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Toyota Land Cruiser coming to India
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[Image: cruiserweb1.jpg]

Toyota’s iconic Land Cruiser SUV has been readied for launch in India. It is big news for Toyota and the company has decided on a soft launch. Dealers likely to begin taking orders for the car in June.

The Land Cruiser is one of the last SUVs which still adheres to the ladder on chassis design as Toyota believes that monocoque construction cannot give the Land Cruiser true off-road ability. The fact that a body-on-frame design is also easier and cheaper to build and repair is an important consideration too, considering the car is sold all around the world.

The Land Cruiser’s styling a no-nonsense slab-sided design with minimal detailing. Squared-out wheel arches, huge bumper and the thick, chrome-bound grille give this SUV immense presence, but pretty it is not. Still, it has a reputation of being very solidly engineered and the styling does indeed convey that impression.

The Land Cruiser will be powered by 4.5-litre V8 diesel producing 282bhp and an astonishing 66.2kgm of torque. The car is already on sale all over the world, and this engine has a reputation of being a very smooth and powerful unit, something which will appeal to Indian consumers greatly. The monster V8 diesel engine is reputed to power the ’Cruiser to a top speed in excess of 200kph.

The engine works in conjunction with a six-speed automatic transmission (with a manual over-ride) and full-time four-wheel drive. The torque-sensitive centre differential can vary the torque to either the front or rear axle depending on the grip available, but not individually to each wheel. Up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the total torque can be supplied to the front axle. Low-range is selected by a switch on the dashboard, and the differential can be locked for better traction.

The suspension system features hydraulic dampers which can vary the ride height by up to 100mm. It also has three different settings for sport, comfort and normal driving.

The Land Cruiser’s body on chassis formula and 2555kg of weight results in a lot of body roll. Toyota’s KDSS or Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System counters that to some extent using a pair of hydraulic cylinders piggy-backing on the anti-roll bars, linked by a pressure control valve. Depending on the road surface or driver inputs, these cylinders work in conjunction with the anti-roll bars to help counter body roll during cornering, while also preventing wheel lift while off-roading. The ’Cruiser also comes with Crawl Control, which is something like hill descent control in other SUVs. With three preset speeds, the driver can focus on steering the ’Cruiser and not worry about controlling throttle and brakes.

While the Land Cruiser has justifiably built a reputation for being superb off-road, most owners are unlikely to really test the capabilities of their SUV. They will, however, spend a lot of time inside the cabin. There will be little cause for complaint as the company has decided to launch the fully-loaded Land Cruiser Amazon here. There is enough wood and leather to keep most luxury buyers happy, and the seats are reputed to be armchair-comfy, but the interiors are sober and designed to be functional above all else. It does seat seven in ample comfort too, although luggage space is severely compromised with all seven seats deployed.

Toyota plan to retail their Prado alongside the Land Cruiser which is expected to cost Rs 80 lakh, a big price by any standard. But the Land Cruiser’s unimpeachable reputation, built to last a million years feel and its off-road credentials cannot be questioned.

Of course, everybody knows what the Land Cruiser is all about, but with the Indian consumer spoiled for choice just how many will plump up that kind of cash for a Land cruiser when faced with options such as Audi’s Q7, Mercedes M-class, BMW’s X5, not forgetting the Porsche Cayenne and the Volvo XC90, have already been on sale for a while now, and all are premium brands. While Toyota does have a strong recall among Indian consumers, and for some the brand does have a certain cache, perhaps Toyota could have taken this as an opportunity to launch the Lexus brand in India. With the extra style and features that Lexus offers, it would be easier for Toyota to justify the price as well.

TOYOTA LAND CRUISER SPECS Price (est) Rs 80 lakh
Engine V8 diesel, 4461cc
Max power 282bhp @ 3600rpm
Max torque 66.2kgm @ 1600rpm
Wheels 18-inch alloy Tyres (F & R) 285/60-R18
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