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Toyota Land Cruiser 200, Inkosi Africa

18.11.2015

MANY off-road SUV vehicles that are available on showroom floors and cost in excess of one million Rand, tend to have big, low profile rims; they have sporty body kits and twin turbocharged performance engines. Toyota, on the other hand, has stuck to the ways of old, the ways that made it an icon here on the African Continent since 1957. I headed off to Namibia to sample the latest Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series in some of the most majestic places on earth… the Namib Desert.

Those big features

The Land Cruiser body is new from the A-pillar forward. It's a whole new look for this iconic vehicle, with the bumper, grille, projector-beam LED low and high beam headlights, headlight cleaners and integrated Land Cruiser logo, all contributing to the new design signature. The distinctive power bulges allude to what lies beneath. At the rear, a new set of taillights with a light-tube design and LED brake lights feature on the VX model. The GX makes do with a barn door-like rear door system. There is also chrome body side mouldings embossed with the Land Cruiser logo and new-design 18-inch alloy wheels, which help accentuate the Land Cruiser's muscular profile.

Interior accommodation

The best word to describe the interior has to be the word ‘vast’ because it is very spacious. The 200 VX and GX models both offer a standard seven-seat configuration. The GX model makes do with the bare minimum in terms of spec level. One can expect cloth covered seats, a small touch screen, radio/CD with Bluetooth and USB connectivity with GPS functionality. There is also an aircon system.

The VX on the other hand gets all the comfort features one needs to make their journey as blissful as possible. Ventilated electrically adjustable seats, a centre console fridge, a large nine-inch built-in touch screen, which controls the media interface as well as the climate controls. It also gives drivers the option of viewing the car’s surroundings via cameras placed around the car. Furthermore, the system can provide information on various components of the car, like air filter and brake-pad life as well as other service information. The VX also includes items such as adaptive cruise control and parking sensors.

The all-conquering drive

The Land Cruiser 200 series is fitted with a powerful 4.5-litre turbocharged diesel V8. This equates to a 173kW/615Nm output. Power is sent to the wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Both the VX and GX offer a soft ride; they float over undulations with ease. The key to the Land Cruiser's off-pavement competence is suspension articulation, facilitated by long-wheel travel. On the VX model, the suspension has some high-tech hydraulic help as well. It features a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which hydraulically adjusts the lean resistance provided by the stabilizer bars, reducing it for off-road driving to help minimize any tendency for wheel lift.

Off-road capabilities

This is a Land Cruiser so it will most likely go where you point its large chrome nose. Both the GX and VX benefit for a push-button drive select mode and permanent all-wheel-drive as well as a limited-slip-locking centre differential to distribute torque 40:60 front-to-rear. The GX makes do with a basic system whereas the VX features Toyota’s multi-terrain select, which allows more-than-normal wheel slip in loose terrain, such as mud and sand.

Low range is a given and both cars are fitted with a Crawl Control function, which regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the vehicle forward or reverse at one of five driver-selectable low-speed settings. Crawl Control, when engaged, allows the driver to focus on steering without also having to modulate the throttle or brake pedals.

Verdict

The Toyota Land Cruiser in both GX and VX guise continue to uphold the name that is Land Cruiser. The GX, even though it feels somewhat utilitarian will make light work of any situation. The VX on the other hand will get you where you need to be in opulent comfort, be it to the office, or when you decide to cross the Namib Desert.

Pricing:

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 4.5 GX - R850 000

Toyota Land Cruiser 200 4.5 VX - R1 141 700

Prices include a five-year/90 000km service plan is included with a three-year/100 000km warranty.

 

Article written by Justin Jacobs
18.11.2015
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