Test of the new SUV Toyota Land Cruiser VX.R

It’s easy for laymen, when they say Toyota Land Cruiser, they just imagine a big SUV. But car fans know that Toyota currently offers three different models for three different target groups of customers under one name. The largest of them, the luxury off-road vehicle of the premium segment, recently received the new generation J300 and did not escape our attention.

It is true that officially Toyota does not bring this large model to Europe much and does not even offer it here, because it is intended for the Middle Eastern markets on the Arabian Peninsula. But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy one. The company Dajbych can import and register it for you, which let me test one copy. Only the ubiquitous inscriptions in Arabic reveal the market for which Toyota was originally intended.

Photo: Dajbych Mayhem Pictures

The famous model is already celebrating seventy

The new model follows a generation of more comfortable and more road-tuned cars, the history of which began with the J50 model in 1967. The direct predecessor was the J200 generation, which was on the market since 2007 and whose fans and owners were among the most loyal. In this respect, the new model has something to build on, so the head of the project, Takami Jokó, had a big responsibility on his neck.

The new look makes a spectacular impression

The Land Cruiser looks much more modern and, if that’s even possible, even more powerful. The giant radiator grille is flanked by full LED headlights, but due to its inclination perpendicular to the road, it looks quite majestic. With this car, even drivers who have priority at the moment will let you go. They probably don’t want you in the rearview mirror. It’s not surprising, because you feel like a king behind the wheel of a 300 and you can even see the roof of smaller vans. The big gutter on the hood is strange, which I don’t notice at all from the outside, but I notice it every time I drive the Land Cruiser. But, of course, sometimes on a narrow road you may feel that the Land Cruiser is not too big. Or when parking, which will of course be facilitated by a camera system recording the entire surroundings of the car.

Photo: Dajbych Mayhem Pictures

You can even go to the theater with this all-terrain vehicle

To begin with, we have a reduction in weight, although the new generation is larger in all external dimensions and is almost five meters long. The 20-inch wheels are not on low-profile tires, but on proper balloons, so comfort does not suffer from their size. You’re more likely to worry about their chrome appearance in the field. And the giant mirrors also have chrome, the glass of which is again decorated with Arabic inscriptions announcing that the objects reflected in them are closer than they seem. The car also has a pleasant electric sunroof, which makes summer days more bearable.

Inside, it leaves you in no doubt about its premium quality

The interior is an extremely refined place with plenty of equipment, you just have to climb into it via a step and the grab handle on the A-pillar helps a lot. After all, it also sits high. The doors also illuminate the area on the road, so even a puddle won’t surprise you, and the steps and handles are also illuminated. Inside, everything is clearly according to the premium segment – ​​leather upholstery, luxurious wooden and plastic materials and equipment. Infotainment with a 12.3-inch touchscreen is pleasantly clear and logical, the instrument panel consists of classic analog alarm clocks. But you don’t have to look at them anyway, the Land Cruiser also has a head-up display that shows me the compass. In front of me is a multifunctional steering wheel with a pleasantly thick leather rim. For the most important functions, the classic buttons still remained here.

Photo: Miroslav Matoušek

Lots of space and rich equipment define the new Land Cruiser

The spaciousness and coziness of the bright interior is complemented by a large number of storage spaces and there is also wireless phone charging. For example, there is a rather large box in the armrest, which is cooled by air conditioning. It is interesting that the elbow that forms its lid can be folded to one or the other side, so that not only the driver but also the passenger can easily get inside.

There must also be sufficient space

There’s plenty of room in the front row, and the driver’s seat also slides out automatically when you want to get out. But this takes a few centimeters off the otherwise spacious second row of seats. Passengers on it will certainly appreciate the four-zone air conditioning, heating and ventilation of the seats in the first and second rows or the two screens of the multimedia system with the JBL audio system. There are also speakers in the fifth door, so even the third row of seats can enjoy quality sound. There was also a fire extinguisher in the car.

Photo: Miroslav Matoušek

If you don’t use the third row of seats, the luggage compartment is really huge

The seats in the second row cannot be moved, but the backrest and seat can be folded forward to access the third row. Then access to the third row, which otherwise hides under the boot floor, is quite pleasant. Moreover, these are not emergency seats, but even an average adult can do it here, at least on a shorter route. It will also get USB slots or cup holders. If you have the third row of seats, the luggage space shrinks from 1,004 liters to a small 175. But if you fold down the second row as well, you get 1,967 liters.

Brand new tachnik

The new TNGA platform (the Land Cruiser shares it with the Tundra pickup) of course has a front engine and all-wheel drive, but it’s still a body on a frame. While previously the largest Land Cruiser relied on an eight-cylinder, now the highlight is the all-new V35A-FTS six-cylinder fork with modern D-4ST injection. The volume of 3.4 liters may sound like a step backwards, but the engine is doped with two turbochargers, so it has 415 horses (305 kW) at 5,200 revolutions and a torque of 650 Nm already at 1,800 revolutions. Thanks to this, even two and a half tons can move quite briskly, and you certainly do not feel that the new large Land Cruiser has worse dynamics. It can reach 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds and has a top speed of 210 km/h. At the same time, the large SUV is very quiet up to 170 km/h.

Photo: Ondřej Kroutil for Dajbych

The new Land Cruiser is not afraid of terrain

The engine is connected to a ten-speed Direct Shift AWR10L65 automatic transmission with a really massive selector head. It is tuned for a rather comfortable and relaxed ride and shifts very smoothly, but in case of sudden acceleration, it is not afraid to downshift a few gears and then it jerks a bit. The car starts with ease, but at the same time quite quickly. In addition, of course, above 3,000 revolutions, it has a slightly denser and sportier sound than when you just tickle the gas pedal. It is not a problem to get the consumption below ten, but I personally could not resist the performance, so the average consumption after my test was 13.4 liters. It would be even more so when towing a trailer that can weigh up to 3.5 tons.

Several driving modes to choose from

Of course, it depends on which driving mode you choose. I liked Comfort the most, when the car is pleasant and comfortable on bumps and potholes. It’s probably the worst driving mode in the city for all those channels and retarders. Sport mode is better for sharper driving as the car responds more vividly, but I ended up liking the higher one even more. The Sport Plus mode is almost perfect, in which you really enjoy driving on the roads. Of course, the giant Land Cruiser will never become a sports car, but it can surprise.

Photo: Ondřej Kroutil for Dajbych

But on the road, the Toyota also works great

The Land Cruiser cannot be a soft SUV that is afraid of the terrain. Although there was no time to visit the polygon during the short test, Toyota pretended that it was nothing in lighter terrain. A reduction gearbox, a mode for slow driving, modes for different types of terrain, a hill descent assistant as well as a slow driving mode or a self-locking rear differential can solve a lot of problems that a driver could potentially get into. In addition, off-road control is even easier, so probably even an amateur won’t mess with the car. In addition, the camera system scanning the entire surroundings of the car will detect all possible obstacles.

It drives better than before

The engine is lower and further back than in the previous version, so the new Land Cruiser has a better positioned center of gravity. And while the rigid frame is a fifth stronger, the roof, hood and doors are made of aluminium, so the car has lost 200 kilograms. The front suspension is independent, the rear axle is stiff and the car behaves pleasantly while driving. A big advantage is the enormous driving comfort and the chassis that irons out almost any unevenness. The AVS variable suspension suppresses cornering lean and tries to trick the physics a bit.

Prices in the Czech Republic start at 2,776,446 crowns, but you can get up to 3.2 million for the top GR Sport variant. It may seem like enough for a Toyota, but look at how much a six-cylinder BMW or Audi in the same category costs. In addition, Toyota is for those who need a premium car, but are still capable off-road. This is precisely where the Land Cruiser has an advantage over its German competition, as its frame construction, robust technology and real off-road capabilities are unquestionable. But beware, Toyota warns that the waiting period for a car can be up to four years, such is the interest in the new Land Cruiser. However, the owners kept the previous J200 for almost 11.5 years, so they will not mind waiting a while for the new car. It will probably be worth it for them thanks to the qualities of the new model.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Test SUV Toyota Land Cruiser VX .R

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