Toyota upgrades LandCruiser
2003 Toyota LandCruiser Series 100
Toyota 'Sahara' LandCruiser
Sahara gets 17-inch alloys & traction control
Toyota 'GXL' LandCruiser
GXL viewed from rear - note new brake-lights
Toyota 'Standard' LandCruiser
Sahara interior gets elegant wood-grain finish
Not entirely a new model, the updated LandCruiser 100 series
gets a "specification upgrade," to use Toyota lingo.
But why now? A good question that, and one easily answered
by taking a quick look at the latest VFACTS sales data.
The top selling large 4WD in Australia (month ending September
'02) was the Nissan Patrol Wagon, with 684 of them sold. This
equates to a 35.5 per cent market share, while in second place
Toyota's LandCruiser Wagon had a market share of 29.9 per
cent, with a total of 576 units sold.
But more than just crunching the numbers and deciding on
a mid-life upgrade, Toyota's ageing 100 series is facing tough
competition from all over the shop, including Germany.
The BMW X5 is the third most popular large 4WD, followed
closely by its Germanic cousin in the form of the Mercedes-Benz
M-Class, with 12.6 and 10.2 per cent market share respectively.
Toyota has obviously also noticed the surge in popularity
of the luxo-4WD, re-introducing the top-spec luxury Sahara
model, complete with (almost) all the options.
The LandCruiser update basically involves a reshuffling of
the engines on offer, plus a few interior and exterior mods,
and a new model had been added to the line-up in the form
of the range-topping Sahara.
The Toyota LandCruiser 100 series range now comprises of
eight models. Then there is the choice of two body styles,
three engines, two transmissions and three equipment grade
Furthermore, a part-time 4WD workhorse standard grade van,
complete with vertically split rear "barn" doors
and seven full-time 4WD wagons, all of which have retained
their famous eight-seat capacity.
The largest, and perhaps most important, change to the new
4WD is the inclusion of Toyota's hefty 4.7-litre eight cylinder
The V8 makes use of Toyota direct ignition, with separate
igniters for all eight cylinders and super-long life iridium
and platinum-tipped spark plugs, which provides greater reliability
and lower emissions.
The exhaust system consists of fabricated stainless steel
headers for optimum engine breathing and a stainless steel
The Toyota V8 engine also has a two-stage main muffler, which
reduces backpressure at middle to high engine speeds, to improve
The 4664cc "2UZ-FE" V8 engine is fairly generic
piece of kit, making use of DOHC, alloy cross-flow heads and
four valves per cylinder.
You'd expect this sort of capacity to churn out the big numbers,
but 170kW @ 4800rpm isn't exactly class-leading, though 410Nm
of torque @ 3400rpm lessens the blow, somewhat.
The 0-100km/h times are 10.2 seconds for the manual and 11.3
seconds for the new five-speed automatic model.
Other new features to the 100 series include a new variable-ratio
steering rack, which provides easier turning at low speeds.
Two new gearboxes are offered: a new five speed automatic
and manual transmission.
One-touch up/down power windows and a 6-CD multi-changer
on all GXL models is now standard.
LandCruiser's interior appointments include an improved instrument
panel with a padded lower half, new colours and new trim,
while a new instrument panel has improved fit and finish,
aimed at enhancing quality.
Two interior colours are offered - Ivory and Stone - and
the new LandCruiser 100 series has a newly designed steering
wheel and HVAC (heater/ventilation/air conditioning) controls.
New LandCruiser offers the choice of two types of steering
wheel - a new four-spoke urethane wheel in Standard grade
and naturally aspirated diesel GXL, and a four-spoke leather
wheel in petrol and turbo-diesel GXL, and Sahara.
GXL models have a 3-in-1 stereo system with a smart-tune
radio, the same which made its debut in the new Camry. The
smart tuner reduces multi-path noise, electromagnetic interference
and FM interference rejection.
Safety has also been improved, with upgrades including dual
SRS airbags as standard equipment on all models (including
standard grade van), ABS brakes on all wagon models and head
impact protection measures too.
A very minor facelift means that a new front bumper made
from fully recyclable TSOP-6 (for increased strength and lighter
weight) offers a larger air dam, for better engine cooling
The radiator grille has also been changed to a three-bar
design, for a more elegant, powerful appearance.
Changes at the rear include new clear-lens combination lamps
with amber turn signal bulbs and windscreen wiper performance
has been improved too, via graphite-coated wiper blades.
But perhaps the most important new feature of the re-jigged
'Cruiser line-up is the Sahara model. Sales of the LandCruiser's
upmarket cousin, the Lexus LX470, haven't been to the same
levels as the 4WD Beemer or Merc.
Indeed, with only a scant 1.9 per cent market share (month
ending September '02), Toyota, which owns Lexus, must do something
to stop of the bleeding.
So, the Sahara is back in an attempt to lure buyers away
from other luxury 4WDs - but will it work?
The flagship Sahara model ships with significantly higher
specification levels than the superseded GXV. For starters,
the new Sahara is offered with the choice of not just a turbo-diesel
engine, but also the Quad Cam V8 engine - both with five-speed
Standard equipment for the Sahara includes independent front
suspension, power-assisted rack and pinion steering and ABS
Potential buyers also get a full leather interior, power
front seats with height and lumbar adjustment, woodgrain trim,
a coolbox, 3-in-1 audio system with six-CD multi-changer,
moonroof, front foglamps, fridge, large body side protection
mouldings, a multi information display/trip computer and dual
zone air conditioning.
The inclusion of a touch-screen DVD-based satellite navigation
system also pushes the Sahara squarely into luxury territory,
and will become a sticking point for the new model.
On the outside, the Sahara gets new 17-inch alloys with hulking
275/65 R17 all-terrain tyres. Quad Cam V8 Saharas also benefit
from vehicle stability control and active four-wheel-drive
The specification upgrade improves the LandCruiser 100 Series'
safety, performance, economy, emissions, comfort and feature
levels, and the new engines offer lowered noise, vibration
and harshness (NVH) levels, too.
The newly fettled Toyota LandCruiser is the first part of
a major new model assault on the 4x4 market.
In the next six months the company will have launched new
models into all but one 4x4 segment: The new 'Cruiser will
be followed by the launch of V6 HiLux 4x4 utility in a matter
of weeks, while in early 2003, Toyota will launch a new generation
Interestingly, the world-wide production of LandCruiser has
now exceeded four million - and Australia's share of more
than 11.5 percent of this makes it the largest LandCruiser
customer of all.
Accordingly, Toyota will be doing everything within its power
to claw back the market share lost to the likes of the Nissan
Patrol and such an all-out attack on the 4X4 market is good
way to go about thtis. Toyota senior executive vice-president
John Conomos said: "The launch of a new LandCruiser is
always an important moment for Toyota in Australia.
"LandCruiser is the rock on which Toyota Australia is
founded. It helped open up the agricultural and resource-based
industries throughout the 1960s and in doing so also created
a regional sales and service network unequalled at that time.
"The introduction of the Quad Cam V8 across the petrol
range sets new standards for LandCruiser," John Conomos
"It is a sensational value for money story. The V8 was
available in the 100 Series range until October 2000 in just
one model, the GXV, and it cost $92,368. Now our customers
can access the V8 in a well specified GXL for around $34,000
less," Mr Conomos concluded.
With the 4X4 market one of the most lucrative at present,
and having increased dramatically in size over the past three
years, Toyota is all too aware of how important its flagship
4x4 status is.
STD Diesel manual transmission $51,990
GXL Diesel manual transmission $60,900
GXL V8 manual transmission $58,310
GXL V8 automatic transmission $61,390
Sahara V8 automatic transmission $79,900
GXL Turbo Diesel manual transmission $70,700
GXL Turbo Diesel automatic transmission $73,390
Sahara Turbo Diesel automatic transmission $89,900