It pays to spend some time in the Toyota Land Cruiser, because the quick trip around the block that you might be offered by way of a test drive is unlikely to endear its chassis to you. The steering is less incisive than we’d like, body control is sloppy if you leave the suspension in comfort mode and the ride quality as lumpy as you’d expect given the archaic construction and rear suspension philosophy.
But as the miles go by, it slowly dawns that there is some pleasure to be derived from its loose-limbed gait. Even by SUV standards, the Cruiser has not a sporting bone in its body, but once you’ve learned that it will go where you point it, the steering, despite a lack of directness, actually offers quite good feel.
It’s true that it’s hard to see British buyers ever choosing to deploy an off-roader costing this much over the kind of terrain the Land Cruiser can cover. But this is a car designed not for these shores, where most owners consider parking on the school playing fields to be serious off-roading, but some of the most challenging and dangerous environments on earth.
But its real strength off road, and where it has some relevance even to British buyers, is not where it will go so much as how it will get there. Such is the army of technology put at your disposal that the Cruiser can reduce the entire art of off-road driving to sitting and steering. It will take care of absolutely everything else itself.
To those who’d quite like to do even a little recreational off-roading but have feared running out of talent and into a tree, nothing makes the process easier than this Land Cruiser – not even a Discovery.