Last year, I reviewed a brand new 2016 model Land Cruiser 200 ZX V8 that was fresh out of the box (or rather, off the boat). Ah, how time flies! Alas, how it has flown (literally), as it has been thirteen months since the vehicle was purchased, and the clock now reads 88,500kms! True, 88,500kms is barely out of pampers in Land Cruiser parlance as our very own Avinda D. Perera daily drives a cherished 70-series with 344,000kms on the clock. But 88,500 kms in just over a year? At that rate, this vehicle will kiss the 300,000 mark in less than five years. That’s a hard-knock life! So how has it fared so far?
First off, a Land Cruiser does not look anywhere at home but in the rough and tumble, off-road. So I secured the vehicle and driver, and we set off for the cool ranges of Hantane. Riding shotgun, I was surprised at how it felt inside after 88,500kms. It looked, smelt and felt like it did a year ago when gave it its first test drive. Of course it is lovingly looked after, and has had a tyre change at approx. 55,000kms, and all the fluids (ATF, steering, brake…) were recently changed. Apart from that, it gets its regular service at the recommended interval, never missing a beat.
Seat coolers on maximum as the heat wave from Colombo has stretched its pudgy fingers to Kandy as well on this weekend. Radio on, climate control at 19C. Everything just works, fuss-free. Even the AC vents still have that tight and secure feel to them after being adjusted countless times, and going through so many cycles of heat and cool. If the odometer of this vehicle were rolled to even 5,000 kilometres, the interior condition would back up that figure.
As you can see from the pictures, we certainly did venture off road and took the vehicle off the beaten path, to places where there was no path. It forged through the undergrowth, sometimes perched on three wheels only and surprised some of the Hantane climbers who wouldn’t expect to see any motorized transport on those paths, let alone this behemoth. Yet, a twisting of dial or flicking of switch was all it took for the Toyota to find traction (somewhere) and climb or descend the obstacle.
I have been a passenger in this vehicle multiple times, including trips from Colombo to the hill country and back, and I have rarely felt any semblance of discomfort, or speed unless the vehicle was being cornered hard at the time. Even on this little off-road jaunt, I felt cosseted and was rarely shaken even when the vehicle was at angles that would appear to cause concern to anyone outside. Truth is, the Landcruiser and most serious off-roaders can tilt much further than you think (in the right hands, of course). That said, don’t read this and think you can be KITT and drive on two wheels. We take no responsibility if your attempts end in tears. But, how does it feel to drive?
Photoshoot done and we are heading out of Hantane. I take the wheel now, my trusty notebook containing my ride notes from that 2016 drive is right beside me. And you know what? It feels very much the same as it did then! The steering is still precise, the suspension still composed over bumps and ridges, and under hard cornering as well. Plus, that 330bhp V8 still sings sweetly as you explore the upper rev ranges with that delicious V8 burble entering the cabin as you kiss the redline and the 6-speed auto slips into the next ratio discretely. The sense of speed is notable by its absence, and yes, you need to keep an eye on that meter or you could end up on the wrong side of the law very fast!
Sure thing, its fun, it has fared much like Muhammad Ali after he has deflected many punches and is still standing, saying “is that all you got?” But there is a flipside to such fun, luxury and capability, and that is the beast’s appetite for liquid gold. It averages 5 km/l. Five. Per. Litre. At 88,500kms, that means approx. 17,700 litres have been drunk, and the cost, well, I do not feel like calculating it. But truth be told, at the mileages this vehicle has covered so far (and will cover in the near future), there is little else that you could buy that would be more cost effective if you factor in the cost of repairs as well. This vehicle is a testament to Toyota making great off-roaders with luxury in them, and I shall look at it again when that odometer hits 200,000 kilometres – which shouldn’t be too far away!