Toyota has a solid off-road reputation, says Ed Coles, and this capacious three-tonne workhorse ticks many boxes for the rural workforce
The Toyota Land Cruiser has been at the forefront of Toyota’s off-road range since 1951 and has proved itself a formidable vehicle in which to cruise the land, be it tarmac, mud or rock. The big beast we’re playing with this month is the Land Cruiser 2.8 diesel long wheelbase LCV Active, which is the slightly higher-specification version.
First impressions of the Toyota Land Cruiser
My first impression is that it looks like it will go anywhere. It is stylish, yet has a certain ruggedness about it. The silhouette is somewhat smoother than the original but that doesn’t diminish it. It looks rather smart in the metallic grey, and the six-spoke 17in wheels and blacked-out windows set it off a treat. Nineteen- inch wheels are available as an option. The front view is elegantly beastie with its large front grille and bonnet.
Under the bonnet lies a 2.8 four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, which produces 174bhp and 450Nm of torque, more than enough power to haul the nearly three-tonne workhorse about. A six-speed automatic gearbox supplies the permanent 4×4 running gear; a manual six-speed is also available but in the Utility specification.
Crouching down, it’s clear that ground clearance is not going to be an issue for the mighty Toyota Land Cruiser, with 215mm separating floor and road and a wading depth of 700mm. There are a few glimpses of the robust double wishbone suspension, so bring on some lumps and bumps.
Just like Toyota’s off-road reputation, it all looks very solid, and I’m confident in the Land Cruiser’s potential with its lockable differential and rugged rear axle. On the rear we have a four-link suspension set-up with a lateral rod. The overall size of the rear axle basically shouts, “I can handle anything you can throw at me.”
On opening the boot, the first thing you notice is that someone’s pinched the rear seats. But worry not, this Land Cruiser is the Commercial version. With a raised bed and safety bulkhead there is a massive amount of space in the back. Using the Shooting Times standard unit of measurement, I’d say 25-plus full bags of wheat. That’s more than enough room for a full pallet of game feed with space to throw a few tools of the trade, though the maximum payload is three-quarters of a tonne.
The rear passenger doors still open so loading up is not a problem, and the rear glass opens up too. The rear passenger windows do not open but the automatic dual-zone air-conditioning makes up for that.
Toyota Land Cruiser specifications
The interior is stylish yet understated. Functionality and comfort are catered for and it has just the right amount of kit. The Land Cruiser comes in two specifications — Utility and Active — both of which come with automatic LED daytime running lights and automatic halogen headlamps, smart entry and push-button start. A larger 8in central touchscreen in the Active operates the DAB radio and doubles up as the reversing camera screen. There are also audible parking sensors. Satnav is an optional extra.
The Land Cruiser is Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth compatible, and auxiliary and USB connectivity are easy to use. Essential gadgets include a tyre-pressure monitor, trailer sway control, cruise control, electronic lockable differential, hill descent and stability control, which can be turned off manually.
The controls are simple and user-friendly. The multifunctional steering wheel allows the driver to operate the radio and phone functions with little distraction, and a switch lets you swap between four-high and four-low. The automatic gearbox control comes with a sport mode and can be used for manual gear changes.
Cruising on the motorway is effortless; it’s not lightning quick in the lower gears but it soon gets into its stride and rattles through the six-speed gearbox. It’s all rather comfortable and long journeys won’t leave you aching. The handling is precise for a big vehicle and it doesn’t feel too much like a boat around corners. The suspension is quite soft and glides over bumps; it could be a bit harder but for on- and off-road balance it’s pretty spot on. Around country lanes the Land Cruiser feels almost sporty.
With my bird delivery imminent, it’s the perfect time to test out the Land Cruiser. Loaded with 15 bags of feed and as many feeders as possible, it made easy work of one of my heavily rutted woods, negotiating the tight twisty bits with ease. Driving over the stubble, you could be forgiven for thinking you were on tarmac. A real all-rounder, the Land Cruiser goes beyond expectations. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one.
The Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial ticks many boxes for the rural workforce. It is large enough to accommodate feed bags, feeders, tools and so on and certainly big enough to do the monthly shop at the supermarket. Ideal for day-to-day chores around the farm or shoot, it would also be a good choice for pickers-up. There’s added peace of mind security-wise compared with your standard pickup with canopy. Having only two seats might hinder the family lifestyle, but it is a workhorse at the end of the day.
Cost-wise, the Active I tested, which is the higher-specification option, comes out at a reasonable on-the-road price of £40,660, including VAT. It could do with the optional towbar kit, which is an extra £700.
Overall, the Land Cruiser gets a solid nine out of 10 for me, and I’m wondering if I can hide one in the wheat bill.
NEED TO KNOW
- Manufacturer Toyota
- Model Land Cruiser
- 0-62mph (secs) 12.7
- Top speed 108mph
- Power 174bhp, 450Nm of torque
- Fuel consumption combined 27.4-29.7mpg
- Gross vehicle weight 2,990kg
- Towing weight braked 3,000kg
- Towing weight unbraked 750kg
- Payload 750kg
- CO2 emissions 255g/km
- Insurance group 35a
The Land Cruiser goes beyond expectations. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one.