IN AN INDUSTRY where a typical model generation may run to around seven years, an innings of double that – 14 – is pretty remarkable. But for the outgoing 200 Series LandCruiser, launched in late 2007, that’s exactly what it achieved.
So now in comes the 300 Series, one of the most highly anticipated new four-wheel drives of the year. It boasts an all-new platform, single powertrain choice in the form of a 3.3-litre twin-turbo-diesel V6 teamed with 10-speed automatic, and is offered across a six-strong model lineup spanning $89,990 to $138,790.
Our introductory drive, due to COVID restrictions, meant limited time to evaluate all six variants of the LC300. Never mind. We began with an on-road cruise from Sydney down to the Toyota LandCruiser Club’s property of Willowglen, about 40 minutes from the town of Goulburn. This would be followed by two fairly demanding off-road loops.
I started in the GR Sport, and did score seat time in the GX, GXL, VX, and Sahara, which provided a solid insight to the new LandCruiser. There were two different off-road loops on the day, comprising of rocks, mud, ruts and water crossings. The number of test vehicles with damaged sidesteps highlights how challenging the terrain was. There was also a towing component, where we hitched up a Kedron caravan weighing close to 3000kg, and used the 300 Series to lug said van up hills, on rural roads and on dirt.
Off-road ability is right up there; comfortable and willing on-road
Ground clearance in extreme off-road situations; cost of higher-end models
Model Toyota LandCruiser 300 GR Sport
Engine 3346cc V6 (900), dohc, 24v, twin-turbo diesel
Max power 227kW @ 4000rpm
Max torque 700Nm @ 1600-2600rpm
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Weight 2630kg 0-100km/h 9.0sec (estimated)
Economy 8.9L/100km (claimed) Price $137,790
On sale Now
First, let’s address the issue of dropping the twin-turbo V8 found in the previous 200 Series. Will it be missed? It’s hard to beat the sound and low-down grunt of a twin-turbo V8, but the fact is, the 3.3L twin-turbo V6 diesel engine now used exclusively across the LC300 series is more powerful (by 27kW, to 227kW) and more torque rich (up 50Nm to 700Nm) as well as more frugal (by 0.6L/100km on the ADR combined cycle).
Praise must be given to the 10-speed gearbox also; it’s an effective operator that gets the most out of that V6. The auto doesn’t seem to hunt for gears despite its abundance of them, and the sheer spread of ratios means there’s always an ideal one for both on-and-off-road conditions.
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