Toyota Land Cruiser LC4 D-4D: Road test
For almost 60 years, the Toyota Land Cruiser has built a reputation for being the off-roader of choice, if you need toughness and reliability. Land Rover included.
However, previous models have struggled to be refined enough for more regular on-road use. Has this all changed with the latest model? I spent a week with the latest £46,035 seven-seater LC4 version to find out.
The current car was all-new this year, but the changes to the Land Cruiser's styling over the last are more evolution than revolution. At the front, there are new lights that sweep back into the front wings, a new version of the family grille and a sleeker looking front bumper.
At the side, there are new alloy wheels with chunkier wheelarches, with a smoother boot design and new rear light clusters at the back.
The Land Cruiser five-door is only available with this same 169bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine. With emissions of 214g/km and 34.9mpg fuel consumption figures, this Toyota's never going to win green friends like a Prius, but the running costs are typical of a large off-roader.
The Land Cruiser's steering is over-light and lacks feel. Its big dimensions mean all-round visibility isn't brilliant and any manoeuvres are involved. The standard fit rear camera is helpful when parking though.
The Land Cruiser isn't at its best on road, as there's lots of road noise from the chunky tyres; the hard suspension jars over road imperfections in town and there's lot of body roll in corners.
Inside, our LC4 test car felt quite luxurious with the standard leather trim; build quality is first rate, even if the quality of plastics isn't quite up to German rivals.
To get the best out of the 3.0-litre diesel engine/five-speed automatic combination, you have to work it hard. It's better as a cruiser, as the engine is noisy and seems to take forever to build speed.
The Land Cruiser is not a fast car, but then again that's not the point; 62mph comes up in a less than impressive 11.7 seconds and the top speed is just 109mph.
Apart from its obvious off-road ability, another of the Land Cruiser's key selling points will be its versatile cabin. The tall, commanding driving position is excellent and there's plenty of room for five tall adults to sit in the back, even if this does compromise the 1955mm of boot space. The heavy, heavy, side-hinged rear door spoils practicality though.
The LC4 test car had most of the equipment you'd ever need, including big car features such as electric windows, steering wheel audio controls, satellite navigation, automatic climate control, leather trim, heated front seats and a JBL CD stereo system.
The standard-fit, single-disc CD player sounds good through the 13-speaker, JBL-supplied sound system. A DVD-based navigation system is also fitted as standard on the LC4 trim.
If you're looking for a practical, capable SUV and spend more time off the road than on it, then the latest LandCruiser might be just the car you're after. If this is not the case, then in my view the similarly priced Land Rover Discovery is a better option.