Open gallery Close by Matt Saunders 5 March 2018 Follow @TheDarkStormy1 Share
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We first sampled the updated 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser abroad, but our chance to take a view on it here in Britain just so happened to come in the week in which the cruellest winter weather for several years blew in.
Thus one ‘beast from the east’ met another (the car we know as the Land Cruiser, known as the Colorado previously and the Prado elsewhere in the world, is built primarily in Japan). And one made pretty short work of the other. You can probably guess which conquered which.
These are the kinds of revisions you expect of a car maker that knows its subject’s market positioning is about as secure as it could beMatt SaundersRoad test editor
The Land Cruiser has a reputation for wilderness-taming robustness, unstoppable reliability and 4×4 capability that exceeds even that of Land Rover and Jeep. It’s not bought to survive the sand dunes of the Middle East, the prairies of South America or the Australian outback because it’s been designed ‘reductively’ or it’s available on a killer PCP deal. It’s popular because it just keeps on going, come what may.
What has Toyota added to the 2018 Land Cruiser?
This attempts have been made to freshen and update this car’s interior to make it more refined and luxurious, and generally keep it broadly competitive with other SUVs you might spend £50,000 on, they’re of qualified success. And limited in scope, too – for good reasons. These are the kinds of revisions you expect of a car maker that knows its subject’s market positioning is about as secure as it could be and doesn’t think much needs fixing.
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And so while Toyota’s interior updates have added a reshaped dashboard and a new instrument panel to the Invincible spec model, as well as a new centre console covered in shiny knobs and buttons for the various off-road modes, they haven’t exactly turned the Land Cruiser into a rival for an Audi Q7. Think of this car, instead, as a car of Land Rover Defender-level mud-plugging abilities, with the sort of interior comfort, quality and habitability you’d very happily accept and embrace in your everyday driver. The car’s heated and ventilated leather seats are soft and snug, and give you a great view out. Its fittings look and feel solid, and fairly expensive – but most of all, they’re plainly ready to last.
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Toyota Land Cruiser Utility 3dr long-term test
Further rearwards, the car now has sliding second-row seats and a third row that collapses properly into the boot floor rather than fold away upwards to take up boot space. It’s not a particularly roomy seven-seater by large SUV standards, but then it’s not a desperately large SUV.
Only the base-level, three-door Utility model has the choice between a manual or automatic gearbox; the rest of the range is exclusively served by the automatic. The Active model gains an 8.0in Touchscreen, DAB radio, dual-zone air conditioning, reversing camera and rear parking sensors. Power-adjustable seats, front parking sensors, adaptive cruise control and collision detection systems are added with the Icon model. The 5-mode drive select system, adaptive suspension and JBL sound system are reserved for the top-spec Invincible.
Driving the Toyota Land Cruiser
On the road, it’s certainly a smoother and more refined SUV than it used to be. Toyota’s efforts at putting manners on the car’s suspension and creating a calmer, less commercial-feeling ride quality consisted of fitting bigger dampers front and rear, reinforced suspension links and new bushings, as well as delivering longer-stroke wheel travel at the rear in particular. They have been successful. The Land Cruiser now feels fairly supple at low speeds and on the motorway, and while its body takes a long time to settle when the road surface is changing topography, it only moves around in a slow, gentle, low-amplitude, barely noticable sort of a way.