Toyota Land Cruiser V8 review
The first Toyota Land Cruiser was a rebadged Jeep clone. The name was first used in 1954, but a five-door station wagon was a far more recent addition to the corporate line-up. The modern V8's first spiritual successor was the 60 series, which was introduced in 1980 and became one of the first SUVs. By the time it was replaced in 1990, it had taken Toyota to a position of global dominance that it still enjoys in the segment today.
As the 4x4 market has moved increasingly towards road-biased ‘soft-roaders’, it’s easy to forget the continuing demand for vehicles capable of actually venturing into the wilderness and delivering on the promises implicit in the tough styling. As such, the new, eighth-generation Land Cruiser is undoubtedly the genuine article.
It’s bigger and more luxurious than the old Land Cruiser Amazon, but, like its predecessors, it’s been engineered to take on the toughest terrain in the world. A combination of virtues that means its closest rival is the hugely successful Range Rover.
The previous Amazon tag has been dropped, with this model distinguished from its smaller siblings by a V8 suffix, referring to the mighty new 4.5-litre twin-turbodiesel that now powers it.
Toyota is forecasting just 700 sales a year in the UK, and there are no plans to bring the petrol V8 here – a tacit acknowledgement of the fact that Brits seeking a top-spec SUV put mud-plugging way down the list of priorities.
As befits its price tag and position in Toyota’s brand hierarchy, the Land Cruiser V8's cabin has a distinctly Lexus feel to it. Indeed, the centre console, touchscreen interface and audio controls will all be very familiar to anyone who has spent time in an LS460.
It is also one of the most intuitive and easy to use units on the market. Most of the materials are appropriately classy, too, apart from the centre console’s wood trim.
Unlike many separate-chassis SUVs, the Land Cruiser manages to combine its sizeable exterior dimensions with equally impressive internal space. Front seat occupants enjoy plenty of head- and legroom, and the driving position has a comprehensive range of adjustment.
It’s a supremely comfortable place to spend time, helped by excellent high-speed refinement. And it’s worth noting that the V8’s seating position is higher even than that of the Range Rover.
The Land Cruiser V8 has inherited the Amazon’s seven-seat layout, with a third row of seats occupying most of the available boot space when deployed. These fold awkwardly against the sides of the boot when not in use, and access is awkward.
Fortunately, the second-row seats can be moved forwards or backwards on runners, meaning that legroom can be divided among rear occupants according to their needs.
The layout of the primary controls is rational enough, and as in the Lexus LS the touchscreen is easy to use. The only real ergonomic criticism is with the haphazard minor switchgear, which looks a real afterthought; poor control location makes adjusting the mirrors a very fiddly business, for example.