Toyota Land Cruiser 300 review: Above all else

    Why are buyers around the globe forming a beeline to buy this all-new Land Cruiser?

    Published on Oct 24, 2023 08:00:00 AM


    Make : Toyota
    Model : Land Cruiser
    We Like
    • Feels indestructible
    • Commanding road presence
    We Don't Like
    • Expensive
    • Rear seat space

    The Toyota Land Cruiser is a brand that needs no introduction. For decades now, it has built a formidable reputation for its indestructibility and reliability, and for these reasons, it has been the go-to option for off-road enthusiasts, the United Nations, as well as heads of state and people with power.

    In 2021, Toyota took the wraps off an all-new generation of the Land Cruiser – the ‘300’ Series, also known as LC300, a successor to the LC200. The LC’s following is so strong that the global demand for this new-generation model is through the roof and waiting periods extend to over a few years. As a result, Toyota only introduced the LC300 in India in 2023 as a completely built unit (CBU), wearing a price tag of Rs 2.10 crore (ex-showroom), available with a diesel engine and in a 5-seater configuration only.

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 design

    At first glance, the LC300 might look similar to the LC200 on account of its familiar dimensions and silhouette, but make no mistake, it is an all-new generation with significant changes under the skin. To start with, this body-on-frame SUV is based on a new-age TNGA-F platform with a ladder-frame that’s not only 20 percent stiffer, but more importantly, a whopping 200kg lighter than the LC200’s. The interiors are new as are its powertrains, and it also gets new-age off-road gizmos and wizardry.

    Compared to its in-your-face front, its derrière appears relatively plain.

    Imposing and unapologetically brash – just like its predecessor – the LC300 has a powerful personality. It continues to sport a wildly sculpted bonnet with twin power domes, and now, its front end has been infused with even more aggression thanks to a larger and bolder horizontally slated grille (finished in silver), as well as some unique design elements. Dollops of chrome jazz up this Toyota’s appearance – around the fog-lamp housings, on its door-mounted mirrors, 20-inch wheels, door handles and even on its upward swooping window line. In profile, it is relatively cleaner with soft, flowing body lines and its squared-out wheel cladding is finished in body colour. Despite riding on massive 20-inch wheels, there’s an ungainly gap in the wheel arches (particularly at the rear) due to its tall ride height. And no, it doesn’t get air suspension to raise or lower its stance. As you move towards the rear, its aggressive styling mellows down and compared to its in-your-face front, its derrière appears relatively plain.

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 interior and features

    The LC’s elevated seating warrants effort to clamber into its cabin. With a foot on its solid side-step and a firm grip on its pillar-mounted grab handle, you need to haul yourself inside. But once you’re in, there’s a lot to like. The front seats are like thrones – big, broad, supportive and with soft cushioning, these offer supreme levels of comfort. You’re perched higher than other road users and visibility all around is excellent with a clear sight of the long bonnet’s twin power bulges and a low window line on the sides. Further, the use of beige and masses of greenhouse area floods the cabin with light. Generous use of soft leather and soft-touch bits feel luxurious as do the tasteful wood and aluminium inlays. Even some knobs and switches on the centre console feel special and built to a high standard.

    Absence of a third row results in a cavernous luggage area.

    However, spend more time inside the cabin and you will notice dummy switches scattered around, and in  a car that costs north of Rs 2 crore, this makes you feel short-changed. Techy buyers will be left wanting for a more immersive experience, as its instrument cluster features unexciting analogue dials, and its touchscreen, although slick, feels too basic in its outlook.

    For better crash safety protection, the LC’s front seats are pushed further behind compared to its predecessor. Space at the rear isn’t as generous as its almost 5-metre exterior length would suggest. While headroom and shoulder room for three adults are in abundance, knee room is comparable to midsize SUVs, and because the seat is placed low, thigh support isn’t as good as some similarly priced  luxury SUVs. Even the rear seat entertainment screens rob away the sense of space. A sliding middle row would have improved the experience, as would window sunshades and a panoramic sunroof. However, compensating for their absence to an extent are seat cooling and heating features for rear passengers, and they can also individually set their preferred temperature, thanks to four-zone climate control.

    Legroom surprisingly limited for such a long SUV; screens intrude your sense of space.

    In international markets, the LC300 can be had as a 5- or 7-seater, however, in India, it can only seat five. So in the absence of a third row of seats, its boot is cavernous at 1,131 litres, which can accommodate nearly twice as much cargo as some other luxury five-seater SUVs. Unlike its predecessor though, the LC300 doesn’t get a split-tailgate, instead it has a conventional, electrically adjustable hatch.

    Seat heating and cooling, climate control for rear passengers.

    While on the topic of equipment, we get only a fully loaded ZX variant, which packs kit like auto LED lights, 20-inch alloys, sunroof, front and rear heated and ventilated seats, four-zone climate control, 360-degree camera, cooled centre console, 12.3-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 14 JBL speakers, drive modes, off-road modes, crawl function, 10 airbags and more.

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 engine and performance

    In line with modern downsizing trends, the LC’s erstwhile 4.5-litre V8 diesel makes way for a 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel, which makes more power and torque at 309hp and 700Nm, respectively. Right off the bat, those seeking petrol-like smoothness and refinement will have to make peace with this oil-burner’s grumbly note, which gets progressively louder at higher engine speeds.

    Twin-turbo V6 diesel is brawny and sounds rather grumbly.

    With two turbochargers – one for lower engine speeds and one for higher – this V6 diesel produces torque in abundance. There’s a hint of delay while taking off and throttle responses aren’t overly sharp (something you’ll appreciate in off-road scenarios). What’s nice is that boost comes in nice and early, and from thereon, its strong pulling power will keep its owners satisfied. Complementing this V6 is a 10-speed transmission with closely stacked ratios that extract the best out of it. What’s more, at highway speeds, the multiple ratios ensure that the engine is spinning at lower RPMs, which not only make it a relaxed cruiser, but also have a positive effect on its fuel efficiency. And while its 0-100kph (claimed) acceleration time of 8 seconds, or even the inclusion of Sport and Sport Plus modes will be of little relevance to its owners, what most will appreciate is its ability to munch distances. Further, its massive 110-litre fuel tank minimises the need to stop to refuel often.

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 ride and handling

    Of course, it isn’t quite as sporty to drive as other monocoques out there, and you will need to drive it with respect, as it leans side to side a fair bit, and you can feel its weight transfer around a series of bends. But for a hardy, body-on-frame SUV, its ride quality is surprisingly pliant and supple; it’ll swallow potholes, undulations and road imperfections in its stride. Yes, there is a bit of suspension lumpiness typically associated with body-on-frames, however, body movements are well in check. In fact, its underpinnings  feel so tough, and with long-travel suspension and a huge ride height, it instils tremendous confidence in the driver to venture off-the-beaten path and take it over hostile terrain, the type you wouldn’t dare to subject any other luxury SUV to.

    Ride is surprisingly pliant thanks to a new-age, light and rigid chassis.

    In off-road scenarios, the LC300 takes the game to a different level. Not only does it retain similar statistics like approach, departure and ramp breakover angles and ample ground clearance as the LC200, but with new-age electric gadgetry like Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control and Downhill Assist Control, among others, the LC300 can reach far greater heights in the literal sense and trundle over most obstacles in its path with the effortlessness of a mountain goat.

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 verdict

    Like Land Cruisers of yore, the LC300 is extremely capable and it’ll take its owners practically anywhere they’d want to go; all while in the lap of luxury. In addition, thanks to its tank-like build and Toyota’s solid reliability, the LC is also likely to outlast its owners.

    You could get more luxury for LC money, but nothing quite as tough.

    But for an asking price of Rs 2.10 crore, it is eye-wateringly expensive, and for similar money or less, you get far more luxurious and feature-rich European SUVs. However, none feel as tough as this Toyota, and for some buyers with deep pockets who don’t mind the low frills but want a big, comfy and dependable SUV, the LC300 is the only one of its kind. And if that’s you, be prepared to get in line and wait a long, long time to get your hands on a new one.

    Also see:

    Toyota Land Cruiser 300 video review

    Toyota Cars

    Tech Specs

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