Test Drive - Toyota Land Cruiser part 1

22/06/2009 - 17:40 | ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

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Full marks to - Siddhant Ahuja, Shakti, akash, The Automotive India,  Adithya Arikere, Deepak Sasi

You all got it right! It is the Toyota Land Cruiser!

@niel - we will be driving the Fortuner shortly, so you can expect a report a little later

Recession or no recession, big, humongous SUVs will survive. They are like cockroaches. They can survive a nuclear attack and talk about it.

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The King of the SUVs makes even the most respectable and rugged off-roaders in India seem like its queen. The big bad Toyota Land Cruiser is here in India and Toyota gave us a few days to flirt with this V8 diesel monster which could take on anything in its path.

History -

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Did you know? The LC was incidentally designed by Toyota in Japan in 1941 after the Japanese military authorities requested them to make a similar vehicle like the American Jeep for their armed forces. However the Japanese are and were not the Chinese, so they used their knowledge and skill to bring out their own design. A design that looks nothing like the Jeep which it derived inspiration from.

So there. The Land Cruiser was born with traits of an Army vehicle. It can be labeled the Hummer, or the Land Rover of Japan.

First thing we figured -

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The LC launched here is the latest 8th generation model that is sold in other countries as well. Toyota treats India like any other important market and introduces cars that are not outdated.

In fact what we got our hands on was the European version of the LC. We figured out the GPS navigator was set to Great Britain. Now, we could hence easily learn where the Queen lived, or how Gordon Brown could go to work if there were traffic snarls in his standard route.

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The LC here is available in two versions, the one we were provided was the high-end model having the sunroof (which we don't know how or when to use) and a high end JBL DVD system and the ways and means around Great Britain, the lovely Sat Nav system .

When we first looked at it- Size XXL.. ok make that XXXL

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It is big; it's fat and its mean looking. Make no mistake; there is no soft chocolaty feel here.

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The long and wide chrome grille could have taken kilograms of chemicals and hours of chemical reactions and curing. Those big crystal headlights are the size of an average car's wheel track. This is one of the biggest front-ends we've seen on any Indian SUV, heck any SUV for that matter.  A head-on collision with anything smaller than a double decker bus could result in us winning by crawling and driving over it or through it, or both. You could play packman with it on the city roads.

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The SUV's headlight washer could cause a water shortage in your area (maybe that's why the sheiks in the Middle East serve coke to their guest instead of water?)

The brilliant thing about driving the Land Cruiser is the size of its windows. They are so big that if you drive with it open, and fast enough, you could be sucked out of it! The big windows assist you while parking or at a traffic signal. You start to appreciate these windows as they reduce the blind spots and compliment visibility.

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The doors are so big that two people can enter the LC together. Ingress and egress here is like walking in and out of a ballroom. The heavy doors need some muscle for working.

Another interesting bit is the door handles which have a soft feel when in use. Many big SUVs have door locks and mechanisms that sound like a rifle shot when deployed.

Exterior - You need a ladder to clean this thing

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Its big fenders nicely sink in with the doors. Though it is big, it is neatly built and had no gaps or irregularities. The Toyota quality is maintained, be it a 3-cylinder Aygo (which I drove in the U.K) or a V6 Land Cruiser.

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Wing mirrors are huge as they should be, blend with the front profile of the vehicle. The rear window has a quarter glass which helps in unwinding the glass fully down. Roof trails are standard here adding functionality to fashion.

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Arrive at the rear and the voluminous luggage area is easily accessed by the twin door, where in the top portion works like a hatchback, while the lower portion flips down for smaller items (images show it). Drive behind one and you cannot mistake this for any other car. The biggest badge we've seen on any car, covered in chrome, it runs from one side to another in capital letters.

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Split tail lights jutting out of the rear form is pretty cool, the outline of the rear if shrunk, would resemble a supermodel body shape.

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The rear surface area is so large that Toyota had to put two more stop lights on the bumper. This is not counting the small stop on the rear spoiler. Could a nuclear reactor generate the required electricity? A battery would just be enough for one fog light.

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The tires on this thing are huge, probably the largest on any car in India. 18-inch alloys encompassed by Yokohomas are absolutely essential for a car of this size and weight. Should I tell you it adds to the solid-as-granite look of the vehicle? Won't you understand that by just looking at the first batch of images?

In part 2, we touch upon the interiors and in the last part, we explain its capabilities on the road.

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