What is common between the Arctic ice and desert sands, you may think? If you guessed “extreme” climate, you guessed right and to conquer all that abominable terrain, Toyota U.A.E. in collaboration with Arctic trucks have brought an extreme vehicle into the picture, the 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser Xtreme. We drove the biggest of them dune bashing bruisers to see whether it shadows the mountain of a reputation, advertised.
The proportions of the current LC are huge as is. Add to that, the boffins at Arctic trucks have bolted on some very pronounced 75mm wheel arch fenders, a 40mm high range suspension lift and 4 rugged 17” inch alloy wheels with 35” tyres that would look the part on a JCB or Caterpillar. It truly has the hulking presence of something that beats a bunch of half-clad co-eds parading in an open-top double-decker bus! It doesn’t really take brash boys to pull over in traffic just to have a glance at the beast for you to know that it is big, but you can expect a lot of that. Anyone who buys this will definitely feel more of a man, even women! Everything else just looks like meals on wheels except maybe its arch rival the Nissan Patrol.
This one, as on every 60th anniversary model has those strips of day-time running lamps. A nice touch! Besides that its all run-of-the-mill LC, something we all are familiar with on Middle Eastern road-scapes. Need I say more!
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
You can only imagine what powers this titan. No the LC Xtreme is not industrial grade and No! they don’t use turbo diesel engines to move them. The Xtreme we drove retains the mammoth 5.7-litre V8 VVT-i engine. The yanks might refer to it as a small block engine, but the Japanese are known to milk the motor rightly. 362 mechanical horses at 5,600 rpm and 530Nm of twisting force at 3,600 rpm at the crank is what you get, befitting the beast. In our foot-to-floor antics the LCX turned in a very commendable 8.8 seconds from 0 to a 100km/h and getting to 60km/h in 4.1 ensures that this is less of a trailer truck you haul around. In essence, it deliberates your sense for speed. It goes faster than it feels.It is imperative that I mention, neither Toyota nor Arctic trucks have taken the liberty (or responsibility) to calibrate the speedo with respect to the new and larger tyres which BTW is of 35” diameter. At a speedo indicated 120km/h we were doing 124km/h, at 130km/h it was 135 km/h but atleast at lower speeds the difference was less; at 80 it was 81km/h. Infact Dubai police turned paparazzi and almost made a celebrity out of me, 3 speeding fines in speedy fashion. Lucky for me the dealers picked up the fines (their responsibility by default) but I don’t promise you the same fate.
RIDE & HANDLING
The soft & high lift suspension, thick rubber-ed tyres and ergonomic seats ensure that you cascade around town making urban legends of large pot holes. On the flip side there body roll is an equivalent to a banking plane; be gentle with throttle and steering wheel. The dimensions cause large concern in traffic, taking U-turns and in basement parking lots, courtesy a massive turning radius. You could probably use celestial terms to describe it.FEATURES & FUNCTIONALITY
There is little to no change from the regular LC. It has all the goodies possible. Rear seat entertainment system for those back benchers, good to capture you’re children’s attention while you are at the wheel. The 14-speaker JBL audio system has very decent audio quality and to boot, you can plug-in your tailored-to-taste music into the USB slot or aux-in. It comes with a rear camera, a definite necessity especially when you park this machine of monumental proportions. Trust me leave nothing for speculation, to err is human. Besides the Start/ Stop button you also have a remote starter button on the key, just incase you want to keep the a/c running for those hot summer days. For general purposes a Dual zone climate should do just fine, but this one has a 4-zone control and draft is felt from as many as 28 air vents, a Guinness world record by itself. Cruise control comes quite handy especially when traveling large distances, saving you that extra drop of fuel and incase you do run dry the Navigation system works well enough to find you a petrol station, hotel, hospital etc.
Safety has not been ignored in this tank from Toyota. As standard issue comes 8 air bags including curtain and knee airbags, for use after the impact. To help you avoid the unfortunate is the Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist, Vehicle stability and active traction control; all of which are at the mercy at the sheer mass of this vehicle.
Wondering where to put that bottle of water, while you traverse hot desert country? No worries! Toyota has equipped the LCX with a Cool box.
We didn’t have the chance to register fuel economy figures but it is for certain that the added weight, larger frontal area contributing to increased aerodynamic drag and greater rolling resistance on the larger tyres adds up to greater gas-guzzling habits than the regular 5.7-litre LC.
PRICING & WARRANTY
The 2011 5.7-litre Landcruiser VXR-i Xtreme is priced at Dhs. 338,000 and that is a lot for a Toyota, even for a LC. I’m not sure the price tag warranties the purpose it was built for. Like everyone else, due to inflation, peer pressure and ingenious marketing catastrophe the LC too has become far fetched for the regular Ahmed, Usman or Abdul.
I look at the 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser VXR-i Xtreme as an exercise of technical prowess by Toyota in a clime and country of extreme. If incase, Toyota were trying to make a capable off roader, they should know they already produce a champion, the FJ Cruiser which too can be bought in ‘Xtreme’ trim. LC’s however, over the years have become too heavy and too expensive to be seen rambling up sand dunes at Faya, Bidayer a.k.a Big Red or Area 63. For road use however, we say the regular 5.7-litre VXR-i spells a promising deal for all the space and creature comforts it provides. Nice try though Toyota, better luck next time!
Engine: 5.7-litre V8 DOHC VVT-i
Max power (bhp @ rpm): 362bhp @ 5,600 rpm
Max torque (Nm @ rpm): 530Nm @ 3,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain layout: front engine; Four wheel drive
Weight: NA kg
0 to 60km/h: 4.1 seconds (tested)
0 to 100km/h: 8.8 seconds (tested)
80 to 120km/h: 5.8 seconds (tested)
60 to 120km/h: 8.2 seconds (tested)
Top speed: Are you nuts!!!
As tested: AED 338,000 (5.7-litre V8 – VXR-i)
As specified: AED 315,000 (4.7-litre V8 – VXR-i)
As specified: AED 273,000 (4.7-litre V8 – GXR-i)
As specified: AED 247,000 (4.0-litre V6 – GXR-i)