2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
As an icon, the Duden describes a "person or thing that embodies certain values or a certain attitude towards life". After that, the Toyota Land Cruiser has earned this title.
65 years ago it appeared as a sober off-road professional in the classic Jeep look, now it is on the road as a very elegant SUV. Over the years, however, he has not lost anything of his ability over hill and dale. In order to put the latest version of the “land cruiser”, which can cost up to almost 68,000 euros, in the right light, the Japanese set out an exotic test terrain.
Far off the beaten track, in the deserted desert of Namibia, framed by rugged mountain landscapes. A country twice the size of Germany, with just as many inhabitants as Hamburg. This is not about parking in tight urban spaces, about the turning circle or about brisk progress on paved motorways. Here the Toyota Land Cruiser has to master cliffs on the way to its destination, which even an experienced hiker would respect. The SUV, which is almost 4.85 meters tall by German standards, has always been known for its off-road capabilities. Now it is starting with a new look and with further improved all-wheel drive technology.
Toyota modified the headlights
In doing so, the Japanese designers wiped out a notch in the previous model that caused shaking of heads among cyclo-cross disciples as well as with the livestylers, who never leave solid roads with their Toyota. The large headlamp eyes with their "bags under the eyes" for the LED daytime running lights were supposed to provide modernity, but they looked anything but elegant and contemporary. Now they are significantly narrower, rely on a delicate LED "eyeliner" and harmonize with the bold chrome-rimmed radiator grille and its five thick struts. In addition, the designers gave the bonnet a very deep central bead that is intended to improve the oblique view to the front. The new face undoubtedly suits the Land Cruiser well.
The same applies to the completely redesigned interior with a 4.2-inch monitor, a separate control surface for the various off-road driving programs and a modern steering wheel. Depending on the equipment, the globetrotter sits on fine leather whose seat can be cooled at the push of a button and listens to a sound system with up to 14 speakers. A noble ambience, actually too good to expose it to the yellow desert dust that always gets into the car. Perhaps it is this contrast between cozy comfort and extreme skills in nirvana that has made the Land Cruiser so popular.
One car, two groups
There are two large groups that mostly make friends with the Toyota flagship. On the one hand, SUV fans who appreciate the advantages of the spacious, high-rise Land Cruiser as a comfortable motorhome, but who have no ambitions for adventure. But also those who depend on their car not failing under adverse conditions, that it is a real utility vehicle and that accompanies you through a country that is actually anti-car. Of course, Toyota has to live with the fact that customers mingle with people with whom a manufacturer does not like to adorn itself. Numerous television pictures that went around the world showed sinister IS fighters with their black flags always in columns of Toyota four-wheel drive vehicles. This caused trouble for the Japanese, even if they certainly hadn't chosen these users.
Fortunately not an issue in Namibia, the former German colony above South Africa. A playground for Europeans who like to dig through deep sand and pull thick, cement-like plumes of dust behind them. Take the narrow paths under the wheels where sharp boulders and sharp edges lurk for vulnerable rubber. Or crawling through muddy water left by a river that has almost dried up due to the lack of rain. Nothing grows here, but the few animals such as elephants or desert lions can quickly take cover here.
On the go with a crawl function
It all seems as if it was made for the capabilities of the Land Cruiser and its sophisticated technology. Example of the so-called "crawl" function. Activated at the push of a button, it lets the 2.4-ton cruiser crawl over obstacles at a preset speed. Just steer, don't accelerate. Five driving programs can be selected, so that the Toyota provides the best possible traction for almost any terrain. In addition, there is a camera system that enables different perspectives and thus conjures dangers invisible to the driver on the monitor. Reduction gear, limited slip differential, hill descent and start-up assistance are also on board. Competitors like the Land Rover Discovery or a VW Touareg all have that too.
For Germany, Toyota only offers its globetrotters with one engine. The 2.8-liter diesel manages with four cylinders and activates its 130 kW / 177 hp from 1,600 rpm. That's a good thing, because this is about pulling power at low speed and less about the left lane of the motorway. The six-speed automatic transmission (a manual transmission is also available) works properly with the engine, the air suspension ensures comfort and also enables height adjustment, for example when driving through water. In the 23-page price list, future customers will find numerous subtleties that have to be paid for separately depending on the variant. Distance radar, emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and reversing assist are just as available as full LED headlights or internet connection. The off-road assistants mentioned are only already on board in the top models.
A fully equipped Land Cruiser can be very expensive. But it offers its legendary longevity, robustness, pampering comfort and modern off-road technology. An icon that is more suitable for Namibia and similar areas than in the German metropolitan deserts between Flensburg and Garmisch. (Peter Maahn / SP-X)
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