This Car Review Is About: The big, boofy, brawny, LandCruiser GXL. It’s one of a four model range, however at the time of writing (April 2020) there are five. The GX starts things off, then the GXL tested, VX, Sahara and Sahara Horizon, a special edition model. That last is a cosmetic item and commemorates the vehicle’s 60 years of production.
The GXL, although the second of the range, still packs enough equipment to ensure it’s user and family friendly. And there is that legendary off-road ability that is standard fitment and has been for sixty years. the vehicle tested is a seven seater, with the same fold sideways third row seats as seen in the Fortuner albeit with a different method of releasing.How Much Does It Cost?: It’s a solid hit to the wallet for the unprepared. Toyota lists the GXL at $99,352 drive-away as of April 2020. That’s with Glacier White; select a metallic and it’s $18 shy of $100,000 even. $91,980 is the recommended retail price, before on-roads.
Under The Bonnet Is: Toyota’s hairy chested 4.5L V8 diesel. 200kW is the peak power, but it’s the near Supercar 650Nm of torque (split 49;51 front to rear) that makes the LandCruiser a great on- and off-road performer. It’s a low-stress, easy delivery of torque too, with that 650Nm on tap between 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm. Drive goes to all four corners via a six speed auto, an area sure to be addressed when the 300 Series gets its release. There is a transfer case, operated through an electrically activated system and switched through a dial in the console. Towing is rated as 3.5 tonnes.Economy, not surprisingly, is not strong point around town. Toyota quotes only a combined figure and that’s 9.5L/100km. Out city cycle was 12.3L/100km at its best and over 15.0L/100km at its worst. A tank size of 138L, a 93L main and 45L secondary, helps dull that pain somewhat. The VX we tested late least year (A Wheel Thing VX LandCruiser) saw an overall average of 11.5L/100km.
On the Outside It’s: Big. A Kerb weight of 2,740kg equates to 4,990mm length, 1,945mm to 1,970mm (model dependent) in height, and 1,980mm in width. There is 2,850mm in wheelbase and a track of 1,640mm and 1,650mm, meaning a huge footprint and presence. The review vehicle had an air intake snorkel fitted, adding a little more to height. This is standard on GX, optional on GXL.
The GXL has self leveling headlights, with LED low beams, and LED fog lamps wrapped in a chrome surround. The rear has LED lamps. Up top, roof rails are standard on the GXL onwards. Side steps are a standard fit. Wheels are simple five spoke alloys with a semi-matte sheen, with rubber from Dunlop. They’re from the Grand Trek range and are 285/65/17 in overall size.On The Inside It’s: As roomy as expected. Front and centre leg room is capacious, and the third row is decent enough also. Head and shoulder room shouldn’t be a problem for anyone up to six feet in height. It’s less luxury oriented than the VX we drove six months ago, but it also doesn’t lack for comfort. The seats are cloth covered, they’re comfortable enough, and because of the velour covering, don’t need heating or cooling. The front seats are manually operated however the lumbar support has powered adjustment.The dash is blocky, segmented, yet functional because of it. There is no sense of haphazardness, everything is in its place and for a reason. The dash is dominated by the central section, itself a blocky look and this houses the 6.1 inch touchscreen and aircon controls. The radio screen is perhaps the weakest link, specifically ion accessing DAB stations. The look is something that Toyota should look to Hyundai and Kia for in the ease of use stakes.The car came to the garage with DAB stations not based in Sydney. A reset of the stations failed to provide local access and it took some research to find that the way Toyota has programmed this head unit required some fiddling in order to access Sydney’s DAB network.
The aircon controls are dual zone and rocker switch in operation. They’re simple to operate and effective in usage. That’s the same for the driver’s information screen and it’s also easy to read. As expected, the steering wheel controls for accessing info and for using the audio are easy to use.What’s baffling is that the headlight switch isn’t Auto sensing; rather, it’s an Off (never a good thing, all headlights should be Auto and NOT offer an Off setting) or On. This is a safety factor and ably demonstrated by any drive through a traffic tunnel.
On The Road It’s: Solid, massive, even ponderous at times. But it’s also nimble, easy to move around, and thanks to that diesel V8’s torque, quick enough when required. Thanks to the snorkel, there’s a raspy snarl near the driver’s right ear, a muted V8 growl up front, and a muted grumble from the exhaust. A standing start and hard press has the LandCruiser GXL launch hard and confidently. And quickly. Straight line performance is indecent for such a large machine, and many who haven’t experienced its prowess come away with ear-to-ear grins.
It’s ponderous because physics. 2.7 tonnes is a goodly amount of mass for a passenger vehicle and even with that straight line oomph, 2.7 tonnes isn’t easy to get moving at low velocities, and it’s also not easy to stop suddenly. It’s our thinking that the 300 Series should address what we feel is the 200’s weak spot: braking. The bit is there but it’s not a hard one, it doesn’t feel as if it’s holding on tight enough to pull up the LandCruiser GXL. There’s not enough overall confidence even with 340mm and 345mm discs.Underneath is independent double wishbones up front, with a coil spring, gas dampers and anti-roll bar. The rear is a 4-link coil rear suspension with Panhard rod, coil springs, gas dampers and anti-roll bar. The Kinetic Suspension system that allows even more flexibility for getting dirty is available as an option. In the Drive system is Crawl Control with steering assist.
The sheer size of the LandCruiser can count against it as forward corner vision is…well, it’s kind of hard to completely accurately judge where the corners are. BUT it’s also the kind of vehicle that familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it breeds an innate understanding of how to muscle the big machine around. That’s something which comes in handy in off-roading and car parks.
We gave the GXL some space to stretch its legs and it’s as easy to drive off-road as it is on a straight lined open highway. Handbrake on, select Neutral, rotate the drive selector dial to 4WD Low Range, and a second or so later select Drive. That rev range then makes crawling up and down and around as second nature as it comes for the LandCruiser. Having a well weighted steering that allows fine control off-road as easily as on tarmac certainly helps in piloting the GXL in close quarters.What About Safety?: Toyota says it comes with the Toyota Safety Sense, made up of Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Safety System with pedestrian detection, Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Active Cruise Control if you buy the Sahara. The GXL doesn’t have these. There is a Reverse Camera, front and rear park sensors, Hill Start Assist Control, driver’s knee bag, first row and second row curtain airbags.
What About Warranty And Service?: All Toyotas bought from January 2019 have five years warranty. Service costs for the first four services, at every six months or 10,000 km, is $300.00.
At The End Of The Drive. Toyota’s LandCruiser range is in a huge need of a ground up update. And we know that it is on the way, complete with a hybrid drive-train option. It needs a rethink of the interior and that’s coming. We know the exterior will be sleeker but it’s fair to assume to it won’t weigh much less. A refinement of the suspension will help handling and we’d hope the feature and safety list will improve.For now, what we have is big. It’s boofy. It’s fun. And that still counts for something.