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Most underrated car of 2017: Land Cruiser 200

2017-12-19 10:53

Lance Branquinho

Image: Motorpress

Cape Town - It’s a myth, the idea of a million Rand Toyota. But for those who know, there is simply no substitute for the biggest and most expensive Toyota you can buy.

Land Cruiser 200 is an amazing business and South African success story. Despite its huge dimensions, making city driving near impossible, an old-school design which wallows around high-speed corners and awkward styling, Toyota sell on average about 100 of these. Each month. 

Think of that for a moment.

The luxury SUV market is greatly more crowded in 2017 than it was a decade ago. Land Cruiser 200 should never be allowed the success it achieves, considering accomplished rivals such as Range Rover Evogue and Mercedes-Benz GLS. But it does.

READ: Toyota SA updates iconic Land Cruiser 200

The design and technology might be a generation behind what European seven-seater luxury SUVs offer, but for those exceptionally loyal customers who follow the legend that is Land Cruiser in full faith, it doesn’t matter. 

The anchor of ‘Cruiser 200s success is a simple Toyota feature, not available on many other luxury SUVs: bush-proof reliability.


Image: Motorpress

If you require a seven-seater with all the cabin luxury of a limousine, to tour up all the way to the equator and back, Land Cruiser is the one. Its ladder frame chassis won’t fatigue or crack on even the worst of African roads and that 4.5-litre turbocharged V8 is tolerant of even the vilest diesel fuel. 

It makes no pretence to be a road-biased luxury SUV. There’s no performance driving mode and those 285/60 tyres roll on relatively modest 18" alloy rims; no option for 22s with a ‘Cruiser 200.

It’s massively heavy too, at 2700kg, but at least the engine has received an upgrade, with power boosting from 173- to 195kW, improving its highway cruising athleticism and countering the inertia of that immense kerb weight. 

                                                                          Image: Motorpress

The ‘Cruiser 200 cabin lacks for nothing. Powered leather seats. Climate control. Infotainment everything. And all of it riding atop a structure which is unbreakable, powered along by an engine which keeps running long after most other turbodiesels have been disabled by limp-mode sensors whilst attempting to be a true Safari SUV.

It’s the reason why Land Cruiser 200 is Toyota South Africa’s best-kept secret and by some margin the most underrated car locally. 

Misunderstood by many, coveted by most. At R1.3m, the waiting list is always full. Tells you something, doesn’t it? Million Rand Toyota, which sells 100 units monthly. You’d never have guessed. 

                                                                         Image: Motorpress

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