Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2012 Toyota LandCruiser GXL.
Dear Santa, I would really love to find a turbo diesel V8 GXL Landcruiser under the Christmas tree this year!
To say I was completely at home in this vehicle is an understatement, I loved it.
Normally a big Toyota LandCruiser wouldn’t be anywhere near my favourite car list, but the turbo diesel V8 engine now on offer in the Toyota flagship is just freakishly good.
Actually that’s an understatement – the engine is absolutely sensational!
I drove the big LandCruiser around in the city for a full week and when I handed it back it still had over three-quarters of a tank of fuel!
Granted it is a 138 litre tank but the combined fuel consumption figure is only 10.3 litres per 100!
The urban consumption is 12 litres flat and while compared to a turbo diesel passenger car that may not sound great you have to realise that this is nothing short of a monster of a vehicle.
The 200 series Toyota Landcruiser weighs 2.7 tonnes!
The engine gives you 195kW and 650Nm!!
To use this absolutely tiny amount of fuel in a car this big and with this much raw power is just unbelievable.
The 4.5 litre engine has so much torque you never really have to go above 2000 rpm and this is one of the reasons the fuel consumption is so good – the engine just ticks along and unless you choose to you never really have to give it a hard time.
Matched with a silky smooth six-speed auto it’s just an absolute delight.
The throaty, delicious sound of a big turbo diesel V8 is also rather pleasing!
Luckily, and not unexpectedly, Toyota has built a quality vehicle around this amazing engine.
The Toyota Landcruiser boasts the most amazing suspension – you literally hardly feel a bump, and while the big tires no doubt help in soaking up the bumps and cracks the ride is by no means floaty.
It’s just the perfect blend of comfort and road holding and again in such a big vehicle, with such a high centre of gravity the result is spectacular.
The steering is superb, not too heavy and not too light – most importantly it’s not “truck like”.
The brakes are a little soft on first touch but the big Toyota’s disc brakes provide heaps of stopping power when you press a little harder.
The external styling is starting to look a little dated, in fact the basic design of the 200 series is fairly reminiscent of the previous 100 series which dates back probably more years than Toyota would like to admit.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t attractive in its own mammoth kind of way.
Toyota has copped a bit of flack over the lack of a single rear tailgate but you know what I actually prefer the two piece door with a fold down tailgate, it makes loading the very tall Landcruiser a whole lot easier (and if you’re putting groceries in you can keep the lower gate closed and they won’t fall out!).
As you would expect the rear cargo area is enormous when the third row of seats are folded up.
The interior is also a little bit of a time warp but in saying that it’s nicely laid out and the GXL spec Toyota Landcruiser gets some lovely fabrics and materials throughout the cabin.
From a comfort perspective the seats are beautiful but the centre arm rest is rock-hard, the door arm rests however get plenty of padding.
The storage areas are extremely generous and the stereo/sat-nav system is a real winner.
I’m also pleased to say a rear reversing camera is standard in all 200 series Landcruisers.
Leg room up front is generous but back seat passengers probably don’t get as much room as you would expect in such a large vehicle.
Back seat passengers do however get A/C controls and plenty of air outlets (as well as cigarette lighters and ashtrays!!).
Keyless entry and ignition is a nice plus and my wife and I both loved the two piece sun-visors which allow you to block the sun’s rays both through the windscreen and side window – very clever!
One observation I would like to make is that from the driver’s seat there is a fairly substantial blind spot from the passenger’s side ‘A’ pillar and wing mirror.
When you approach a T intersection you really need to make sure there isn’t another vehicle approaching from the left.
Overall however the LandCruiser is a safe vehicle packed with safety features as standard – as yet there isn’t an up to date ANCAP rating but the previous model did score 4 Star’s and I would be shocked if the newer one doesn’t surpass that.
Summing it up the Toyota LandCruiser GXL is just superb, yes it’s not cheap but with the turbo diesel under the bonnet you really can’t go wrong.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2012 Toyota LandCruiser GXL
Engine: 4.5 litre V8 diesel producing 195kW and 650Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Price: From $77,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Toyota 200-Series Landcruiser.