I bought this car in 2002 at three years old & with 39,000 miles. The mileage is now (in 2006) 92,000.
The car is easy to drive, comfortable, quiet and refined. Handling is excellent for a 4x4. It's better equipped than any rival. Performance is best described as adequate: never short of power, but not a fast car. Economy – I get about 17.5 mpg, but who buys a car like this if economy is a big issue? (If you really don’t like the fuel bills fit an LPG system.)
Build quality is top of the line. The massive reputation for reliability is deserved. However, it is still just a car. The main weak points include the starter motor, active suspension sensors, steering wheel adjustment motor. (I have experienced the first two items on my car.) Parts are reasonable and servicing costs are astonishingly good for a vehicle which costs £50,000 when new.
The Amazon is as big as they say in road tests and wider than any competitor (contrary to the comments of one reviewer here). The payback is an extremely spacious interior. After an Amazon, all other vehicles seem ridiculously cramped and confined.
I always enjoy a change and have tried the rivals, but the Amazon is the best of them all. Some come close, but my next car will be an Amazon.
I highly recommend this car, particularly the petrol version – a much better choice than the diesel (other than a small difference in mpg) – and much less expensive to buy used. Besides, if you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly!
From October 2002, the UK Amazon is the equivalent of the Lexus LX in the US - and it shows! We got one last month (with less than 30,000 miles) and converted it to LPG. The total cost left change from £23,000 and that was from a Toyota dealership. We get over 30mpg on LPG compared to current petrol prices.
Driving is perfect on- and off-road, seating 4 kids, large dog + mum and dad with ease, and it overtakes with a 1800kg caravan uphill as if it was on the flat! It has all the safety features you can imagine and the reverse park sensors make fitting into tight spots easy.
Voice control is useful, but we keep our TomTom, because the factory sat-nav doesn't allow for downloading the 2000+ UK LPG stations.
If I had loads of money, there's no other car I'd buy. Comfort, luxury, safety, economy on LPG and low emissions plus huge pullling power make this car perfect for us. The only other options were Jeep's Commander or the Land Rover Discovery 3 and it knocks spots off both of them. The 4.7 V8 is nearly silent and like riding a cushion of air with the active suspension set to max comfort.
It even drops as much as four inches to help Great Grandma get in.
I've had 12 months of motoring hell. I've never owned a Toyota before, but with all the good reports and buying from a main dealer I thought I would treat myself to the best. How wrong could I have been?
Having forked out £27,000 for a three-year old Amazon V8 with 27,000 miles on the clock, my expectations were high. Yet here's the list of faults. It stops like it's on square wheels at low speed, the engine revs hunt at idle, the air conditioning will not stay at a constant temperature, and the front suspension keeps raising and lowering of its own accord (interesting at motorway speeds)
Also, the auto box slips into neutral when slowing down to 10 mph then clunks in to either 1st or 2nd on acceleration depending on which way the wind is blowing. The worrying thing is that the Toyota main dealer where I bought this car has had it back countless times - it's been off the road for at least three of the last 12 months and they can't fix it.
Perhaps even more worrying, RRG Toyota actually said "they're all like that, there's nothing wrong with it". It's a real shame, because if you have an Amazon without these faults it would be a tremendous vehicle.
I've now done 85,000 miles in the Amazon 4.2TD VX and I've only had to replace one brake caliper and the cam belt tensioner which is excellent. It is very solid, very reliable and really roomy inside to the extent that my children won't let me sell it unless I buy the same again (but I would like a change).
Servicing every 4500 miles is a pain and it is not great on twisty roads as its bulk prefers straight lines. On straight roads it is almost silent and becomes a true 'Land Cruiser' With original Mitchelin tyres it averaged 21mpg but having changed to BFG All-Terrain this has dropped to about 19mpg. Great vehicle to tow with too and it glides over the roughest of off-road terrain.
This vehicle takes everything in its stride but it is not an exciting 4x4 to own.
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