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Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: It's large and in charge, the master of Africa

There is no mistaking the LC 300, and neither can you miss it. It's very big and makes its 'second' debut on local soil, after first being introduced here some 14 years ago. It's the new age of the Land Cruiser. The new design gives the LC 300 an angular look and offers a dynamic presence with a sense of agility. The front features a large and prominent radiator grille with sculpted rectangular headlamps on each side, that blend seamlessly into the grille. The bonnet features the signature Land Cruiser 'channel' down the centre. The rear features large trapezoidal tail lamps with stylised light guides which are complemented by large Land Cruiser lettering and the Toyota Insignia.
Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: It's large and in charge, the master of Africa

New engines


Lots have changed in 14 years, so it’s no surprise the LC 300 are equipped with new improved engines. There is a choice of a 3.5l V6 Twin Turbo petrol engine or 3.3l V6 turbodiesel. Both power plants focus on delivering increased efficiency, improved torque output and elevated levels of refinement versus the outgoing V8 variants.

In order to accomplish this, the diesel engine uses a host of technologies including a new dual-stage turbocharging system - which offers both low-speed response and high-rpm power. At mid-to-high rpm, the valve opens to direct exhaust gasses to both turbines, contributing to increased power and a broad, flat torque curve.

This helps the 3.3 V6 Diesel punch out 225kW at 4000rpm with a 'stump-pulling' 700Nm available between 1,600 and 2,600rpm. The new engines are mated to a new slick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission with low-range and diff-lock functionality. Fuel consumption figures around 12.1 l/100km for the petrol and 8.9 l/100km for the diesel can be expected as these are large vehicles indeed.

New line-up


The Land Cruiser 300 also introduces a new grade line-up, namely GX-R, ZX and GR-S. GX-R remains the utility-focussed model and serves as the entry point to the range, while the ZX serves as the luxury model.

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: It's large and in charge, the master of Africa

For the first time on Land Cruiser, a GR Sport (aka GR-S) grade will be offered which serves as the off-road performance model.

The ZX model in turn takes on a more 'image-focused' persona, with unique 20" alloy wheels, chrome detailing and luxury-oriented interior trim.

The Land Cruiser 300 range thus offers three distinct character profiles to choose from - Utility, Luxury and Off-road performance.

Specification upgraded


All models boast a comprehensive specification level including LED headlamps with integrated DRLs, keyless entry with auto-door-lock, park distance control, an electric parking brake, climate control with rear zone, power driver-seat adjustment, Multi-Information Display, built-in navigation, multiple power outlets with charging port, Crawl Control and Drive Mode Select.

The ZX and GR-S additionally feature power fold-down third-row seating, a power-operated back door with hands-free function, heated steering wheel with wood accents, JBL 14-speaker audio system with DVD playback and 12.3" screen, Multi-Terrain Monitor with Panoramic View, seat heating and ventilation for first- and second-row passengers, a wireless charger and tyre pressure monitoring. All models have Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality.

Off-road technologies


All-wheel Drive Integrated Management (AIM) combines the vehicles' key dynamic modules to deliver enhanced performance across all terrains. The Electric Power Steering (EPS), VSC, Brake Control as well as engine and transmission logic are all tailored to suit conditions via the Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) interface.

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: It's large and in charge, the master of Africa

The MTS-system allows the driver to select different terrain modes including Deep Snow, Mud, Dirt and Sand - to optimise vehicle performance and maximise traction. In low-range mode, Rock, Mud and Sand are available alongside the new Auto mode which allows the LC300's terrain logic and camera system to help predict the preferred driving mode based on inputs from various sensors.

Safety and security


Toyota Safety Sense is fitted to both the ZX and GR-S grades and offers a full suite of active safety aids with autonomous driving technologies such as Lane Trace Assist and all-speed radar cruise control.

The usual supporting functions such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert with braking, and Adaptive High Beam are also included.

Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: It's large and in charge, the master of Africa

Vehicle Stability Control, Active Traction Control and Hill Assist Control join Trailer Sway Control, Downhill Assist Control and the obligatory ABS, EBD and Brake Assist driver support systems.

Pricing

  • LC 300 GX-R 3.3D - R 1,283 200
  • LC 300 ZX 3.3D - R 1,765 500
  • LC 300 ZX 3.5T - R 1,797,100
  • LC 300 GR-S 3.3D - R 1,811,900
  • LC 300 GR-S 3.5T - R 1,842,900

Peace of mind


All LC300 models are sold with a nine-services/90,000km service plan with service intervals set at 12-months or 10,000km (whichever occurs first). A three-year/100,000km.

Warranty is included across the board. Customers can also purchase service, maintenance plan and warranty extensions from their nearest Toyota dealer.

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.

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