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.
The Land Cruiser has a reputation for wilderness-taming robustness, unstoppable reliability and 4x4 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 generation of the Land Cruiser has been going since 2009, but has just had the latest in a series of small redesigns inside and out. I won’t call it a styling update; that’d be an insult. The Land Cruiser’s headlights and grille have been raised to better keep them out of the way of anything that might block or damage them. It has squarer front wings that make judging its extremities easier and a reprofiled bonnet so that you can better see large, pointy objects that are about to disappear under its wheels. Its front bumper has been reshaped, too, in order to make for the best possible approach angle. At no point, I'd like to think, have this car’s designers given much more than a passing thought to how ‘nice’ it looks.
As we reported last time around, the Land Cruiser’s body-on-frame construction survives (although it's been stiffened), and while the engine has been revised with a new turbo and a few other changes, it’s still a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel with an unspectacular-sounding 174bhp.
The car’s suspended by double wishbones up front and by a rigid axle secured by four links on each side at the rear. As standard, it comes with fixed-height steel coil springs, but top-of-the-line Invincible cars get adaptive dampers, an interlinked automatic roll stabilisation system and self-levelling air suspension for the rear wheels.
In terms of four-wheel drive hardware, there’s plenty going on, as you might imagine: a low-range transfer case, a torque sensing and lockable centre differential, a new lockable rear differential (fitted to top-line cars as standard) and a new Terrain Response-style off-road traction and stability control system called Multi Terrain Select.