The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 should be available in South African soon, following its international roll-out at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan this week.
Forging ahead on the redoubtable reputation of the Land Cruiser brand as no-compromise off-road vehicles, the 200 series synergizes a tough separate chassis with some contemporary all-terrain traction and articulation technologies. It is 60mm longer, 30mm wider and 15mm taller than the model it replaces.
The front suspension has been changed with a double-wishbone front suspension with coil springs replacing the previous torsion-bar set-up. Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) - originally developed by WA company Kinetic.
This hydraulic system, used for the first time in a Toyota, controls the front and rear stabiliser bars to provide excellent on-road stability.
New Land Cruiser petrol models feature the world's first "crawl control" system for driving on surfaces such as rocks, sand or steep hills and is reminiscent of hill-descent or terrain-response systems found in competitors.
Toyota's CRAWL function automatically controls the engine and brakes to maintain very low speeds with minimal spinning or locking of the wheels. It allows for delicate speed adjustments between approximately 1km/h and 5 km/h. Three speed settings can be selected by the simple turn of a dial.
A Torsen limited-slip centre differential can split power between front and rear wheels and is built into the transfer unit of the full-time all-wheel-drive system.
A newly adopted multi-terrain anti-skid braking system provides excellent braking performance even on dirt roads, gravel and sand.
Safety advances include the stronger body structure, vehicle stability control and up to 10 airbags - front, side and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, side airbags for the outboard second-row seats and curtain shield airbags for all three rows.
Ensuring amble power to explore the nether region of Africa are two engines, a 5.7-litre V8 petrol and a twin-turbo 4.5-litre V8 diesel.
The diesel produces 190kW and 600Nm should ensure a potent mix of power and range. Both engines are to be teamed with automatic transmissions, a six-speeder for the diesel and a five-speeder for the petrol.