We wanted to get things straight from the first sentence: the Toyota Land Cruiser is as serious as an off-roader can be. Actually, it’s a bit more serious than that. One reason for the vehicle’s nature-defying capabilities lies in its bloodline, as the Land Cruiser first set wheel on Earth as a genuine off-road machine.
It was born for military reasons and thus the engineers had “rugged” and “capable” at the top of their list of priorities. Of course, the General Public was free to enjoy the benefits of a piece of army machinery, with the firepower and the shouting commanding officer being erased from the civilian optional extras list.
At that point, the vehicle was a rather compact Jeep-inspired creation using the “BJ” designation. Engineers acknowledged the fact that the four wheels of the vehicle not only had to allow it to fight with the most brutal driving conditions, but they also had to cater for at least the basic transportation needs of the human beings placed between them. Thus, the vehicle was transformed and became the “Land Cruiser”.
The following generations of the car also made it as much of a “cruiser” as it was a “land”, which meant that the place behind the wheel no longer had to be occupied only by an individual that used his knife as a shaving tool.
The maturation process not only made the vehicle more human-friendly, but also brought technical solutions that were aimed at fitting the vehicle with the proper hardcore off-roading hardware.
The Land Cruiser’s willingness to place the driving conditions on the list of “unimportant details” in its quest to reach the line of the horizon, together with the fact that it was as reliable as a hammer, brought the vehicle’s popularity to a sky high level.
In fact, in the early 80’s, Toyota replaced the “off-roader” label with the SUV one. The latter didn’t replace the first, but was also present on the vehicle. By that time, the vehicle had already been offered in a wide variety of body configurations, having something to offer for every mortal that wanted to place “i” in front of his status while driving off-road.
Fast forwarding another decade, we find the Land Cruiser managing to hide its rubber boots under a white collar. Toyota learned that, on the market, you’ll need more than all-wheel-drive to be able to get anywhere. Believe it or not, certain Japanese tuners even released a few modification packages for the vehicle (of course, these kind of developments had “exaggeration” written all over them).
We could go on for a lot of pages, telling you how the Land Cruiser is an official United Nations car and how its travel photo album includes every surface on the Planet that is not hostile to human life, but it’s time to get to the point. Nowadays, the Land Cruiser is one of the few remaining “civilian” followers of the body-on-frame religion, but does this allow it to fulfill the luxury ambitions it had developed over the years?
We decided to answer this question by getting our hands on the top-spec version, going for the diesel engine of the range, event though this ment we had to choose the "regular" Land Cruiser and not the Land Cruiser V8, which is a separate vehicle. Put your rubber boots and your business suit on and follow us for a quite luxurious muddy adventure.
PS: for any questions about the Land Cruiser’s history, please contact the United Nations, as they’ve bought over 10,000 such models over the years.Continue reading