Like anyone else who's been around for 60 years, the Toyota Land Cruiser has put on weight and girth over the years. Also like some 60 year-olds we've met, the big Toyota has just gone under the knife for cosmetic upgrades and hit the gym to keep the muscles toned.
Set to debut this week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the latest Land Cruiser gets fresh styling that pulls it in line with the latest Highlander and upcoming new 4Runner. The new body rides atop an 11-percent stiffer frame with insulating mounts soaking up noise and vibration. The UK market goes diesel-only with the D-4D underhood, while a 4.0-liter V6 burns gas for other European markets. With the new diesel, Toyota's claiming best-in-class fuel economy and a 4.5 percent improvement over the current Land Cruiser's carbon emissions figures.
While many Land Cruisers don't venture into the woods, Toyota has upped the capabilities of its SUV. The suspension now sports active roll bars as well as Adaptive Variable Suspension that lets drivers twiddle damper settings and provides self leveling and height control. Tip-toeing into the bog might be easier with a Land Rover-like Multi Terrain Select system that adjusts the Land Cruiser's dynamic responses for different surfaces, and four cameras send images from around the vehicle back to the bridge so the driver can see what's going on. A crawl function and a steering angle display are also parts of the off-road arsenal.
Like the ersatz Range Rover the LC has become, Toyota paid attention to the interior of its latest effort too. Three rows of seats have places for seven backsides, and legroom for second-row passengers is way up. The rearmost seats hide away for a flat load floor and a refrigerator is available for the center console, handy for provisioning if you plan to get stuck. All sorts of electronics and entertainment systems are also baked into the Land Cruiser, from navigation to a 605 Watt audio system with hard drive.
Looking at all the features, technology and sheer amount of STUFF in the new Land Cruiser, it sure has matured from its start back at the beginning of the baby boom. Like that generation, it refuses to quit, but at least it keeps getting better.
TOYOTA UNVEILS THE NEW GENERATION LAND CRUISER
World debut at Frankfurt motor show
* All-new Land Cruiser builds on six decades of worldwide success
* Advanced, user friendly technology increases off-road capability and driver assistance
* More refined on-road performance
* Improved equipment specifications
* UK range to feature single powertrain:3.0-Litre D-4D diesel engine with five-speed automatic transmission
* Five-door model with five or seven seats
* On sale in UK from 1 December 2009
With a heritage reaching back almost 60 years and with five million customers in 176 countries around the world, the Toyota Land Cruiser has become an icon of the 4WD market, its name synonymous with Toyota's core values of quality, durability and reliability.
That peerless pedigree provides the platform for the debut of a new generation Land Cruiser at the Frankfurt motor show, a model that goes further than ever before to deliver true go-anywhere toughness and on-road driving poise.
Land Cruiser's reputation has been built on its ability to meet owners' demands for a vehicle that is utterly reliable in even the harshest off-road conditions, yet offering performance and refinement appropriate for day-to-day driving.
With its new model Toyota has extended Land Cruiser's off-road capabilities with a higher level of on-board guidance and technical support for the driver. New, user-friendly functions have been introduced that can help make tricky routes passable, over terrain on which even accomplished off-road drivers might feel challenged.
The quality and scope of these new features help make the all-new Land Cruiser one of the most technically advanced but enjoyable and easy to drive off-road vehicles in the world.
Style and comfort are important to 4WD customers, too, hence Land Cruiser combines it off-road toughness with pleasing on-road driving characteristics and higher standards of quality and comfort.
Bodystyle and powertrain
In the UK new Land Cruiser will be offered exclusively as a five-door model with seven seats (LC3 model has five seats with optional third row), powered by a revised 171bhp 3.0-litre D-4D diesel engine with five-speed automatic transmission. A three-door model and a 4.0-litre V6 Dual VVT-i petrol engine will be available in other European markets, but there are no plans for these to be offered in the UK. Combined cycle fuel economy is a best-in-class 34.9mpg and CO2 emissions are 214g/km, improvements of 5.1 and 4.5 per cent respectively on current Land Cruiser performance.
Suspension, ride and handling
The rigidity of the body-on-frame construction has been increased by 11 per cent and insulating frame-to-body mounts have been added to absorb engine, drivetrain and road noise, and to improve ride comfort.
The front independent double wishbone and rear four-link lateral rod suspension systems have been revised for extra comfort and steering feel. LC4 and LC5 models grade models are equipped with a new electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which adjusts the front and rear anti-roll bars for optimised on and off-road performance.
The flagship LC5 version benefits from Toyota's Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system with Roll Posture Control, which lets the driver tune the ride characteristics with a choice of three damper settings. An electronically controlled rear air suspension system works with the AVS, providing an auto-levelling function and switchable height control. The air suspension is also effective in absorbing high frequency vibrations and reducing road-generated NVH.
A new feature launched by Toyota in the new-generation Land Cruiser is Multi-terrain Select, which automatically controls power and braking to optimise performance for different types of off-road surfaces. At the same time, the Multi-terrain Monitor feeds real time images from around the vehicle from a network of four cameras to provide the driver with more information about the immediate surroundings. The new Steering Angle Display shows the position of the vehicle's wheels and its predicted path, further helping the driver plot a safe route.
The Crawl Control feature lets the driver choose from five different setting to optimise vehicle set-up to tackle even extreme conditions with precision and control, without having to use the throttle or brake pedals. Crawl Control will also help the driver free the vehicle, should it become stuck in mud or sand.
New Land Cruiser has a more spacious and refined cabin with accommodation for seven in three rows. The second row seats have a sliding range of 135mm and a more flexible 40:20:40 configuration, with reclining seatbacks. A walk-in, slide and tilt function gives easy access to the third row seats.
The two third row seats (an option on the five-seat LC3 model) are full-size with integral headrests and they fold completely flat into the loadspace floor when not required. The footwell floor has been lowered by more than 38mm for a more comfortable seating position and, thanks to the slide adjustment of the second row seats, legroom extends to more than double that in the current Land Cruiser.
The left and right hand seats can be raised and lowered independently, using the Toyota Easy Flat system; LC4 and LC5 grade models this function is power-controlled at the touch of a button. Controls are handily located both inside the tailgate and behind the second row seats.
The flexibility of the seating is complimented by numerous, practical storage spaces, including a compartment with a USB port for simultaneous connection and charging of portable music players, and a large centre console box that can be fitted with a compact fridge unit.
Land Cruiser benefits from a range of high-tech, user-friendly systems to make life on board easier and more comfortable. The Smart Entry and Start system works in conjunction with sequenced lighting, and at the rear the tailgate has a top-hinged glass section that allows access to the load space even in tight parking spaces. Everyone can enjoy a comfortable cabin environment thanks to a separate air conditioning unit for the rear, giving new Land Cruiser a triple-zone climate control (LC4 and LC5 models only).
A multi-information switch on the steering wheel brings together several features under a single control, and the cameras used by the Multi-terrain Monitor also provide Wide-view Front, Side and Back Guide Monitors for easier manoeuvring in tight spaces and visibility at blind junctions.
Land Cruiser LC4 and LC5 models are equipped with a 14-speaker JBL Synthesis Premium Surround Sound System, giving 7.1 channel sound from compatible CDs and DVDs. It features an 11-channel, 605W Digital Signal Processing amplifier and, using the navigation system's Hard Disc Drive (HDD), offers a "sound library" facility, capable of transferring and storing up to 2,000 tracks from CDs.
Grade structure and outline equipment specifications
New Land Cruiser will be available in the UK in three equipment grades: LC3, LC4 and LC5. Equipment highlights are provided in the table below, with additional features across the board compared to current Land Cruiser specifications.
1. Fuel consumption and CO2 values are measured in a controlled environment, in accordance with the requirements of Directive 80/1268/EEC, including its amendments, on a basic production vehicle. For more information about the basic production vehicle, please contact the Toyota press office.
2. The fuel consumption and CO2 values of your vehicle may very from those measured. Driving behaviour, as well as other factors (such as road conditions, traffic, vehicle conditions, installed equipment, load, number of passenger, etc) play a role in determining a car's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.