impact of the front overhang on the vehicle’s off-road approach angle. Ground clearance is 215mm (205mm three-door), with 31-degree approach, 25-degree departure and 22-degree ramp break-over angles.

Although the new Land Cruiser’s interior doesn't look very plush compared to others, it features a revised dashboard that incorporates new instrument binnacle and centre console designs, delivering easier operation and a refined finish.  I think functional is what they are going for, but then I've only seen the one photo!

High grade versions of the new Land Cruiser with automatic transmissions are equipped with Toyota Safety Sense active technologies to help prevent accidents happening, or mitigating the consequences if an impact does occur.

The package includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with pedestrian detection function, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB).

Further driver support is provided a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and an upgraded tyre pressure warning system.

You can pretty much guarantee it'll be a hit, and I can't wait to get my hands on one.