Just cruising

Saturday, 23rd June 2012, 11:20 am

By Nick Jones

Of all the 4x4’s out there, and there are many, Toyota’s Land Cruiser takes some beating.

It’s a giant among the school-run brigade, that’s for sure, and the only thing that looks down on you on the road is the council gritter.

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Now, before you all go rushing off to buy one, there are a few points to address. Firstly, it costs £60,000, which is rather a lot of money for what appears to be a boxy Toyota, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it probably won’t fit in your garage and may not fit on your drive.Thinking back to the previous Amazons to carry the Land Cruiser badge - there have been seven - the V8 I tested is the eighth iteration and brings the genre bang up to date.

It’s longer,wider and taller than before and the interior has been brought up a few notches too.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well, the best bit about it is the engine. Imported for the UK in diesel spec only, the mighty 4.5-litre V8 produces a whopping 282bhp which is all well and good but the Toyota has a torque figure of 650Nm starting at just 1,600 revs per minute – meaning only something the size of the Ark Royal, as was, would develop more pulling power.

Top speed is 130mph, with 0-60mph taking just 8.2 seconds.

Despite its weight and obvious bulk, the Land Cruiser comfortably achieves 31mpg, and the emissions are 270g/km.

Power delivery is immense as you can imagine, the V8 growling at you as the revs start to climb; the high speed stability is pretty good and when the fuel tank holds just over 90-litres, it has a damn fine cruising range also.

Not only good on the roads, the Land Cruiser would feel just at home off it, unlike some of the shall we say ‘higher-end’ 4x4’s.

It has a remarkable ride height clearance of about 60cm (2ft in old money), and all this can be adjusted internally with the touch of a button; clever dampers ensure a smooth transition.

It has a six-speed automatic gearbox that can be used as a manual, but as it has such a wide spread of torque, leave it in ‘D’ and let your right foot do the rest.

It’s rather large inside too and the fit and finish certainly befits a car costing as much as this does.

On a golfing trip with three mates, I drove and we had three sets of clubs, trolley’s, shoes and clothes - all swallowed with ease.

Access is good through all four doors, plus the third row of seats can be easily clambered into; great news also is the fact they fold flat with just one hand – no fiddly clasps or hooks.

It has everything standard on the car, I think I experienced a worlds first of having a test car for a week with NO extras fitted to it, and I’ve been doing this over 20 year’s now.

Is it a worthy contender for the likes of the BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and the Range Rovers of this world? Yes.

Whilst the styling isn’t exactly distinguished as such, if you did buy one then you’d be in a rather small group of Land Cruiser V8 owners who absolutely and unequivocally love their large 4x4.

And if it’s value you want for your money, you certainly have a lot of metal to put your mind at rest.

Residuals? Very high indeed and very few pre-loved versions on the market... says it all, really.