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New V8 diesel engine makes Land Cruiser's no-nonsense appeal all the stronger

Our Verdict

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser is capable, but its rugged nature is better suited to Africa than the UK

4 December 2007

What is it?

This is the all-new Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4. Pretty much everything about it is new, except the concept. The ladder frame chassis has been enlarged and strengthened, and the car has grown in all directions.

Most important for the European market is the introduction of the new V8 diesel engine - the only motor this new Amazon replacement comes with - which is paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a completely redesigned Lexus-style interior.

What’s it like?

The Land Cruiser has finally got the performance hike it needed. Toyota claims that the new 282bhp, 480lb ft diesel V8 can propel the car to 60mph in just over eight seconds and on to a top speed of 130mph. And it feels that way too.

Wind the torque converter up and side step the brake, and the Land Cruiser's 2555kg launch themselves forward with a squeal from all four corners. The torsen centre differential has a rear bias that, combined with some passive rear steer from the revised suspension geometry, has all but eliminated understeer on high speed corners.

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The Land Cruiser’s diesel engine is surprisingly gruff and could do with more sound insulation, but in other areas refinement is on a par with its competitors. The low wind and tyre noise is particularly impressive.

Rear legroom is surprisingly shallow, because of the unusually high floor, but there is space to stretch your legs forward instead.

As for off-road performance, it's sufficient to say that the best way of keeping up with this Land Cruiser off the beaten track is to be in another Land Cruiser. Very little else will cross rough terrain as capably, comfortably and reliably.

Should I buy one?

If you're looking for a robust and refined alternative to the traditional family estate, the Land Cruiser has a lot to offer.

If you want an economical people carrier with saloon car dynamics, then look elsewhere; while a V8 diesel engine improves this car greatly, it doesn’t turn it into a BMW X5 in the handling stakes.

Nor is this car anything that could be considered frugal, although if you're used to the fuel bills associated with the Land Cruiser's old 4.7-litre petrol engine, you probably will be impressed with the 27.7 miles Toyota claims this car will do for every gallon.

However, drivers needing off-road talent and towing ability will love this car even more than any Land Cruiser that has gone before. It’s still not quite on a par with a Range Rover Vogue in either the refinement or desirability stakes, but you get the impression that no-nonsense Land Cruiser owners won’t mind that at all.

Ed Keohane

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