DESPITE an expectation there will be limited to no stock available well into November or even December, Toyota has officially launched the 300 Series LandCruiser down under, kicking off the next chapter in the legendary off-roader’s storied history.
Newly constructed from the ground up, the 300 Series takes the capability, durability and reliability of the iconic LandCruiser nameplate to new levels, while also making advancements in safety, comfort, performance and technology.
Key upgrades include a new 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine, a bold new exterior design underpinned by the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, and advanced driver assistance technologies.
As we’ve confirmed previously, two new flagship variants – the luxury Sahara ZX and the off-road-focused GR Sport – join the core GX, GXL, VX and Sahara range.
Toyota Australia’s VP of sales, marketing and franchise operations, Sean Hanley believes the new LandCruiser 300 Series will further strengthen the reputation of the LandCruiser in the tough Australian conditions.
“Ever since it was imported into Australia to work on the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme in the 1950s, the LandCruiser has become synonymous with tackling the harshest conditions our country has to offer,” he said.
“Equally at home in the school car park or the middle of the outback, the new 300 Series LandCruiser takes the comfort, safety and off-road ability of our flagship SUV to new heights.”
Underpinning the LandCruiser range is the first TNGA body-on-frame platform – which delivers overall weight reduction (around 100kg) and increased body rigidity, ride comfort and handling stability in all conditions.
All LandCruiser variants are powered by a new-generation 3.3-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine producing 227kW at 4000rpm and 700Nm from 1600-2600rpm, marking a 27kW/50Nm increase over the V8 it replaces.
The V6 engine is mated exclusively to a segment-first 10-speed torque converter automatic transmission that improves response and fuel economy while reducing noise, vibration and harshness.
Interestingly, in a Q&A with Australian media, the LandCruiser’s chief engineer, Takami Yokoo said the company would play a wait and see game when it came to the option of having a hybrid powertrain for their largest SUV.
“It wasn’t planned for this launch,” he said. Toyota has however made commitments to a hybrid and EV future, or at least more environmentally friendly one, which opens the door to such options as hydrogen fuel cell technology, like that found in its Mirai.
The new drivetrain package sees improved fuel economy of 8.9-litres/100km. Weight reduction has been achieved through a range of measures, including the extensive use of aluminium on the bonnet, roof, doors and rear hatch.
The decision to use the lightweight material came from Australian engineers, who helped Toyota Japan create the new 300 Series, as well as providing input into the powertrain, suspension and driver assist technologies.
The 300 Series retains the LandCruiser’s 3500kg braked towing capacity, but with improvements through greater torque, the new transmission and a stronger, more stable chassis. A tow wiring harness is now also standard.
The lighter construction has also yielded an improvement in payload across the range by up to 90kg, depending on the variant. Power is delivered to all four wheels, with a newly developed transfer case that reduces shift times too.
A lockable centre differential is also standard across the range. The 300 Series additionally debuts the new-generation multi-terrain select (MTS) control system, featuring six different modes for off-road terrain – five in high and four in low range.
Developed extensively in Australia, MTS offers dirt, sand, mud, deep snow, rock and new auto modes, the latter of which is able to intelligently sense the terrain underfoot and adapt the traction control systems accordingly.
A low-speed crawl control function and the multi-terrain monitor (MTM) system provides 360-degree and underfloor views of the path and approaching obstacles. Safety technology has had an overhaul too.
Features include autonomous emergency braking with daytime cyclist and oncoming vehicle detection, night time pedestrian detection, intersection turn assist and steering assist.
Active cruise control now offers curve speed reduction, while road sign assist, and on VX grades and above, lane trace assist with steering wheel vibration, have been introduced for the first time.
Other safety features on all grades include automatic high beam, a reversing camera and 10 airbags.
Inside, LandCruiser VX grades and above feature a new 12.3-inch touchscreen with enhanced display quality, functionality and smartphone compatibility, paired with the new 7.0-inch multi information display (MID) in the instrument cluster.
Seating for up to seven occupants (GXL, VX and Sahara grades) ensures the whole family can travel in comfort, with the third-row seats now able to stow away into the luggage space floor.
Along with the significant upgrade in features and technology, the LandCruiser’s cabin has been extensively soundproofed to ensure occupants travel in quiet comfort at all times.
The LandCruiser 300 Series is covered by Toyota’s 5-year unlimited kilometre, and for the first time, capped-price servicing for the first 10 services (every six months or 10,000km). These are locked in at $375 each.
When questioned about a switch to 12-months or 15,000km, Toyota management said it simply wasn’t on the radar with the LandCruiser, given how important it was to ensure the vehicle was well maintained and safe, given its role, often in remote locations.
Owners will be able to extend their warranty on the engine and driveline to seven years by sticking to the service schedule. You can jump into the base model GX for $89,990 plus on-roads.
The range then kicks north from there, with the GXL at $101,790, the VX at $113,990, and the Sahara at $131,190. The new pinnacle models are priced at $137,790 for the GR Sport and $138,790 for the Sahara ZX. All prices are plus on-roads.