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Toyota Land Cruiser LC5 review

The Toyota Land Cruiser has had a nose-job. We take a spin in the UN's favourite SUV to see if it's as good as a Discovery.

"The ultimate luxury workhorse gets a decent dynamic upgrade"

What is it?
This is the revised Toyota Land Cruiser. Dependable, solid and oft to be seen in white, in war-torn lands with UN stickers stuck to its doors, the ultimate luxury workhorse has been given a thorough going-over to make sure it remains on terms with the excellent and also freshly facelifted Land Rover Discovery LR4.

What’s it like on the outside?
The Land Cruiser certainly isn’t the last word in style. This time around, it gets a big, grinning chrome grille, swept back headlights, flared wheelarches and that’s about it. The boxy shape has grown a little, although the wheelbase remains the same. But the slab-sides and simple, two-box shape is key to the car’s appeal, so why mess with a well-proven thing?

What’s it like on the inside?
The big Toyota’s interior isn’t the last word in modern style. But if you ignore the button-fest on the dash, and don’t get too hung up on just how incredibly fake the “wood” looks, the Land Cruiser’s inside is big, well finished and is certainly up to the task of hundreds of thousands of miles of abuse. All UK Land Cruisers get seven seats with improved flexibility of how they split and fold. Yes, the biggest improvement with the 2010 Land Rover Discovery is its interior, but the Disco’s insides just won’t last as long as those in the Toyota.

What’s it like to drive?
On the road, the Cruiser is pretty good. It still uses an all-steel body-on-frame construction, albeit stiffened by 11% this time, but this doesn’t compromise refinement, and noise is well suppressed. My top-spec LC5 car had Toyota’s Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system with Roll Posture Control. The system works well, keeping body roll to a minimum and giving a surprising directness to the steering. It’s a shame it’s operated by an incredibly fiddly switch that’s lost behind the steering wheel.

All UK Land Cruisers get a 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 171hp and, more importantly, 410Nm of torque; coupled to a five-speed auto ’box. The unit isn’t as powerful as the Disco’s 244hp 600Nm 3.0-litre TDV6, but it goes further between fuel stops – if you’re into your Bear Grylls-style remote adventures.

And it’s off road that the Land Cruiser shines. It has a Land Rover style Multi-terrain Select system, which does a great job of optimising power and braking depending on the surface. The top-spec car also gets cameras all round the car, including a really handy one which shows you the front wheel position. Until it gets dirty. There’s also a new Crawl Control system, which is like off-road cruise control, allowing you to set the car’s speed, take your feet off the pedals and just concentrate on steering while the car does the rest. It’s brilliant.

Verdict
The Land Cruiser isn’t a big seller in the UK. But while it might be overshadowed by the latest Discovery’s advances in style, performance and luxury, the Land Cruiser has an inherent solidity, quality and indestructibility that the Disco can’t match. I’d still go for the Disco though.

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Car Specs - Toyota Land Cruiser facelift

Engine:2.0-litre turbodiesel, 171hp
0-62mph:11.7 seconds
Top speed:109mph
Economy/emissions:34.9mpg/214g/km CO2
Price/On sale £44,795/Now

We rate:
Amazing off the road
Total dependability

We slate:
Feeling a bit dated
Engine not as smooth as Disco's

Rating: Image removed.

By Craig McAlpine

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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