Toyota Land Cruiser V8 review
Toyota has been in the off-road game for a full 60 years now, so the flagship Land Cruiser V8 should be downright unstoppable.
The firm’s original 4x4, the BJ from 1951, was your basic, go-anywhere all-terrain workhorse with few creature comforts. That was tough enough to drive 2,500m up Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji, but a quick look down the spec list of the latest off-roader shows it hasn’t been watered down any over the intervening years.
For a start the engine for which the car is named is an absolute powerhouse. With 282bhp and a whopping 479lb-ft of torque, the V8 is everything you’d expect an eight-cylinder would be bar one thing: it’s a diesel.
Exceptionally smooth and decently frugal at 28mpg on the combined cycle, Toyota decided it would lose no customers whatsoever by not replacing the old petrol unit from the V8’s ancestor, the Amazon. No complaints here: the official 0-62mph time is a hot-hatch rivalling 8.2 seconds and it feels every bit as quick as the time suggests on the road.
So there’s the required gumption under the bonnet, but Toyota has sensibly kept a strong link to the original 4x4 in the body-on-frame design. By building an immensely tough chassis engineers could keep the famed off-road strength that other makers have compromised with monocoque shells. They traditionally make the shift because it usually improves the road handling and ride comfort, but Toyota has included some smart technology to ensure the V8 doesn’t lag behind on that score.
For example it comes with active dampers that stiffen the suspension when cornering at higher speeds, and then relax it again when the car’s travelling straight ahead.
Also active (for which read intelligent) is the height control, which automatically raises by 110m for extra ground clearance as soon as the automatic gearbox is shifted into low-ratio for off-road work. Then, once back onto the tarmac and up to speed, the suspension lowers for better body control in the bends and improved aerodynamics (which reduces the amount of fuel consumed).