The Toyota Land Cruiser V8 has been given a mid-life update for the 2012 model year.
Visual tweaks include a restyled front bumper and grille, new xenon headlights and LED rear lights, while the door mirrors now incorporate LED side repeaters and side-view cameras.
Toyota has also improved the Land Cruiser's already formidable off-road ability by adding a host of new driver aids. These include adjustable terrain settings and Crawl Control for inclines and descents, as well as a tyre-angle display and speed-sensitive power steering with an off-road setting.
Those who do most of their driving on road will probably be more interested in the new Turn-Assist system, which reduces the turning circle.
As with the previous model, only one engine is available: a 4.5-litre V8 diesel that now has a diesel particulate filter and new fuel injectors to help it meet the latest European emissions standards. CO2 has been reduced from 270g/km to 250g/km, while average fuel economy is up from 27.7mpg to 29.7mpg.
What's the 2012 Land Cruiser V8 like to drive?
With five terrain settings, Crawl Control, ride height adjustment and low-ratio gears, the Land Cruiser should be excellent in the rough stuff.
However, it's also surprisingly good on the motorway; wind noise is well controlled, despite the tall body and extremely large door mirrors, although the large tyres generate quite a bit of road noise.
The diesel engine is very smooth at cruising speeds, too, and V8 fans will like the rorty sound it makes at higher revs. Given that the Land Cruiser V8 weighs 2.7 tonnes, acceleration is reasonably strong.
Sadly, the steering is desperately slow and there's far too much body roll, so you won't want to drive the car hard. It rides well at lower speeds, soaking up most potholes in its path, but things become unsettled on faster roads.
The six-speed automatic gearbox could be quicker, and it holds on to lower gears for too long.
Due to the Land Cruiser's massive proportions, urban driving can be difficult, even though the elevated driving position provides an excellent view of the road ahead.
Negotiating multi-storey car parks and tight B-roads can be another challenge, but Toyota's Multi Terrain Monitor, which is designed for off-roading, doubles up as a parking aid because its four cameras show kerbs and other cars.
What's the 2012 Land Cruiser V8 like inside?
The Land Cruiser V8 is certainly not short of head- or legroom. There's also four-zone climate control, heated and cooled leather seats, and a coolbox in the central armrest.
A heated leather steering wheel, electronic lumbar support and a 14-speaker JBL stereo system are also standard.
The dashboard is solid rather than classy, with chunky controls that are clearly labelled. Unfortunately, these are spread across the width of the console, so some buttons are out of arm's reach.
The Touch Pro multimedia system is simple to use, aided by an eight-inch display; Digital traffic information is provided through the DAB radio, while the navigation system connects to Google Maps.
You access the boot via a split tailgate, which despite its size is relatively light to open and close. The rearmost seats fold against each side of the boot, eating into a large chunk of the space, but the load area is so vast that most items will fit with ease.
With the additional seats in place, the remaining storage space is still large enough to accommodation half-a-dozen shopping bags. Tall adults won't want to spend too long in the third-row seats, but space is acceptable for short journeys.
Should I buy one?
The Land Cruiser V8 can ferry passengers across deserts, through rivers and over mountains, but its sheer size means it isn't really suited to UK roads.
At £63,910, it isn't cheap, either, and fuel economy is abysmal. If you need a serious off-roader, the rival Range Rover is similarly capable off road, and much more refined on it.
What Car? says…
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