Toyota has unveiled what it billed as “a giant leap forward in 4WD performance and technology” with its redesigned LandCruiser making its virtual media debut in the 70th anniversary year of the nameplate.
Due to reach major markets in thesecond half of this year, the new 300 Series is described “as the most capable LandCruiser ever, expanding its unrivalled reputation for on-road refinement, off-road performance, reliability and durability”.
The latest generation of this big SUV has a body-on-frame construction, something it shares with all previous models, the first of which was launched in 1951. TMC has moved to standardise one global frame architecture for its new and next generation separate chassis vehicles.
A 3.5-litre biturbo V6 is the petrol choice and it produces 305kW (415PS) and 650Nm. A 3.3-litre V6 diesel is also part of the engine line-up. This has outputs of 227kW (309PS) and 700Nm. Drive is sent to both axles.
The new diesel achieves noticeably lower fuel consumption and emissions, supported by a newly developed 10-speed direct shift automatic transmission and a kerb weight reduction across the range of more than 100kg.
A GR (Gazoo Racing) Sport variant will be added later in 2021.
Unusually, the new ‘cruiser won’t be available in the US. Nor will Toyota offer the 300 Series in most of Europe. The main markets will be in Asia, Oceania and the Middle East.
The replacement for the Lexus LX 570 will be closely related to the Land Cruiser 300.
The new range is built on a new TNGA-F platform with “improved suspension structure, increased articulation, fresh styling and current Toyota Safety Sense electronics”, according to the automaker.
Towing capacity is maintained at 3.5 tonnes.
The new model has greater body rigidity, reduced mass, better weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity.
In a world first, an available new electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (e-KDSS) provides outstanding off-road performance through a larger suspension stroke achieved by effectively disabling the front and rear stabiliser bars.
Other firsts for a Toyota vehicle include a new Multi-Terrain Monitor that instantly displays obstacles as viewed from the driver’s viewpoint and the adoption of a Multi Terrain Select function that automatically judges the road surface and selects the best driving mode.
New LandCruiser’s ability to conquer diverse terrain was confirmed by extensive evaluation by in-house drivers and drivers who have participated in the Dakar Rally.
In keeping with LandCruiser’s off-road heritage, vehicle dimensions including length, width, wheelbase and departure and approach angles are very close to the outgoing model, depending on the variant.
Features such as the bumper shape and placement of lighting components have been designed to help avoid damage during off-road driving.
Advanced safety features
The latest Toyota Safety Sense active safety package incorporates a pre-collision system that helps avoid a collision or reduce damage by detecting pedestrians (daytime and night-time) and cyclists (daytime).
It can also detect oncoming vehicles at intersections and pedestrians crossing the street when the vehicle is turning in either direction.
An emergency steering and crash-avoidance function, which assists with steering and lane-keeping, is triggered when the driver performs a steering manoeuvre to avoid collision.
LandCruiser was launched on 1 August 1951 as the four-wheel-drive Toyota BJ, which demonstrated a high level of off-road performance in adverse environments.
It achieved fame by becoming the first vehicle to reach the sixth checkpoint of Japan’s Mount Fuji – higher than anyone had thought possible in a 4WD.
In June 1954, the vehicle was renamed LandCruiser. It is Toyota’s longest-serving nameplate, ahead of Corolla which began in 1966.
To the end of 2020, a cumulative total of approximately 10.4m have been sold in 170 countries and regions worldwide with demand now running at more than 300,000 vehicles a year.
The tally includes 1.12m delivered in Australia alone, accounting for over 10% of all LandCruiser 4WDs ever sold including LandCruiser Station Wagons, the heavy-duty 70 Series and Prado.
In that early export market, LandCruiser was discovered during development of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme and its success was confirmed on the properties, mines and worksites of the outback.
The model also found early success in Brazil where it was locally assembled and marketed as the Bandeirante.