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Land bruiser

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Land bruiserAnother year, another Land Cruiser – but this one has two more cylinders and an extra half a litre displacement under the hood. GAVIN MYERS develops a mild torque addiction in the new V8 …

It’s lovely stuff, torque. Of course, I don’t need to tell the trucking fraternity this. The vast majority of our readers are used to seeing quad-digit torque figures from their vehicles …

But there’s something to be said for a lighter vehicle that can (or at least feels as though it can) move mountains. That sense of strength and superiority you feel when charging forward with a sustained shove in the back, or when you can tug a load around with such ease you hardly realise it’s there. Or, in the case of an all-wheel drive vehicle such as this, the ability to literally climb mountains at the mere engagement of the clutch.

Toyota’s latest Land Cruiser – the 4,5-litre, 32-valve, V8 turbo-diesel – has 430 Nm of it, developed between 1 200 and 3 200 r/min. This is accompanied by 151 kW of power at 3 400 r/min. Yet, I must admit to expecting a bit more grunt – especially with other turbodiesels around half its size developing not much less.

Not that we should kid ourselves – the Land Cruiser is a (very) large, high and rather square vehicle, so I suppose the engine could be forgiven for feeling a bit less grunty than it is. And it really is; you can pull away in second gear quite easily and a bit too much throttle mid-corner can – if you’re not careful – see the rear tyres light-up quite spectacularly … (Not that the 7.50 R16 Dunlops are the most grippy for on-road driving.) It is also wonderfully flexible in any gear.

Nonetheless, that large, heavy, boxy frame also has a negative impact on fuel consumption. Toyota claims 11,55 l/100 km in the combined cycle. The Euro-4-rated V8, though, has a sure thirst; depleting its 130-litre tank of 50 ppm at a rate only marginally better than we saw with the 4,0-litre V6 petrol variant, reviewed in February 2013.

That unit, along with the original 4,2-litre naturally-aspirated straight-six diesel, remains in the range. This is where an interesting question is raised: Is the V8 really necessary? The V6 feels as strong, despite being
70 Nm down on torque yet developing around 20 kW more power, and the V8 oil-burner is only marginally more fuel efficient. (And, on a personal note, that V6 sings a beautiful tune.)

Both vehicles are equally spec’d, too. The V8 features power steering with a tilt- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, variable air-conditioning, electric windows, a 12-volt accessory socket, remote central locking and a touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and satellite navigation. The dash-mounted digital clock also now has the added features of outside temperature readout, alarm and a stop watch. ABS braking and dual airbags are fitted on the safety front.

Our reservations about the available interior storage space still hold, and the load box measurements remain unchanged at 1 535 (l) x 1 600 (w) x 415 mm (h). The V8 has a 3 300 kg gross vehicle mass and 3 500 kg braked towing capacity.

To sum up, then, while the Land Cruiser V8 double cab presents huge gains over its smaller diesel sibling, what it offers over the petrol variant is surprisingly less than expected. It comes with a three-year/100 000 km warranty and 24-hour ToyotaCare roadside assistance, but, at R568 300 it’s also around R80 000 more expensive than the V6. That model remains my pick of the Land Cruiser bunch – my torque addiction satisfied.

 

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