The first all-new Land Cruiser in 14 years has launched in South Africa, with the first customer deliveries now taking place.
Judging by the current waiting list at dealers, it should become a common sight on the roads very soon.
However, as with the Toyota GR Yaris, the Land Cruiser 300 is already nearing the end of its South African allocation for 2021.
Toyota has stuck to a trusted recipe with the new Land Cruiser 300, with a ladder-frame chassis construction.
The benefit of this old-school approach is off-road prowess, high torsional rigidity, and robustness – the core attributes associated with the Land Cruiser.
In profile, the Land Cruiser 300 is immediately recognisable as a Land Cruiser, too, thanks to the classic two-box design. Most notably, the GX-R and ZX models look quite different to the GR Sport (GR-S).
The former carry a sleeker, more elegant look, while the GR Sport has a distinctive front end with a bold “Toyota” wordmark in the place of the logo, as well as a lot more black accents.
Additionally, the ZX with its large aerodynamic package and bigger wheels forgoes some off-road ability – as the lower front bumper has reduced the approach angle down to 24 degrees from 32.
The GX-R and GR Sport both retain a 32-degree approach angle.
Two new engines replace the previous-generation’s V8s in the new Land Cruiser 300.
All versions are available with a 3.3-litre, twin-turbo diesel motor with 225kW and 700Nm, but only the ZX and GR-S models will get the 3.5-litre, twin-turbo petrol motor that produces 305kW and 650Nm.
Both engines offer greater efficiency, too, said Toyota, with combined fuel consumption figures of 12.1l/100 km for the petrol and 8.9l/100 km for diesel.
Drive to the wheels is handled through a 10-speed automatic with low range and locking-differential functionality, enhanced with crawl control and selectable drive modes.
Again, the premium models get additional features, which include Sport and Sport+ modes.
Sport+ is most noticeable on the GR-S with its Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and electronically-adjustable hydraulic sway bar.
The Land Cruiser 300 is a seven-seater, with seats that fold away into the floor rather than up against the C-pillar – maximising load space in the boot.
From a comfort and convenience point of view, there’s another giant difference between the entry-level and premium specification grades.
The R1.2-million baseline GX-R is a capable car, but its spec-sheet looks a little spartan compared with the ZX and GR-S.
It does come with a four-speaker audio system – Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable, like the rest of the range – while the ZX and GR-S get a 14-speaker JBL setup.
Toyota’s Safety Sense is also standard on the upper specifications, but not the GX-R.
Tyre pressure monitoring, leather seats, seat heaters, the heads-up display, and wireless chargers, again, are just for the ZX and GR-S.
Luckily, the entire 300 range has Toyota Connect support providing telematics, onboard Wi-Fi, and the MyToyota App for managing car functions from a smartphone.
Toyota already cannot keep up with demand for the Land Cruiser 300 and owing to the global semiconductor shortage, which is affecting production volumes, waiting lists are getting long.
Keen buyers will have to hang in until 2022 or invariably pay inflated prices – as happened with the Toyota GR Yaris – when the Land Cruiser 300 appears on the second-hand market.
Although the GX-R appears a little bare compared with the ZX and GR-S, it is ideally suited for the overlanding enthusiasts who seek a no-frills donor car to fit their choice of accessories to and hit the dirt roads.