2017 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Review

2016 Toyota LandCruiser 200 GXL

Priced From $77,890Information

Overall Rating


4 out of 5 stars

Rating breakdown
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Safety, value & features

4 out of 5 stars

Comfort & space

5 out of 5 stars

Engine & gearbox

4 out of 5 stars

Ride & handling

3 out of 5 stars


3 out of 5 stars

Pros & Cons

  1. ProGo-anywhere, do-anything mothership.

  2. ConBig, bulky and heavy.

  3. The Pick: 2018 Toyota LandCruiser GXL (4x4) 4D Wagon

What stands out?

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The Toyota LandCruiser is as good as it gets if you want to head Outback in a big and comfortable four-wheel drive wagon. Even if Outback travel is not on your to-do list, the 200 Series is surprisingly friendly in the city for a vehicle this big. Most versions seat at least seven.

What might bug me?

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Manoeuvring in tight city carparks. This is a big vehicle.

What body styles are there?

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There is just one basic body, a large SUV-type wagon. Every model except one has a horizontally split tailgate and three rows of seats, and is designed for families. The exception is the GX, a commercial vehicle designed primarily for fleet use, which has a vertically split, barn-door tailgate and only two rows of seats.

All models have full-time four-wheel drive with dual-range gearing. The LandCruiser is classed as an upper-large SUV, lower priced.

What features do all LandCruiser 200s have?

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Cruise control, tilt and reach steering-wheel adjustment, Bluetooth phone connectivity and power windows.

Crawl Control, which helps when driving off road. It automatically controls the accelerator and brakes to maintain a speed you select, so that you can concentrate on steering.

Electronic Traction Control, which helps you go further in difficult off-road conditions.
Electronic Stability Control, which helps the driver control the vehicle in a skid. All new cars must have this feature.

Trailer Sway Control, which helps settle the vehicle if a trailer you are towing is swaying from side to side.

At least eight airbags: frontal and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger; side airbags to protect the upper body of the driver and front passenger; and curtain airbags to protect the heads of outer passengers in all three rows of seats.

This standard features list may seem a little thin but it’s skewed by the GX, which is stripped for its work-vehicle role.

All models carry Toyota’s 100,000km, three-year warranty.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

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The 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel is the more economical of the two engines on offer. In the official test it uses 9.5 litres/100km (city and country combined).

This is by far the most popular engine choice. It was revised mildly for a minor update of the LandCruiser in November 2015. The previous engine used slightly more fuel and made marginally less power.

Fewer than two percent of buyers opt for the alternative 4.6-litre petrol V8, which uses 13.6 litres/100km in the official test.

Both engines use 20 to 30 percent more fuel in real-world driving, with the petrol suffering more in stop-start driving but coming closer to diesel consumption – without matching it – on the highway.

The only significant reason why you would not buy the diesel engine is that it costs significantly more than the petrol engine.

Both engines are fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox, the only gearbox on offer.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

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Prices start with the commercial grade GX, but this model is unique not just because it seats only five and has vertically split doors at the rear. It’s the only model with vinyl floor coverings instead of carpets, and sturdy pressed-steel wheels.

The GX is also the only model with a snorkel-style engine air intake standard. This draws air from just above the roofline on the driver’s side, and allows you to ford creeks without fear of water getting into the engine and damaging it. And you can’t get a GX with the petrol engine.

Spend more for a GXL and you get carpets on the floor, leather on the steering wheel, and fancier looking wheels made from aluminium alloy. There is a 6.1-inch touchscreen, a reversing camera, and satellite navigation. Dual zone air-conditioning allows different temperatures to be set for each side of the cabin. Sidesteps help you get in, and at the rear there is a third row of seats. Roof rails make it easier to add roof racks. A proximity key allows you to unlock and start the car with the key safe in a pocket or bag. Headlamps use extremely long lasting LEDs for low beam.

Introduced on the petrol GXL, and as an option on the diesel, is Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). This gives not only flatter on-road handing but also more off-road capability, by automatically adjusting the tension on the suspension’s anti-roll bars.

Spend more again for a VX and you get body-protecting side-impact airbags for outer passengers on the middle-row seats, for a total of 10 airbags. The central touchscreen display is bigger, at 9.0 inches. There are front and rear parking sensors, windscreen wipers that automatically respond to rain, LED headlamps that switch on automatically when it’s dark, and a sunroof. The seats are trimmed partially in leather, and are power-adjustable up front.

The VX also has bigger, 18-inch alloy wheels with lower profile tyres, which many people like for their looks, and daytime running lights, which help other drivers see you. With either engine, KDSS suspension is standard.

Introduced on the VX is Multi-Terrain Select. It allows the driver to tailor the stability control and traction control for different off-road conditions.

The most expensive LandCruiser, the Sahara, has heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, four-zone air-conditioning (rear-seat passengers too can set their own temperatures), and a memory for adjustments to the driver’s seat, steering wheel and exterior mirrors. There is DVD entertainment for rear-seat passengers, a wireless charger for smartphones, and a cooler box in the centre console.

From November 2015 the Sahara gained active cruise control (which will slow you to match the speed of a vehicle in front), as well as a suite of active safety aids comprising autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot alert, and rear cross-traffic alert. (For more on these systems, please open the Safety section below.)

Specifically for off-road use, the Sahara also has a Multi-Terrain Monitor, which uses four cameras to show you obstacles that might otherwise be obscured. A wheels’ eye view, if you like.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

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Every model except for the GX loses significant cargo space to the third-row seats.

Moving up the feature levels also brings an increasingly heavy car, which is less responsive to drive.

The more expensively equipped models also have a reduced payload – they can carry less weight in cargo and passengers. This is very relevant for trips in remote areas, where often you need to carry extra fuel, wheels and water.

The alloy wheels on most LandCruisers are less sturdy in rough terrain than the steel wheels on the GX.

If you choose a diesel-engine VX or Sahara, the third-row seats accommodate only two people. In other LandCruisers they accommodate three.

Multi-Terrain Select does not offer significant off-road benefits and is fussy to use. Likewise the Multi-Terrain Monitor is more gimmick than benefit, even if it can be useful at times.

Every colour except white is an extra-cost option.

How comfortable is the Toyota LandCruiser?

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The Spartan look of the GX outside is mirrored inside with its vinyl floors. Otherwise it doesn’t present badly and is very user friendly, with simple controls and big dashboard buttons. And every LandCruiser has a large, roomy and comfortable cabin with excellent seating.

More costly models provide increasing luxury, even opulence. However the most costly, particularly the Sahara, host myriad switches, not all of which fall readily to the driver’s eye.

On the road the LandCruiser 200 feels like a big limousine, with a comfortable and ultra-quiet ride – even if the truck-style rear suspension layout allows bumps to affect your heading on some rough roads.

Both engines offer fuss-free driving with ample power on hand at all times, and work in contented harmony with the six-speed automatic gearbox.

The petrol engine is noticeably quieter and smoother than the diesel, although diesel noise is barely detectable at highway speed. The November 2015 power increase from the diesel is barely detectable on the road.

The GX has some wind noise produced by the snorkel.

What about safety in a LandCruiser?

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All LandCruiser 200s bar the commercial-grade GX rate as Excellent for safety, with head-protecting side-curtain airbags extending past all outer passengers.

The basic GX still rates as Very Good, the key difference being the absence of a reversing camera.

The most expensive LandCruisers – the VX and Sahara – get an additional two airbags, for a total of 10. These are positioned outside the middle seat row and below the side-curtain airbags, to cushion the chests of middle-row outer passengers from side-impacts.

About November 2015, the LandCruiser Sahara (only) gained active cruise control and an active safety suite that draws on radar and camera based sensors.

Perhaps the chief among its components is Toyota’s Pre-Collision Safety System – which includes automatic emergency braking that operates at city and highway speeds. If it concludes that a crash may be imminent, it triggers an audio-visual warning, pre-tensions seatbelts, and if you don’t brake hard enough adds brake pressure. If you don’t brake at all, the system will brake for you.

The Sahara also monitors lane markings, and sounds a warning if you are drifting distractedly – or perhaps sleepily – out of your lane on the highway. It also warns you, should you indicate to change lanes, if a nearby vehicle is in a blind spot on that side. And a rear cross-traffic alert warns you of approaching cars when you are backing out of a parking spot.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has awarded the LandCruiser 200, its maximum five-star rating, most recently in October 2015.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

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The LandCruiser 200 isn’t a driver’s car as such, as it doesn’t like to be driven hard. It’s simply too big and heavy, and the suspension is tuned for comfort and not precision. Models with KDSS automatic suspension adjustment handle noticeably better on sealed surfaces, due to reduced body roll. The 200 responds best to a smooth driving style.

However, the 200 is still an enjoyable car, thanks to its effortless engines, its comfort and quietness, and the fuss-free way it can tackle difficult off-road conditions, especially equipped with KDSS. If you want an extremely capable and comfortable wagon that’s at home in the bush and the Outback, the 200 is impossible to go past.

How is life in the rear seats?

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Rear seats don’t come much more roomy or comfortable than with the LandCruiser 200. The Sahara’s heated rear seats and separate air-conditioning controls for the rear of the cabin add up to a major comfort bonus.

The third-row seats, accessed by folding the backrest and then sliding forward the base of the second-row seats, are best suited for children or small, agile adults.

How is it for carrying stuff?

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The LandCruiser, especially the GX with its cavernous cargo area, is great for carrying stuff. Models with third-row seats still have generous luggage space.

The full-sized spare wheel is carried under the car, so that in the event of a flat tyre, luggage does not have to be unpacked to get to the spare.

All models are rated to tow 3500kg – as much as any big 4WD – and make great tow vehicles. Both engines, but especially the diesel, offer plenty of power at low engine speeds, which is needed for towing.

Where is the LandCruiser 200 made?

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All LandCruiser 200s are made in Japan.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

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Not much in a car as complete. The Land Rover Discovery offers sharper on-road handling.

There are seven-seat, off-road capable SUVs available at lower prices, among them Toyota’s own Prado and Fortuner. But none matches the LandCruiser’s big V8 diesel engine, interior space and comfort, effortless towing, tough build, and off-road performance.

The Nissan Patrol is comparable for size but not for the strength of its diesel. The most recent, Y62 Patrol is available only with a big petrol V8.

Another off-road capable, seven-seat SUV you might consider is the Ford Everest, which is based on the Ford Ranger ute. However, like the Prado and Fortuner it won't haul as hard as the LandCruiser.

Are there plans to update the LandCruiser soon?

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The 200 Series appeared in late 2007. A minor update about November 2015 brought a reshaped nose, slightly reduced fuel consumption from the diesel engine, larger touchscreens on most models, and active safety aids for the Sahara.

While history tells us an all-new LandCruiser is due for 2018, comments from Toyota, and the absence of direct competitors, suggest that the 200 series may receive a further minor update.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

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The GXL diesel fitted with the optional KDSS is comfortably the pick of the range. However, the GX is a better starting point as a specialist remote-area touring and off-road vehicle.