Toyota Land Cruiser LC300

The Master of Sandton

After 14 years Toyota finally presented a new Land Cruiser, the LC300. In two versions: a road-orientated big-grilled show car, the ZX, and a more off roady GR-S. GQ experienced both of them to find out whether they are still the masters of Africa.

If you ask people, even those not very much interested in cars ‘What is a real 4×4?’, they will most probably come up with: Mercedes G wagon, Land Rover Defender, Jeep Wrangler and yes, the Toyota Land Cruiser. Latter has a heritage of 70 years, being the master of Africa and uncrowned king of off roaders. And it is the number one Toyota SUV. In fact with 300 000 Land Cruisers sold worldwide each year, the most successful real 4×4 on earth.

But is the first new Land Cruiser model in 14 years still the master of Africa. Well, there are two different models available in South Africa: the fancy and flashy ZX with a huge grille and 20inch wheels, which is clearly designed for its main markets: the US of A and the Emirates. It is the Land Cruiser light and can do the odd dirt road, but is definitely more at home in Sandton or on Camps Bay Boulevard.

The higher specced GR-S version of the LC300, with leather and GR-S stickers everywhere, plus 18inch wheels, is more capable off road, but still restricted by its large running boards below the doors. They reduce the ground clearance significantly and make rock crawling difficult.

ENGINE

3.5-l. V6 petrol/3.3-l. V6 turbo diesel, both paired with an 8-speed auto

POWER

305/225kW and 650/700Nm

TOP SPEED

210 km/h

Don’t get me wrong, both cars have a new multi-terrain select system with all the bells and whistles, from diff locks to crawl mode, to do any kind of off road, but are restricted by their body add-ons. There is a third model as well. A base version for overlanders and adventurers, the V6 33.3D GX-R. Only available as a diesel, but unfortunately not in South Africa. After taking both the ZX and the GR-S off road, I believe this entry-level GX-R would be regarded as the true successor to the LC200 by the huge, world-wide Land Cruiser fan base.

Back to ZX and GR-S. Still weighing a substantial 2.5 tons, both LC300s lost quite a bit of weight, about 200 kgs to be exact. They roll on a new platform, with a lower centre of gravity, improving the on-road abilities dramatically. Drive comfort and dynamics are en par with the Mercedes GLS range.

The new LC300 might have lost its mighty, naturally aspirated V8, but got some powerful V6es instead, a 3.5-l. turbo petrol and a 3.3-l. turbo diesel. But if you want one now, I have to disappoint you, there is a very long waiting period.

Tech Specs

Toyota Land Cruiser LC300 ZX & GR-S D/T (petrol/diesel)

Engine

3.5-l. V6 petrol/3.3-l. V6 turbo diesel, both paired with an 8-speed auto

Power

305/225kW and 650/700Nm

Top Speed

210 km/h

Price

ZX D from R1 756 500, ZX T from R1 797 100, GR-S D from R1 811 900, GR-S T from R1 824 900

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