Big and brawny and brimming with hi-tech gadgetry, this is how Toyota's replacement for the mighty Land Cruiser Amazon 4x4 will look when it goes on sale in the UK next February.Already available in Japan, where it's badged as the Land Cruiser 200, Toyota's new 4x4 flagship is essentially an evolution of the current model, but all the major hardware - body, separate frame chassis, suspension, V8 engine and 4x4 system - is new, as it sets course to challenge the Range Rover as the world's most esteemed luxury off-roader.
Bigger, more powerful, with V8 diesel power
About an inch wider and taller than today's Amazon, this new Land Cruiser Amazon is also 2.4in longer than the last, thus throwing an even longer shadow on the road, which the environmental lobby will hardly be ecstatic about, of course.So it’s bigger, but also significantly tougher all round. There's a new, more powerful, variable cam version of the 4.7-litre V8 engine under the bonnet. In Japanese tune, output leaps 52 bhp to a new 285 bhp, but Toyota will also offer a V8 diesel, as yet unseen, and in the UK this will be the sole engine offered.The Land Cruiser chassis has been fully reworked, with new front double wishbone suspension and a revised four-link, live rear axle. The real headliner, though, is the trick new kinetic suspension (KDSS) which hydraulically adjusts front and rear roll bars to tailor stability and handling both on and off-road.The chassis’ box of tricks continues with a new three-way ‘Crawl Control’ system. This automatically modulates engine and brakes when traversing slowly over rocks or moving up steep hills to reduce wheel spin and wheel locking. It can even help the Land Cruiser dig itself out of holes in mud or sand.There's 'smarter' full-time 4x4 with a new Torsen centre diff and new multi-terrain ABS and HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), all of which are standard on Japanese-spec models.
More upmarket car gets more upmarket price
As the Land Cruiser continues to shift upmarket and leave its basic, rugged 4x4 days behind, so the new three-row cabin grows roomier and ever more luxurious.In Tokyo, this fully revamped king 'Cruiser hits the road from the equivalent of £40,835, but in the UK, don't expect that kind of bargain tag. We hear the new Land Cruiser will be priced higher than today's Amazon but imported in reduced volumes to help meet Toyota's CO2 targets; in other words, expect the range to begin just the far side of £50,000.