Sliding into the driver’s seat quickly confirms that this is a very comfortable and spacious driving position with vastly improved seating. Its more supportive, adjustable, wrap around and heated. Toyota have long been renowned for quality in their internal finish and this is no exception with everything well positioned for the driver and all of the switch gear intuitive and easy to operate. The electronics and level of tech is now in keeping with a 4WD of this class and expectation while still being functional and responsive to what Australian drivers would want.
The large nine inch touch screen, smartphone integration with lay down charging, all round cameras, including a simulated overhead view, electric park brake, sublime 14 speaker JBL sound system and better integrated function controls on the steering wheel are just some of the array of improvements that are too numerous to go through individually.
Importantly, driving the 300 V6 is a revelation, especially compared to older Landcruiser’s. The feel and driveability are akin to something more medium sized with a direct and more responsive, agility. Matched to the seamless changes of the ten speed transmission, the engine responds without any real lag and is certainly quick off the mark. The braked 3500 kilo tow rating is retained and whilst there’s nothing to suggest that it won’t live up to being an adequate tow horse, it might take a year or two in practice to convince some diehard turbo diesel lovers that it actually does the job just as well.
I found the steering quite light and direct and an improvement on what was sometimes a criticism in past cruisers. Its handling on road instils a sure-footed confidence and the drive and feel is lighter than one would expect for what is still a large vehicle. Like everything about this totally revamped Landcruiser, the suspension has been built around a new concept called body-on-frame architecture with the redesigning of the double wishbone front and independent five link rear spring setup. By all accounts, serious off road testing to date is reportedly showing some significant advancements in off road capability, especially in the purpose designed GR S where standard diff locks, extended wheel travel, and further suspension improvements are a feature. No doubt 2022 and 2023 will see a lot more reported on the 300 going through its paces in rigorous fashion.
The combined cycle fuel economy figures touted for the successor to the 200 series is 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres. Even with leeway for varying conditions that’s still pretty remarkable for a motor that pumps out 227 kW of power and 700 Nm of torque but I reckon the driver’s foot might impact those numbers a fair bit particularly in Sports Mode and with the odd rush of blood.
The economy will certainly have played a part in determining the smaller 110 litre fuel tank capacity compared to the 200 series. The previous V8 turbo diesel was quoted at 9.5 litres per 100 kilometres giving providing excellent range with its 138 litre capacity but by all accounts it would seem the new 300 would lose only about 220 kilometres in range comparatively, on full tanks. Again, this remains to be put to the longer-term test in practice in the future.