16.4 L/ 100km
Since the omission of the 4.2 litre turbo diesel (T/D) engine from the power options for the 100 series Toyota LandCruiser at its introduction in 1998, there has been a strong and steady request for its return. Market pressure has eventually won through with the eventual release of a further improved version of the previous turbocharged multi-valve engine.
With only minor cosmetic changes to the exterior of the T/D 100 series, concentration is aimed at engine, steering and suspension upgrades, plus a lift in value-added safety and comfort equipment.
Only three options are available with the turbo diesel engine; a GXL with either manual or automatic transmission priced at $64,990 and $68,990 respectively, and a GXV automatic at $82,990. The turbo diesel engine is now the standard and only engine available in the GXV model, the 4.7 litre V8 engine now being exclusive to the Lexus LX470.
The standard equipment list has also been boosted to include dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, independent front suspension, power rack and pinion steering, dual batteries and aluminium side steps on the manual GXL. In addition to these the automatic GXL has cruise control plus leather covered steering wheel and shift levers. The GXV is equipped with all the above plus alloy wheels, climate controlled airconditioning, cooler box, moonroof, rear differential lock, rear seat heater controls, foglamps, overhead console, electric lumbar support (driver's seat), multi six CD player and 2nd row seat armrest. Air conditioning is still an option only on GXL models.
The six cylinder 4.2 litre, SOHC, 24 valve, turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine is basically the same as was fitted to the last of the 80 series LandCruiser. Now fitted with an intercooler, electronically controlled injector pump, electronic throttle and two stage injector nozzles, plus a revised and strengthened lower end, the latest T/D engine's power and torque have increased substantially. Minor modifications have been applied to both the manual and automatic transmissions to cope with the extra performance.
Previously only available on the GXV and Lexus, the independent front suspension and power assisted rack and pinion steering is now standard on the T/D GXL and GXV only.
Comfort and convenience features are attractive on the T/D Cruiser with aluminium side steps making it easier to negotiate its extra height, remote central locking, and extra storage areas for stowing small items.
Front seating is comfortable with plenty of space for both driver and passenger. In spite of its size, the second row seating is not as generous as I would expect, although average adults would be comfortably seated. The third row seating is suited to children only, lacking in height, legroom and general comfort.
From either the exterior or the driver's seat, there is no escaping the fact that the LandCruiser is a large vehicle. However, the lightness and positioning of the controls and its car-like performance reduces the effect of its size until you need to park it.
Improvements to the Multi-Valve T/D engine have resulted in a smoother and even quieter performer with increased power and impressive torque that gives its maximum output over a wide 1400-3200 rpm range. This flat torque engine with its performance availability at low revs requires a change in driving technique. Best results are gained by moving quickly through to fourth or fifth gear when the engine's flexibility enables the vehicle to be driven at relatively low speeds without labouring and requiring early downshifts. In contrast, the 4.5 litre petrol engine achieves its performance advantage at much higher revs, requiring earlier gear changes to keep it within its premium power and torque band.
The standard anti-lock brakes and constant four-wheel drive are an asset to a vehicle of this size, particularly on wet slippery and loose dry surfaces. The combination of these two equipment items provides an extra level of assurance to anyone driving under those conditions.
LandCruiser's off-road performance is one of its strong points with power and engine braking being exceptional on the T/D model. However, the independent front suspension is not as forgiving as the solid axle coil spring type used in the other GXL models, and some of the GXL equipment, i.e. side steps, carpets, power windows, etc. are not conducive to serious off-roading.
The return of the T/Diesel engine in the LandCruiser line-up will be welcomed by many ardent followers who require a large four-wheel drive wagon that can handle both business and recreational requirements alike. Although the savings in the price of diesel fuel have diminished, the reduced fuel consumption with the T/D engine is beneficial.