REVIEW | Toyota pulled out all the stops when penning its all-new Land Cruiser 300

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• Toyota's all-new Land Cruiser 300 has arrived in South Africa.

• The 3.3-litre diesel engine is one of two new engines debuting in the SUV.

• the 300's ride quality has been improved over the model it replaces.

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In 2007, the automotive landscape was changed with the introduction of the then-all-new Land Cruiser 200. The SUV impressed from the off and quickly garnered a reputation for being top-class at bundu bashing while retaining the luxury and creature comfort as Toyota's headlining product.

14 years later, the big Cruiser is replaced by an all-new model and a new family of engines, along with the '200' being replaced by '300'. The new model features a fresh design all-round, improved interior with all the bells and whistles, and continues to ride on an enhanced version of Toyota's celebrated TNGA architecture.

Following the launch of the brawny Land Cruiser 300, we got behind the wheel of the headlining GR-S 3.3D model for a few days. The SUV impressed on several levels and highlighted areas that could be improved on when the time for a facelift comes around - even if it comes in seven years.

Luxury interior

The Land Cruiser GR-S 3.3D is the top diesel model in the range, surpassed only by the GR-S 3.5T. In the GR-S, the buttons in the Land Cruiser 300's interior is elegantly placed, yet it seems like a homage to the practicality of the Cruisers of yore.

Between the front seats, two massive cupholders can hold the largest drink McDonald's has on offer with ease, while the fit and finish throughout the cabin is remarkably good. The leather on the doors' inner sills has been stitched with meticulous care, with soft-touch materials in all the right places.

The audio system features 14 JBL speakers, and the 12.3-inch colour touchscreen has DVD playback. But perhaps the biggest boon is the heating and ventilation for front and middle-row passengers. The two extra seats in the loading bay are electronically operated. The Land Cruiser 300 has a total load volume capacity of 1 967L.

Toyota Land Cruiser
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.3D

Powerful engine, impeccable passenger comfort

The new 300 is powered by a choice of two engines, one being the 3.3-litre V6 turbodiesel in our test unit. Power is an impressive 225kW, while the torque is even more impressive at 700Nm. It translates to the 2 620kg Sub hauling off the line with urgency, all without compromising passenger comfort. Even on uneven surfaces like gravel, the Cruiser holds its nerves. This can happen thanks to Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that links the wheels via hydraulically-supported stabiliser bars that work an absolute charm.

What we noted, though, was that the 18-inch tyres felt undersized for a vehicle of the 300's size. While passenger comfort was impressive and road imperfections soaked up without fail, the tyres do not exert the necessary confidence to explore the Cruiser's capabilities. The brakes, too, feel a tad too small for application in the new 300, with it needing a moment bringing the bulky wagon to a halt.

The 10-speed automatic gearbox is a real treat, though, and cogs to the next gear with confidence and surety. The ample gears also assist with the fuel economy, with Toyota claiming 8.9-litres/100km. On its 110L fuel tank capacity (80L + 30L), a theoretical range of 1 236km is possible.

Toyota Land Cruiser
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.3D

Wheels24 editor Janine van der Post says: Toyota's GR Sport models are all the rage right now. It's brought back some serious street cred to the Japanese automaker who has shown a strong focus on hybrid vehicles of late. 

But man, do I love a burly SUV, so the new Land Cruiser 300 is right up my alley. It's incredibly spacious, and while it has always demanded instant respect on the road with its assertive styling, Toyota's latest offering takes it to a whole new level. My sprog loves a super SUV too, and couldn't get enough of the vast room in the rear seats. She said it was as big as a living room.

The V8 engine might be replaced with a new 3.3-litre V6 engine, but when you have 225kW and 700Nm of torque at your disposal, there really is nothing to complain about. And, because it's a Gazoo Racing model, it's draped with sporty accents.

But, probably the biggest highlight for me is its fuel consumption. Toyota claims fuel consumption to be 8.6-litres/100km on a combined cycle, but I managed to average about 9.3-litres which is still impressive from such a mammoth vehicle. If I had the means to be in the market for an LC 300, this is the one I'd go for. 

land cruiser 300
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300

In summary

The new Land Cruiser 300 is a solid upgrade over the SUV it replaces. It's better - vastly better - than one could have ever imagined and rightly reaffirms its place as the ultimate all-rounder in Toyota South Africa's portfolio. Adventurists, families loving to drive long distances, and those loving big SUVs will find great favour with the new 300.

Our mentions on the tyres and brakes are nothing more than concerns that can be addressed when an update comes around. But, more importantly, the Land Cruiser 300 has lost none of the impressive ride quality that's made it so revered over the years. If anything, it's been significantly improved.

Price: Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.3D - R1 811 900

Toyota Land Cruiser
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.3D
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