One month with our new long term Toyota Land Cruiser VXR has made an impact on the company credit card…
|362bhp @ 5600rpm
|391lb @ 3200rpm
|Kilometres this month:
|Costs this month:
|L/100km this month:
Let’s start by addressing the 3350kg elephant in the room: fuel consumption in our new long term Toyota Land Cruiser is high. Really quite high. The lowest figure we – and by that I mean our resident eco nut David – have managed to drag from the 362bhp 5.7-litre V8 is 12.5l/100km. Hardly appalling given the sheer girth of Toyota’s flagship SUV, especially with VXR options in tow, but an average of 15.7L/100km means fuel stops have been more frequent, and damaging to the wallet than we expected this month. At least the 650+ kilometres range is a plus…
Aside from a gentler, less-leaden right foot, there are ways we’ve tried to bring that figure down. Among the four available driving modes (don’t ask me why a Land Cruiser needs Sport or Sport+) is Eco, and there is, admittedly, a tangible drop-off in ‘punch’ under acceleration as the V8 takes more frugal sips. The irony is that, combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s adamant about jumping into the higher gears almost immediately, this does mean you have to work the throttle harder if you want something other than lethargic acceleration. Best bet is to stick with Comfort, given that the Land Cruiser and its VXR trimming have proven quite a hit in this regard. Could we survive without the leather upholstery, rear seat entertainment package and chrome detailing, and pocket the extra couple of thou instead? Probably, but having a cooler under the centre armrest has proven popular.
These are niggles rather than outlandish issues though, because truth be told, there is a lot to like about the Land Cruiser. Those massive wing mirrors mean all-round visibility is very strong. The leather seats offer a superb amount of give, there’s bags of head and legroom (particularly for second row passengers), and though the massive transmission tunnel dominates the cabin, you never feel claustrophobic. Interior quality is top rate – up there with Toyota’s premium sister Lexus’ LX – the centre console design is ergonomically sound, and the touchscreen infotainment system is effortless to use. Unless you’re using the SatNav, in which case, good luck.
The behemoth has even got the thumbs up from our photography crew (and accolade rarer than most eclipses) given that there’s plenty of space for stowing equipment, hanging from the tailgate for those key motion shots also possible thanks to a smooth ride quality. Practicality does have its shortfalls though. We’ve largely given up using the third row seating, since minimal head and legroom makes it difficult for a full-sized adult to sit comfortably for long durations. The folding tailgate can be both a blessing and a curse – helpful when unloading but just a nuisance when packing equipment deep into the trunk – and while I’m sure the tow hook might come in handy, I’ve now cracked my kneecap on it so many times, it’s starting to become a personal offense.
Empty wallets and joint-pain aside, it’s been a solid opening month for the Land Cruiser. But how does the three-ton behemoth drive, I hear you ask? Well, that’s a story for another month…