Review: Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (2008 – 2015)
Unstoppable off-road. Very highly kitted out as standard. Superbly engineered and robust.
More expensive new than a Range Rover and nowhere near as good. Doesn't feel very upmarket considering the price. Wallowy on the road. Generic looks inside and out.
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Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (2008 – 2015): At A Glance
- Insurance Group 48
The flagship model of Toyota's range is the monstrous Land Cruiser V8 which replaced the indestructable Land Cruiser Amazon. It's built on a completely redesigned platform and is powered by a new 4.5-litre twin turbo D-4D V8 engine - hence the V8 name - which is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The Land Cruiser badge has always been associated with well-built, tough and incredibly capable off roaders. In fact this is actually the eighth generation of the firms' longest-running model and its go anywhere attitude has proved popular across the world from African deserts to duties with the U.N.
With the Land Cruiser V8, Toyota has taken the formula and added improved safety, comfort and refinement as it aims to take on the might of premium rivals.
It also comes with seven seats as standard as well as a long list of standard kit. But what will first hit you is its sheer size - it has the road presence of a battleship which means you certainly won't miss this coming down the street. Unfortunately the generic looks don't do it many favours and it doesn't have the class of other big 4x4 like the Range Rover.
However, it's incredibly spacious on board and it's clear Toyota has attempted to create a sense of upmarket quality in the cabin - everything is well screwed together and all the controls are intuitive and easy to get on with. Sadly the rather haphazard positioning of some of the controls, plus the lacklustre grey trim, do it few favours. Considering the considerable price tag, you'd expect better, although it does come kitted out with every gadget you can imagine.
Where the Land Cruiser V8 does excel is off-road. It's pretty much unstoppable and will deal with genuinely tough and seemingly impassable terrain with pretty much no fuss. It may look more luxury, but this version is as capable as the Land Cruiser has always been. This doesn't translate to the road though, where it's bulky and cumbersome and not an enjoyable car to drive anywhere other than the motorway.
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Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (2008 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 259–1267 litres
The cabin is very much focussed towards form and function, rather than style, but there's no denying the superb build quality and finish. However, it's all a bit button heavy and the centre console isn't well laid out with controls all over the place.
The same goes for the off-road controls which are scattered around. The main dash panel has switches for the downhill assist system and suspension settings but the diff lock is on a switch by the drivers' knee while the low range transfer dial is next to the engine start button.
Where it does make up for this is with the extra row of seats, allowing you to travel with six passengers on board. These rearmost seats offer decent space but unfortunately with them in place, boot capacity is cut to just 259 litres -pretty much pointless for anything aside from shopping bags.
Worse still, when stored they flip up against the sides of the boot, taking up precious luggage room. With fold flat systems prevalent on most seven seaters' you'd expected something more sophisticated from Toyota.
Getting to the back seats isn't easy either but there's better news for those in the middle row thanks to the superb legroom. It's equally as spacious up front and although the sumptuous seats lack support they are wonderfully comfortable.
The Land Cruiser is also incredibly well equipped with pretty much everything you can imagine included as standard. There's Bluetooth, leather upholstery, a reversing camera and sat nav - although annoyingly, as is the case with all Toyota and Lexus models, you can only programme it when stationary.
Standard equipment from launch (February 2008):
The Land Cruiser V8 comes in one single luxury specification and is equipped as standard with four-zone climate control air conditioning, independent dual zone rear air conditioning controls, cruise control, folding and heated electrochromatic door mirrors, keyless entry and start system, voice control for navigation and ventilation functions, a rear view monitor with park assist system, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and lights, electric multi-adjustable heated front seats, 20-inch alloy wheels, a 40GB HDD full-map satellite navigation, Bluetooth, nine-speaker sound system with six-DVD autochanger and leather upholstery. A premium JBL audio system which includes iPod integration and ICE (in-car entertainment) pack with rear seat DVD monitors are available as options.
Child seats that fit a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (2008 – 2015)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Toyota Land Cruiser V8 (2008 – 2015) like to drive?
Just one engine is available in the Land Cruiser V8 and it's a monster 4.5-litre D-4D powerplant which delivers a punchy 650Nm of torque peaking at just 1600rpm, giving it real shove away from a standstill. The 282bhp on tap means it's no slouch from 0-62mph either, taking 8.2 seconds which certainly feels fast enough behind the wheel, particularly when you realise it weighs more than two and a half tonnes.
Surprisingly, given all that torque, it's not as fast as you'd expect from 50-70mph, for instance when joining the motorway. The biggest criticism isn't the pace of the engine but how noisy it is. On start up it clatters into life and it's equally as vocal on the move too, so motorway cruising isn't as relaxing as it really should be.
The Land Cruiser's soft suspension set-up doesn't help either. Despite a new Adaptive Variable Suspension system, designed to give better ride comfort and a frame that's 40 per cent stiffer, the V8 never seems to settle down.
There's a variable suspension system with various modes, but none seem to work with the Land Cruiser very well. In comfort mode it wallows and floats while in the dynamic setting it patters over anything other than a completely smooth surface.
The vague steering is another letdown and there's precious little feel through the wheel. Along winding roads it's not very assured and often feels heavy and lumbering in comparison to other large 4x4s of this size. For all Toyota's claims that this is supposed to be a 4x4 that's as happy on the road as it is off it, it's pretty disappointing.
Off road there are no complaints though. The Land Cruiser V8 is an amazing machine that just seems to cope with every rock strewn road, slippery incline and muddy track with complete ease. It has 225mm of ground clearance and thanks to a Torsen torque-sensing limited slip centre differential along with a low ratio gearbox, it can deal with anything you can throw at it. Towing a horsebox across a wet grassy field is pretty much childs play.
Along with multi-terrain ABS - that can recognise any road surface and automatically switch to the appropriate braking control, it's also fitted with Hill-start assist control (HAC) and downhill assist control (DAC). Active Traction Control (A-TRC) is a system which maximises traction when the vehicle is in low ratio, giving the braking system stronger hydraulic pressure control.
|V8 4.5 D-4D||28–30 mpg||8.2–8.9 s||250–270 g/km|
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