Ride, Handling & Performance
Interior Comfort & Practicality
Technology & Safety
Value & Ownership
This is it. If the rumour mill is correct, this is the last of the V8-powered LandCruisers. It’s expected the next generation of the legendary Toyota will use a V6 petrol-electric hybrid powertrain.
Moving away from V8 power will be seen as blasphemous by some fans and essential by others as Toyota looks to satisfy the emissions regulations in markets outside Australia.
Whatever powers the next generation LandCruiser, publically, Toyota has said there will be no compromises when it comes to performance, off-road capability and towing capacity.
We all know electrification is coming, in the interim, fast and big rigs such as this will increasingly be frowned upon in some circles, but while the oil is still able to be poured, we can still enjoy the LandCruiser’s V8 power in its dotage.
If this is to be the last V8 Cruiser, it makes sense to head to the top, and as such, our tester is the 2020 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara which costs a lofty $120,330 plus on-road costs. No matter how you crunch the numbers, this is a very expensive car, however, when shopped against European models, a value argument can be made.
Of course, locally, the Nissan Patrol is an alternative to consider, however, the considerably cheaper Patrol Ti-L is only available with a V8 petrol engine which doesn’t garner much appeal with those wanting an SUV of these proportions.
Despite launching way back in 2007, Toyota has continued to add equipment to keep the 200 Series current. Standard equipment is where the LandCruiser Sahara easily trumps similarly priced offerings from the Northern Hemisphere.
As standard, the Sahara gets LED headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, side steps, leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, four-zone climate control, satellite navigation, privacy glass, a sunroof and a pair of entertainment screens for those in the back.
All the safety gear is accounted for as well with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, active cruise control, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Much of the LandCruiser’s pedigree has been built on the back of its outback-conquering capability when the road runs out. Toyota’s multi-terrain select, crawl control and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System all come as standard, as does a Torsen limited-slip centre differential and low-range gearing.
The Cruiser’s off-road prowess is well documented, so we’ve decided to focus this review on the car’s wider skillset starting with grand touring.
Long runs are where the big Toyota shines brightest. The miles fly by easily which convincingly legitimises why it’s a popular choice for those undertaking the lap.
The cabin is quiet and refined to the point it makes the related Lexus LX450d redundant. Everything just moves along in a dignified way which makes hours behind the wheel tick over a little faster.
It’s hard to ignore the presence of the V8 lump, when it’s given a nudge it effortlessly moves the Sahara around in a way that defies its 2740kg kerb weight. Peak torque of 650Nm is available from only 1600rpm which sets the right tone. That rush of low-down torque never gets old.
For a turbo-diesel unit of this size, it’s surprisingly refined. There’s no clatter, it remains smooth regardless of the amount of throttle input. The transmission holds up its end by putting all that power down in a way that balances performance and economy.
On the open road, the LandCruiser shows enough to justify its standing as the king of the road. It’s perfectly at home in a country that stretches as far and as wide as this.
In town, the story isn't as rosy. As a consequence of its size, the LandCruiser will never be at home when it's fenced in. The practicality that’s desirable to cart people and possessions on a cross-county run can be difficult to manage in shopping centre car parks.
There are a few other drawbacks that take some of the overall gloss off, the interior is well made, but it lacks the modern presentation and connectivity of more modern models, smartphone mirroring and a horde of extra USB ports should be expected in a family car of this price and size.
While we’re on the soapbox, the wooden trim on the steering wheel needs to go, and for such a large cabin with three generously proportioned rows, there’s a conspicuous absence of storage solutions for smaller items. This is especially noticeable in the front pews.
After covering a comfortable 1000km during our test week, the trip computer came to rest at a consumption figure of 11.5L/100km. It’s higher than the official figure, but a strong result given the mass we are moving.
Toyota offers a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty which gives buyers the confidence to take their time on a long trip and have enough warranty remaining to move the LandCruiser on when the trip concludes. The flexibility provided by a popular badge and strong resale only strengthen Toyota’s ownership credentials.
Buyers also get a capped-price service program that caps the cost of the first six services to only $300 each. The flip side of the calculation is the Cruiser’s service intervals are set at six months or 10,000km whatever comes first. By today’s standards, those intervals are very short.
In the range-topping Sahara grade, the price is a big ask when you consider the GXL variant with the same powertrain and most of the features is over $30,000 cheaper making it far more palatable.
If this is to be the last V8 LandCruiser, it’ll go down as a legend. Its character, capability and comfort level are hard to top. If a hybrid powertrain can deliver the same, buyers are likely to warm to it, if not, the 200 Series will be highly sought after on the used car market.
2020 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara Specifications
Price from $120,330 plus on-road costs Engine 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel Power 200kW @ 3600rpm Torque 650Nm @ 1600rpm Transmission six-speed automatic Combined Fuel Consumption 9.5L/100km Tank Capacity 93L main tank + 45L auxiliary tank Length 4990mm Width 1980mm Height 1945mm Wheelbase 2850mm Kerb Weight 2740kg Ground Clearance 230mm Turning Circle 11.8m Wading Depth 700mm Service Intervals six-month/10,000km Warranty five-year/unlimited kilometre
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