The name Land Cruiser conjures up images of great open plains, towering sand dunes and imposing cliff faces. The Land Cruiser range has earned the enviable title of Master of Africa, as its legendary go-anywhere ability has been proven time and again across divergent terrain.
The Land Cruiser name has become much more than a mere model range descriptor, as devout owners and brand faithful often refer endearingly to their vehicle as a ‘Cruiser’.
The new 2015 Land Cruiser 200 builds upon the rock solid foundation of its forefathers and adds a host of technological advancements – which makes this the best and most capable Land Cruiser ever.
The first thing you are likely to notice about the new Land Cruiser 200 is its powerful and prominent front façade. The new large chrome grille projects a sense of solidity and strength, and underpins the completely restyled headlight clusters. The grille comprises two parts, an upper half and lower half.
The ‘lower frame’ features an inverted L-shape, which extends into the headlight, creating a robust appearance with strong horizontal influence. The front grille and headlights form an integrated design, which symbolically links the 200 series to previous reincarnations of Land Cruiser models.
The bonnet features a three-dimensional design with convex and concave surfaces, which together form a resolute design.
The headlights feature Bi-LED technology on VX models which provides superior illumination and visibility as well as low energy consumption. In addition, an Auto High Beam feature is also incorporated which autonomously switches between low and high beam depending on the level of surrounding light, as measured by the vehicle’s on-board sensors.
The system is so finely tuned to be able to recognise the taillight signature of proceeding vehicles, creating added convenience for the driver. LED Daytime Running Lights are integrated in the lower part of the headlights with the LED fog lamps positioned at the edge of the lower air-dam and framed by stylish chrome surrounds.
The side profile too has been sharpened, creating a more solid appearance whilst the rear bumper sight lines have been raised to form a flowing design. VX models adopt 18” alloy wheels whilst GX models are equipped with rugged 17” versions.
Moving to the rear, the most significant change has been brought to the rear light clusters – which have been extended and enlarged. A new ‘full-length’ chrome garnish flows out from the clear lens elements and bridges the two sides of the vehicle, to form a unified design.
The lower grade GX utilises practical ‘barn-doors’ for ease of loading, with the VX adopting the traditional top-hinged rear door for a more sophisticated look. Signalling the go-anywhere demeanour of the GX, it also features a snorkel mounted on the driver side A-pillar to overcome any water obstacle the GX may encounter.
VX models are further distinguished by a rear roof spoiler as well as a chrome door and window trim garnish, adding touches of exclusivity.
A standout feature of the Land Cruiser 200 is its uncanny ability to house occupants in lavish comfort whilst traversing the most demanding terrain. The new model features a revised interior design, managing to strike a balance between style, luxury and simplicity.
Luxurious, contrast-stitched leather inserts, seemingly form two pillars that suspend the centre dashboard and also serve as knee pads for front occupants – enhancing comfort.
The instrumentation and controls have been redesigned and regrouped to improve ergonomics and allow for easier operation. In keeping with this theme, all driving-related controls have been moved to a newly designed console surrounding the gear lever with switchgear that exudes a sense of solidity.
A 9-speaker Electro Multi-Vision (EMV) audio system with high clarity 9-inch display takes centre stage on VX models, framed by stylish Piano Black trim. GX models are fitted with a touchscreen audio system; with both models featuring Satellite Navigation.
Forming the link between man and machine is a robust 4-spoke steering wheel, with VX models receiving leather cladding and wood inserts.
A full colour TFT Multi-Information Display feeds back vital vehicle information from various functions to the driver, which includes trip information, fuel economy, vehicle mode, audio system info and bluetooth display.
The Land Cruiser 200 is equipped with a number of technologically advanced systems and features, each purposed to equip the vehicle with infallible off-road capability.
An all-new advanced Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system takes the lead role in maximising performance both on – and off road. This system integrates with the A-TRAC traction control system and tailors vehicle performance to suit the terrain or obstacle.
Six modes are available for selection; Rock, Rock & Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock; Mud & Sand and Auto. A convenient Crawl Control feature is included on all models, with enhanced functionality and full integration into the MTS system.
Providing another acronym is the Multi-Terrain Monitor (MTM) which relays visuals of the surrounding environment back to the driver, allowing them to traverse obstacles with far greater ease. The system uses four cameras (front, side mirrors and rear), to provide a 360 degree view of the vehicle surrounds, and is automatically activated when the Multi-Terrain System is operational.
A unique feature is the ‘underfloor’ view, where the ground surface is recorded prior to the vehicle passing over it, thus creating a ‘forward looking’ image. This feature is particularly useful for determining wheel and under-body position in rocky and deep sand conditions.
Of course the multiple cameras are also extremely useful for parking situations and as such, the system also provides parking assistance with multiple modes to assist the driver.
The spec list is further bolstered on VX models by the addition of Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and Blind Spot Monitoring. RCTA alerts the driver of approaching vehicles, when reversing out of parking lots. The system calculates the estimated crossing time and illuminates the BSM indicator located in the exterior mirrors as well as sounding a buzzer.
Tyre Pressure Monitoring creates added peace of mind, with individual tyre pressures displayed in the MID screen.
On the Active safety front, a full complement of driver support systems are fitted which include ABS, EBD and Vehicle Stability Control.
The Advanced Traction Control (A-TRAC) previously mentioned maintains optimum traction – ensuring both excellent performance and safety on all surfaces.
The headline active safety feature is undoubtedly the new Pre-Crash Collision Mitigation System. Utilising a milli-wave radar sensor located at the front of the vehicle, as well as a front-facing camera, the system is able detect a potential collision with an obstacle or vehicle.
Based on information sent to the vehicles ECU, the system will firstly alert the driver of a potential collision; if insufficient evasive action is taken, the pre-crash system will automatically apply braking pressure to mitigate the impact.
The Adaptive Cruise Control feature utilises the milli-wave infrastructure to automatically adjust vehicle speed to maintain a safe following distance – allowing the driver to experience a more relaxed drive.
GX models are fitted with 8 airbags, with VX versions adding rear side airbags to take the tally up to 10.
Providing further assistance to drivers is Lane Departure Alert, which warns the driver when they cross lanes without signalling the intention to do so. When activated, the system notifies the driver with an illustration in the multi-information display as well as an audible alert.
Motivating the Master is the tried and tested 4.5 litre turbo diesel engine. Featuring eight cylinders in a V-configuration, the unit provides silky smooth power delivery with a peak of 173 kW @ 3200 rpm. Torque delivery is equally impressive, with a stout 615 Nm available from as low as 1800 rpm which is perfectly suited to conquering even the toughest obstacles.
The powerplant is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission which affords the Land Cruiser 200 with superb on-road performance, offering a serene, refined driving experience.