Toyota Land Cruiser: driven - What's new?
Okay, there are some new high-tech features, but most of these are designed to boost the Land Cruiser's legendary off-road ability so, overall, the formula is much the same as ever.
At first glance you'd even be forgiven for thinking this was a face-lifted version rather than an all-new model. Look closer, though, and the bulging wheelarches, chunkier lights and bumpers, and more angular details tell you this is the latest model. It's a bit more modern, but it still looks, well, like a Land Cruiser.
No matter: this is a car that's more about substance than style. There's plenty of it – the Land Cruiser is a fraction longer and wider than before, although its wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) is identical to its predecessor's and there's the same body-on-frame construction to make it as tough and durable as possible. Off-road ability remains top of the agenda, because many Land Cruisers are bought in parts of the world where not getting to your destination is not just inconvenient, but downright dangerous.
Every version, then, has lots of ground clearance, a low-ratio transfer 'box, Downhill Assist Control and a four-wheel-drive system that'll keep you going over most obstacles. Top-spec LC5 models also have a new 'Crawl Control' system that adjusts the brakes and throttle to maintain a slow, steady speed on tough terrain or steep slopes. Just set the speed (up to 16mph), steer where you want to go and the car does the rest. We tried the system on some steep, muddy slopes and it worked brilliantly.
LC5 cars also have adjustable rear air suspension that provides different ride heights and suspension settings to suit various on- or off-road needs, along with 'Multi-terrain Select' (see panel, right) and even a 'Multi-terrain Monitor'. This uses four external cameras on the door mirrors and front and rear of the Land Cruiser to show an all-round view of the area around the car on a dashboard screen.