Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Bringing Outback to the City; City Test for Toyota's Giant LandCruiser

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Bringing Outback to the City; City Test for Toyota's Giant LandCruiser

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Curry

WHEN it comes to stating the bleeding obvious, saying Toyota LandCruisers are somewhat good off road is up there with the Pope being a bit Catholic.

Many Australians' livelihoods and even very survival depend on their off-road vehicle, and the LandCruiser is by far the most popular upper large SUV available here, with Toyota shifting over 9200 units last year for a market share of 83%.

But what about its versatility?

I've yet to discover this perfect SUV all-rounder -as there always has to be some sort of compromise.

That's why you see Toyota offering myriad SUV options in its line-up to cater for nearly every taste. In the large SUV segment alone it offers the Prado, Kluger, FJ Cruiser and recently-launched HiLux-based Fortuner.

But none of these are as mighty as the LandCruiser Wagon (LC200). Toyota's big boy - the ideal go-anywhere 4x4 adventurer with cavernous space for cargo and occupants.

However, we wouldn't be rough road travelling on this test. Been done too much before you see, and the LC200 has more than earned its outback stripes over the years. Instead, this would be the gargantuan Toyota's city test. Not its preferred natural habitat of course, but many LC200 owners will spend as much, if not more, time in crowded towns as they will bush bashing.

But when you're 5m long, 2m high, 2m wide and three-tonnes heavy (with fuel and a few occupants on board), it's hard to be a saint in the city.

City bound

I was in Adelaide to compete in a stage of the Tour Down Under cycle event, and had brought along the wife, two kids under four (mad mistake, I know that now), a massive bike box, three suitcases, baby stroller and two kiddie car seats. A Toyota Yaris just wasn't going to cut it.

Picking the LC200 up at the airport, the first problem was obvious. Conventional parking spaces just aren't sympathetic to a LandCruiser's girth, so before loading in child seats I had to move it to the only available space with any room to fully open the doors.

The LC200's width was back in my good books soon after however. Two car seats in situ and there was still excellent space for an adult to sit in between them - a real boon for pacifying screaming kids on long journeys.

Then there's the boot. With the two fold-down occasional seats strapped to the sides, there's still a mighty 1276-litres of cargo space. Raise the boot door and drop the tailgate and the loading area is vast and easy to slide large bags into.

Even with all our stuff piled high in the boot, I still enjoyed decent rear visibility.

Our LC200 was the diesel VX grade (yep, you can still buy a petrol LandCruiser if you insist on living under a rock), meaning a before on-roads price of $97,500. Only the $118,500 Sahara is higher specced, while the range starts with the GX at $76,500. …

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