All-new Toyota LandCruiser revealed
The all-new Toyota LandCruiser 300-Series has finally broken cover - and it has officially dropped the much-loved V8 engine.
After months of leaks, rumours and occasionally hyperactive social media posts, the all-new version of the car marketed as "king off the road" was unveiled overnight in the Middle East, one of the car's largest markets.
With "extensive input from Australian owners" the 300-Series LandCruiser will replace the 200-Series that went on sale way back in 2007, bringing more power, a fresh injection of technology in a lighter body and better performance that will eventually include some form of electrification.
The latest iteration of the legendary off-roader that was first used in Australia during the Snowy Mountains Scheme construction in 1959 is due here in the fourth quarter.
"The new LandCruiser range brings improved design and advanced new technologies that advance its performance in all conditions while enhancing its comfort, convenience and safety as a luxury vehicle," said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice president sales, marketing and franchise operations.
"It is an indispensable tool that supports our customers lives and livelihoods by enabling them to travel almost anywhere - and return - in safety and comfort."
The big news is beneath the bonnet, something that has had LandCruiser fans engaging in heated debate - and in some instances paying over retail prices to get the last of the V8s.
The long wait will see the V8 engine replaced by a V6, a controversial move at the upper end of the 4WD category where bigger is typically seen as better.
But the new 3.3-litre engine smashes the V8 for power and torque, allaying fears that the new Cruiser would not be up to the job of towing and adventuring through Australia's remote and rugged terrain.
With 227kW and 700Nm it makes 13.5 per cent more power and 7.7 per cent more torque the current 4.5-litre twin-turbo V8.
Hooked up to a new 10-speed transmission the 300-Series promises significant performance improvements.
The 300-Series large off-roader evolves the design of the previous Cruiser but doesn't mess with the formula.
The basic shape is almost identical to the outgoing 200-Series although there's an even bolder chrome grille and slimmer headlights that have modernised and refined the LandCruiser look.
But there will be a sporty GR Sport model for the first time, with black highlights - including grille, mirrors and wheel arch surrounds - and a unique bumper.
Inside, there's a new broad infotainment screen high on the dash and touchscreens replacing some of the dials of the previous car. A Drive Mode dial suggests the LandCruiser will be available with different programs for varying conditions.
Riding on a new lighter, stronger ladder frame architecture, the new LandCruiser is "very close" in size to the outgoing model and uses the same wheelbase, although as with many other details exact dimensions haven't been revealed.
Images of the interior show three rows of seats, although the only pictures Toyota have released show a seven-seat layout, which is one less than the LandCruiser is available with today. However, that third row now folds into the floor, rather than taking up cargo space along the side of the car.
Chief engineer Takami Yokoo says the goal was to improve on the 80-Series LandCruiser of the 1990s, a car he says "has the best rough road performance of any LandCruiser".
Toyota Australia says wheel articulation - a key measure for off-road vehicles - has been improved and the 300-Series will be available with a new electronic KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) to disable the front and rear stabiliser bars. The 300-Series still gets independent front suspension and a live rear axle.
Key off-road metrics such as approach and departure angles "are very close to the outgoing model, depending on the variant", according to Toyota.
Technology will also play a role in the off-road improvements, with a new Multi-Terrain Select Monitor that appears to show a virtual view under the car to allow the driver to more accurately position the wheels over rugged terrain.
Toyota has also achieved significant weight reductions that are believed to have been partly realised by the use of some aluminium panels. The smaller engine also plays a big role.
Toyota says the new car has shed about 200kg, bringing the overall weight down to somewhere near 2.5 tonnes.
Toyota also made a big deal of improved on-road driving, aiming for "greater driving comfort" that includes heavily revised rear suspension to achieve "an easy to drive car that won't cause driver fatigue".
The drivetrain has been lowered 28mm and moved rearward by 70mm to lower the centre of gravity and improve weight distribution.
Chief engineer Takami Yokoo said many of the learnings came from Australia; in 2014 he took part in a drive across the country, taking in extensive chunks of the outback as well as the Nullarbor, Stuart Highway and vast coastal regions.
The LandCruiser will still tow 3500kg, a key requirement for farmers, grey nomads, families and the myriad Australians who haul big loads.
Globally, Toyota also revealed details of a new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that makes 305kW and 650Nm, the most powerful LandCruiser ever. However, given Toyota Australia dropped the V8 petrol engine from the Australian lineup in 2019 and did not make mention of the petrol version in announcing the 300-Series it's not expected to be offered here.
Down the track, though, the LandCruiser will pick up more environmentally friendly drivetrain alternatives.
While Toyota hasn't released details yet, the company has committed to either a hybrid or electric model by 2030.
Considering the model life of a LandCruiser is at least 10 years, the 300-Series will at some stage have electric motors doing part of the work that petrol and diesel once did.
A hybrid drivetrain appears most likely, although Toyota has also admitted hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle technology could be applicable to vehicles such as the LandCruiser.
Originally published as All-new Toyota LandCruiser revealed