Car Reviews

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series: Car Review

The Toyota Land Cruiser is an automotive icon known for its incredible off-road capability, durability, and reliability. The current 200 Series model has been on sale in Australia since 2007, offering traditional Land Cruiser strengths in a more refined and comfortable package.

With an all-new 300 Series Land Cruiser imminent, the 200 Series represents the end of an era. Its departure will be mourned by many who admire the model’s bulletproof construction and V8 diesel power.¬†

This review takes a nostalgic look at the 200 Series Land Cruiser range, assessing the key virtues underpinning its popularity, plus options and configurations worth considering before the remaining stocks sell out.

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series

Model Range Overview

The 200 Series Land Cruiser is offered in four trim grades catering to varying needs and budgets:

GX – The most affordable option starting from $80,996. It skips some comfort features but retains legendary off-road credentials. Suiting agricultural or commercial use.

GXL – A step up for $89,184, adding more equipment. A popular family choice with the right blend of utility and liveability.

VX – Priced from $105,449, this range-topping model brings more luxury and tech while retaining rugged construction.

Sahara – The flagship is priced at $135,259, loaded with features and premium finishes, for those prioritizing comfort over rugged off-road use.

All models share the same 4.5L twin-turbo V8 diesel, producing 200kW and 650Nm, with a 6-speed auto transmission. Constant AWD, locking center, and rear differentials give go-anywhere ability.

GX Model Overview

As the most affordable 200 Series variant, the GX is ideal for farmers, miners, and adventurous off-road types who are not fussed about creature comforts.

At $80,996, it skips some family-friendly features but retains the ruggedness and construction Land Cruiser owners expect. For commercial operators doing it tough, that compromise is worthwhile.

Standard inclusions are:

  • Halogen headlights
  • 17-inch steel wheels
  • Rear barn doors
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Manual air-con
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen

Metallic paint is the only factory option offered on the GX for $600. It’s an honest, value-focused Land Cruiser focused purely on durability and off-road performance without the frills.

GXL Model Overview

Priced at $89,184, the GXL brings more comfort, liveability, and tech over the Spartan GX. This makes it popular with large families who frequently head off-road.

Added features over the GX include:

  • LED headlights with fog lamps
  • Reversing camera
  • Leather accented seats
  • Front parking sensors
  • Smart key entry and start

Available options include a snorkel ($500) for deeper water wading and a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System ($3,250) for improved handling on-road and off-road.

It’s the pick for most buyers seeking a family-friendly ‘Cruiser combining creature comforts with rugged construction and strong off-road credentials straight from the factory.

VX Model Overview

For those with bigger budgets, the $105,449 VX adds more luxury and family-friendly technologies over the GXL. It’s the pick for buyers prioritizing interior appointments while retaining true off-road capabilities.

Extra features over the GXL:

  • Bi-LED headlights with auto high-beam
  • 9-speaker JBL sound system
  • Four-zone climate control
  • Heated/cooled front seats

The VX brings a higher level of safety, too thanks to the following:

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear-cross traffic alert
  • Front and rear parking sensors with automated braking

For most buyers, the VX hits the sweet spot, blending rugged Land Cruiser foundations with cutting-edge tech and luxury features befitting its price.

Sahara Model Overview

A Red Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series
A Red Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series

Topping the range at $135,259 is the swanky Sahara – the most urbane iteration of the Land Cruiser formula prioritizing comfort over capability.

Though rugged at its core, the Sahara adds:

  • Premium leather upholstery
  • Massaging front seats
  • 11.6-inch rear displays
  • Four-zone climate control
  • 19-speaker JBL sound

It brings the full suite of driver assistance tech, too:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane departure warning

The Sahara is built for longer highway journeys rather than intense off-roading. Its lavish features and elegant design have wide appeal for those wanting Land Cruiser credibility without the Spartan finishes.

Performance and Drivetrain

All 200 Series Land Cruiser models share the same 4.5L twin-turbo V8 diesel engine producing 200kW and 650Nm – enough grunt for towing up to 3.5 tonnes. It’s paired with a smooth-shifting 6-speed auto transmission.

Importantly, the Land Cruiser retains its body-on-frame construction (unlike mainstream SUVs) with rugged rear live axle, 4-wheel independent suspension, and three diff locks delivering sand, mud, and rock-crawling capability that’s the stuff of legend.

It may lack the on-road dynamics of lighter crossover SUVs, but few can match the Land Cruiser’s workhorse dependability and go-anywhere assurance. Its old-school charm is a key part of this icon’s appeal.

Off-Road Technology

Central to the Land Cruiser’s legendary off-road credentials are proper four-wheel drive hardware and trick features getting you through the tough stuff:

Low Range Transfer Case – This extra low gearing delivers tremendous torque for crawling over obstacles at a walking pace. Engaged via a console dial.

Center Differential Lock – Brakes slipping wheels to send drive torque only through wheels with grip. Flicked via a dash button.

Rear Differential Lock – Similarly improves traction by locking the rear axle, allowing equal torque to both rear wheels, which are also engaged via a cabin switch.

Together, they transform traction on loose surfaces like sand, mud, and snow where ordinary SUVs would struggle.

Safety Credentials

With a heavy focus on rural and remote area use, Land Cruiser safety credentials are paramount. All models have:

  • Stability control
  • Trailer sway control
  • Hill-start assist
  • Multi-terrain anti-lock brakes

There’s also a 5-star ANCAP safety rating thanks to the standard fitment of:

Airbags – Dual front, front side, driver knee, full-length curtain (first & second row on GX; first, second & third rows on all other grades)

Blind Spot Monitor – Standard on VX and Sahara (alerts you to vehicles in adjacent lanes)

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert – Also standard on VX & Sahara (alerts you to oncoming vehicles when reversing out of parking spots)

Active safety is bolstered by excellent all-round visibility thanks to the tall, boxy dimensions – important for spotting potential hazards.

Comfort and Convenience

A Black Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series
A Black Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series

Despite its rugged construction, the 200 Series Land Cruiser delivers surprising comfort and family-friendly versatility. Available features include:

8 Seats – Via 40/20/40 split-fold second row and 50/50 split-fold third row

Quad-Zone Climate Control – Standard on VX and Sahara enabling personalized temperature zones

14-Way Power Driver’s Seat – Standard on VX and Sahara models, including lumbar adjustment

Heated/Cooled Front Seats – Standard on Sahara; optional on VX

Massaging Front Seats – Exclusive to Sahara grade

Rear Seat Entertainment – Twin 11.6-inch screens mounted to front headrests allow passengers to watch BluRay DVDs via provided headphones

The Land Cruiser may not offer the latest gadgets or digital interfaces – but it nails the basics, delivering comfort and space for extended remote travel wherever your adventures take you.

Towing Ability

Thanks to its body-on-frame construction, rugged rear live axle suspension, and stout V8 turbo diesel producing 650Nm, the Land Cruiser has mighty towing capacities that suit those needing to haul heavy loads.

Maximum braked towing across the range is 3500kg – enough for a decent-sized caravan, horse float, boat, or trailer with ease. It can also handle 750kg unbraked, which covers smaller trailers.

Helper features include:

Trailer Sway Control – Uses selective brake force to help stabilize trailer movements in windy conditions or tight turns.

Downhill Assist Control – Automatically maintains a safe, low speed down steep descents, reducing manual brake input.

Crawl Control – Allows you to set an ultra-low constant speed (from 1km/h up to 20km/h) so you can take your mind off the throttle and just steer through extreme off-road obstacles.

Conclusion

The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series represents the end of an era – the last of the V8 diesel-powered icons. Its departure makes way for a new hybrid era with the imminent Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series.

Across fifteen distinguished years roaming Australia’s outback, the 200 Series has cemented its status as one of the most admired and flawless family 4×4 wagons ever produced. Blending bulletproof construction with cutting-edge comforts, it’s a hallmark of quality and off-road pedigree.

Now faced with extinction, there’s never been a better time to join the Land Cruiser tribe. Its virtues endure, providing go-anywhere reassurance and value retention that most rivals simply can’t match. A legend is worthy of a place in any garage.

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