It’s difficult to improve on perfection, but it seems Toyota has managed it with the revised 2005 Land Cruiser. A Land Cruiser, perfect? Maybe that’s going too far, but if you want a big, solid, well-built and comfortable vehicle with off-road abilities, this is a preetty good place to look.
The four-cylinder, 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine is much updated and it’s difficult to imagine a more suitable engine for this application. The adoption of a new common-rail injection system and revisions to the turbocharger have increased maximum torque by 20 per cent to 302lb ft at 1800rpm.
It now wafts along easily and effortlessly, the engine emitting a distant tractor-like four-cylinder buzz which is always well isolated, even from cold, and gives a healthy shove of thrust from low in the rev range. You’re never struggling for pace in traffic and it’s useful on the motorway, too. And the cabin is supremely quiet at all speeds.
The five-speed auto we sampled is a new unit. The shifts are nearly always seamless and the new AI-Shift artificial intelligence – of which Toyota is justifiably proud – means that the gearbox is always using the engine’s torque to its advantage. Over a few hundred miles of varied driving, the gearbox never tripped up. It’s superb.
And I’m pleased to be able to report very few flaws. There’s nothing out of place with the build quality – it feels like it’ll last a zillion years, inside and out. Only the old-fashioned side-folding third row of seats and the fake wood trim spoil what is a near-perfect experience. A great car, this.