The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 is set for local release soon, featuring both petrol and turbodiesel V8 power and coil sprung suspension.
Although the new model has been styled to hide its obvious bulk, the 200 it still nothing short of massive.
Despite being comprehensively equipped with all the modern comfort and convenience features you would expect from a premium class vehicle, it still rides on a classic off-road biased ladder frame chassis.
The roof section, body side panels and floorpan are made from rust-resistant steel, this is no aluminium lightweight, although there has been extensive use of a foam-type insulation in the body panels to deaden noise intrusion.
The interior provides comfortable seating for seven people in a 2/3/2 configuration. The front seats have a sliding adjustment range of 240 mm while the second row has an adjustment range of 105 mm.
Despite its larger dimensions (60mm longer, 30mm wider than Cruiser 100), aerodynamic performance is improved with a reduction in the coefficient of drag from 0,39 for the previous model to 0,35 for the new one.
For the first time the flagship Land Cruiser wagon relies exclusively on V8 engines to power it.
The 4,7 litre petrol engine is a development of the previous model for improved efficiency and emissions. This engine produces 202 kW @ 5400 r/min and 410 Nm @ 3400 r/min.
The diesel model gains an all-new, twin-turbo, 4,5 litre V8 producing 173 kW @ 3200 r/min and 615 Nm @ between 1800 and 2200 r/min.
By employing V8 power exclusively Toyota has managed to shorten the bonnet line and improve visibility, especially when traversing off-road obstacles.
Coil springs replace the traditional torsion bar set up for the front suspension of the new Land Cruiser 200, which might horrify continent crossing Cruiser traditionalists, yet should yield a better compromise between steering feel and ride comfort.
With the change to coil springs comes an increase in suspension travel from 200 mm to 230 mm for improved off-road traction and general ride quality should improve with the more contemporary design.
The rear four-link coil system is retained, but this has been further developed with revised suspension geometry for improved ride comfort and handling. Off road performance is also improved. Rear suspension travel is 240 mm. Approach and departure angles are 30 and 20-degrees respectively.
Off-road electronics wizardry
Cruiser 200 sees the introduction of KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) too. KDSS acts to improve both driving safety and comfort to suppress vehicle roll. In off-road driving conditions the system assists in achieving excellent wheel articulation for improved traction over rough terrain.
With KDSS, the effect of the front and rear stabilisers is continually optimised by an interaction between the two through a hydraulic system. When vehicle roll occurs the hydraulic pressure at the front and rear is equalised and the stabilisers act to suppress the roll action.
When the wheels on one side are raised the hydraulic cylinders on the front and rear suspensions stroke in opposite directions. As a result the stabilisers are freed up, allowing for a more level ride and superb stability in off-road driving conditions.
The 17 inch diameter alloy wheels fitted to the Land Cruiser 200 allow for large brake discs and calipers to be fitted for superb braking with resistance to brake fade. Ventilated discs are fitted front and rear with those at the front 340 mm in diameter and at the rear 345 mm.
A full suite of electronic driver aids is provided. Amongst these is 'Multi-terrain' ABS. In addition to the conventional anti lock-function that prevents the brakes from locking under normal driving conditions, this latest system is able to detect off-road conditions such as loose sand and automatically switches to an optimised setting for the given road conditions.
A VSC cut out switch is provided to allow the driver to override the system. This is used when the traction control element of the VSC prevents the driver from controlling the engine output when an increase in power is needed to help release the vehicle when it is stuck in mud or snow for instance.
Toyota's new CRAWL function on the Petrol V8 Cruiser 200 allows for three distinct speed settings for conditions that range from rocky terrain through loose rubble on a downhill slope to snow and mud or loose gravel.
It allows the driver to rely on the vehicle to maintain a set speed, Lo (1km/h), Mid (3km/h), and Hi (5 km/h), leaving him to focus purely on the steering. The CRAWL function will disengage if the vehicle speed rises above 10 km/h.