2016 Toyota Land Cruiser | First Drive
* Segment first 8-speed automatic transmission.
* Unique features such the Underfloor View and Screen Mirroring which haven't been seen before.
* Feels lethargic and extremely heavy.
* Clearly overpriced.
The Toyota Land Cruiser, the Pride of the Land, is an integral part of the UAE’s tapestry and has seen an ever-growing fan base since its inception in the country in 1955. Positioned as the ultimate family SUV, the Land Cruiser has always struck the right balance between on-road comfort and off-road performance. The only real hurdle in its path to monopolizing the segment has been the Nissan Patrol, the King of the desert.
The 200 Series Land Cruiser has faced a fair amount of criticism since its debut back in 2007. Blamed for being too bland, the Land Cruiser’s staunch physique is no match for the delicate creases that embellish the elegant outer shell of its rivals. In an attempt to retain the attention of its client base, the 2016 Land Cruiser receives a mid-life refresh, and ostentatious, it most definitely is.
With a large, protruding grille and a splattering of chrome adorning its countenance, there’s reason to believe the refreshed Land Cruiser has been influenced by America’s bulkiest SUV: the Ford Expedition. Harbouring a host of cosmetic changes, it is now more challenging than ever before to differentiate the Land Cruiser from its pompous cousin, the Lexus LX.
Clutching on to its newfound refinement, the refreshed Land Cruiser bids farewell to the tacky plastics of its predecessor. In an attempt to be perceived as an up-scale offering, the Japanese SUV welcomes dark walnut trim, plush upholstery, and garnishes of silver and piano black that inject a dose of flamboyance into the cabin. While it isn’t at par with its rival from Yokohama just yet, it’s a commendable effort nonetheless.
Having taken a rather bold step, the suited execs at Toyota Motor Corporation have entrusted the Land Cruiser with features that were once reserved for the Lexus LX570 – the jewel of the line-up. In doing so, not only have they matched what the rivals have to offer, but effortlessly surpassed them.
A quick glance at the extensive feature list reveals a wireless charging pad and a JBL infotainment system on the convenience side of things, while Toyota’s Safety Sense P covers the safety aspect with a Pre-collision system, Lane Departure Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Blind Spot Monitoring system.
With no surprises under the hood, the spruced-up Land Cruiser carries over the tried and tested 4.0 litre V6, 4.6 litre V8, and 5.7 litre V8, mated to 5-speed, 6-speed, and 8-speed automatic transmissions respectively. While the V6 kicks out 271 horsepower and 384 Nm of torque, the halo model pushes the figures to 362 horsepower and 530 Nm of torque.
Although equipped with an Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) to optimize torque across the engine speed range, the Land Cruiser feels lethargic and lacks the peppiness to get up and get going. A stark contrast to the Nissan Patrol that chucks out 317 horsepower in SE guise, 400 horsepower in LE garb, and is more than happy to accelerate into the horizon at a dip of the pedal.
Keeping the slightly longer overhangs aside, the Land Cruiser has not only retained but enhanced its off-road capabilities. Active Height Control and an Adaptive Variable Suspension work in conjunction to help the Japanese SUV regulate pitch and body roll both on and off the beaten path.
With prices starting at AED 209,000 and topping out at AED 325,000, it’s evident that the folks at Toyota have increased prices in an attempt to match those of the Nissan Patrol. A cheeky move, especially since the Land Cruiser has arrived rather late to the party, and while it may be the best Land Cruiser yet, that’s all it really is…the Land Cruiser with aspirations of overtaking the significantly superior Patrol.