HomeAnalysisLand Cruiser 300 series a splendid giant

Land Cruiser 300 series a splendid giant

The all new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series is now on sale in Zimbabwe courtesy of Toyota Zimbabwe.

Packed with lavish fitment and technology that is ahead of the curve, the 300 Series is set to take on the bundu of Africa with some extravagance.

It is difficult for me to place it under luxury cars per say because it started off as more of a utility brand which has slowly morphed into a utility luxury SUV.  Luxury SUVs include Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, BMW X7, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, Mercedes GLS, Mercedes Benz Maybach GLS600, Lamborghini Urus and others.

It’s difficult to place the Land Cruiser 300 Series in this category.

But consumers do.

Whenever CEOs or business people are looking for status vehicles and they seek my opinion, Land Cruiser, Range Rover and Mercedes GLS models become part of the discussions and considerations. It then becomes very difficult to say these beautiful brawny creatures do not compete against each other.

The Land Cruiser nameplate has quite a storied history in Zimbabwe. From the rugged and tough as nails 76 and 79 Series to the Prado and on to the 100 and 200 Series, the Land Cruiser has set the bar for off-road capability that incorporates a boot-full of indulgence.

The new 300 Series continues this story, but Toyota have turned up the wick and the new large and powerful machine has raised that bar even higher.

The 300 is entirely new from the ground up, being built on a brand new TNGA platform that features a ladder chassis, a first for global architecture and sure to have off-roaders everywhere smiling.

The styling is a little more blocky than previous incarnations, but don’t let its squared-off design fool you, it’s as plush and luxurious inside as anything you’d find in most luxury SUVs.

Toyota may have dropped some naming designations, but it would seem that the entire range has grown somewhat due to the addition of GR-S livery and technical developments.

ZX Model

For those who will find themselves more city-bound, the ZX model is the plush, luxurious derivative that would not be out of place in a driveway in Harare.

Fitted with an ultra-soft and comfortable interior that features rear screens for passengers, heated and cooled seats all around as well as a choice of interior colour, the ZX comes in two engine options featuring either a petrol or diesel option. Buyers will have the choice of the 3.5l V6 twin-turbo petrol or the 3.3l V6 twin-turbo diesel.

The petrol option will deliver 305kW and 650Nm while the diesel will churn out 225kW and 700Nm. Consumption figures offered by Toyota indicate 12l/100km for the petrol and 8.9 for the diesel but as our trip unfolded we returned mid-13s for diesel and high 18s for the petrol.

GR-S Model

The new model derivatives on offer for the 300 series, namely GR-S, sees the cruiser get painted with the GR sports brush with the exterior and interior getting a splash of GR design products in the form of a model-specific front grille, GR badging, and GR branded interior paraphernalia. GR has also waved their wand over the mechanical bits and the GR model gets the new E-KDSS (Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System).

This system can actively engage or disengage the front suspension points to allow greater suspension articulation while off-road or lock-up to stiffen up the front end while attacking your favourite twisty mountain pass.

Both these model derivatives receive Toyota’s MTS (Multi-Terrain System) that allows the electronic brain to take control of the vehicle’s traction while you tackle everything from smooth tar roads to rocky mountain trails and even beach sand.

Verdict

The Toyota Land Cruiser 300 is nothing short of fantastic to drive and overly capable on any surface. It is incredibly comfortable to drive and to live in. The new styling and engine options will appeal to a greater audience at a substantially completive price.

If this is the segment that you are shopping in and the likes of the Land Rover Defender 110 had you scratching your head or the Mercedes GLS had you scratching your head causing a headache, then you will get more headaches when you add the Land Cruiser 300 into the mix of possibilities and options

No optional engine upgrade; elevated road noise; transmission lacks manual mode.

  • andrew@muzamhindo.com.

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