So is the new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 the new King of Africa? Damn sure it is!
Two memories while driving the new King of Africa Toyota Land Cruiser 300 over the past two days, sum it up to a tee. First, I couldn’t help thinking I was selecting drive and actually activated the right turn signal. The Cruiser’s indicator stalk is where its Mercedes rival’s gear selector sits. I had to remind myself I wasn’t driving a Merc…
MADE US THINK IT WAS A BENZ
That’s a cool reverse compliment. I’ve driven all the Mercedes GLS models and rate them supreme. So subliminally believing I was driving a GLS is tribute enough to this fine Toyota. The other mistake I made a few times was to try start it while the engine was already running. Yes, it’s that quiet!
Unmistakably angular, Cruiser 300 is far more dynamic looking. Yet it has more than a passing resemblance to its splendid ancestors. All-new from the ground up 300 is based on Toyota’s new ladder frame New Global Architecture. The new King of Africa also comes with a brand new engine line-up. Petrol propulsion is via the velvety, strong and powerful 305 kW 650 Nm 3.5-litre biturbo Petrol V6 nicked from the Lexus LS500.
Perhaps more significant, the all-new 227 kW 3.3-litre bi-turbodiesel V6 has a stump-pulling 700Nm in a 32 kW power and 50 Nm twist hike over the outgoing car. Both bring vastly improved efficiency, power and torque versus the outgoing cars. And they’re mated to a slick-shifting new 10-speed automatic with a low-range 4×4 set-up.
The gearbox is invisible — you barely notice the changes. Unless you listen too closely. Top end is 210 km/h for both cars. The petrol version consumes 12.1 litres per 100 km while emitting 291 g/km CO2 and the frugal diesel sips 8.9 l/100 km at 238 g/km. We saw 14 per hundred in the petrol and 11 in the diesel after a demanding 700 km tar, dirt and 4×4 run.
We were also more than comfortable in the serene Cruiser on the road. Wind noise is minimal and you must push it to hear either engine. But then both roar bravely when really asked. Switch the chassis to Sport Plus and 300 delivers a splendid GR Yaris-like race car sensation on the road. Not bad for a literal block of flats.
The Gazoo model’s real party trick however, is to hydraulically decouple its suspension anti-roll bars and allow ultimate 4×4 vehicle control. Street cred enhancing roll-bars decoupled, the GR is left with excellent axle articulation and supple body-roll essential for supreme 4×4 ability and comfort. The best of both.
THE 300 WANTS FOR VERY LITTLE
Available in three grades, the utility entry level GX-R does not skimp. Above that, the range splits into ‘boulevard’ ZX and the new bush bashing GR Sport. They want for very little.
Throughout our time with new 300, we benchmarked it against that GLS. So much so that we were occasionally convinced we were driving one! That comparison alone, is kudos enough to the new Toyota. In some ways, the Benz is better. In others, the Toyota is ahead.
Be aware that like all other new cars, the Cruiser 300 is being severely jeopardised by the global microchip supply dilemma and other lockdown challenges and supply remains restricted.
So is the new Toyota Land Cruiser 300 the new King of Africa? Damn sure it is. Long hail the new King! – Michele Lupini
Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Pricing GX-R 3.3D R1,283M ZX 3.3D R1,765M ZX 3.5T R1,797M GR-S 3.3D R1,811M GR-S 3.5T R1,842M