It’s a new LandCruiser… but where is it headed?
“Fake news!” declared several keyboard warriors when we posted images of a new LandCruiser late last week…
“That’s not the new 300 Series!” decried others. “It’s just a Middle East/Russian market LandCruiser.”
I’ve got to admit, I thought as much myself when I first saw the photos of the new LandCruiser, but then I did a little digging.
Now, before I get ahead of myself, I want to point out that what follows is nothing more than an opinion piece. My opinion, in fact, that I’ve based on stuff I’ve read on the internet, posts I’ve seen on social media, conversations I’ve had with other motoring journos, nearly 30 years in the industry and chats I’ve had with people at Toyota Australia. I should point out that the chats with people at Toyota Australia were not of much use at all, as these days getting any info out of Toyota Australia about future product is like trying to get blood from a stone. Niente, nada, nothing, zip.
Of course, it never used to be like this. Toyota Australia used to work with the motoring press, occasionally providing new-vehicle details prior to launch, so long as embargoes were adhered to. Crikey, Toyota even occasionally let journos drive pre-production vehicles, again under strict embargo. But sadly those days seem to be long gone…
So, back to Unsealed 4X4’s 200 Series facelift story. We’ve seen plenty of pics of Middle East/Russian market LandCruisers and they don’t look precisely like the images we ran last week. Sure, there’s a Grand Touring Kit available in some markets that looks a bit like the LandCruiser pictured, but the grille and headlights are still different, so this is clearly an update. And that’s not to say that these specific ‘updated’ vehicles are not headed to exclusively to other markets, and the Aussie-market 200 Series will continue as is… until the 300 Series eventually lobs. But I reckon the idea that the 300 Series will launch here soon is well off the mark.
Firstly, why would Toyota Australia want to replace the 200 Series? Sure, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, having first seen the light of day back in 2007, but it’s selling in Australia as well as it ever has. And despite having nothing more than the odd nip-and-tuck over the past 13 years, it’s still a bloody nice 4×4 wagon to drive. It cruises beautifully on the open road, it tows well, it’s pretty decent off-road and you can get just about every conceivable accessory for it.
Secondly, it’s rumoured that the 200 Series will be the last of the V8s. While the 1VD-FTV 4.5-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8 is hardly a technological tour de force, and it only develops quite modest output for a big V8, it’s a gloriously lazy engine that works well and is inherently reliable. Sure, there have been a few issues with dust getting past air filters and low-mounted alternators filling with mud, but overall it’s a good thing. And based on its continued sales success, LandCruiser buyers obviously agree with this synopsis.
So why would Toyota want to replace the successful 200 Series with a new 300 Series that’s rumoured to have a range of V6 engines instead of the successful TDV8? Yep, that’s a TDV6 and, at least for some markets, a V6 petrol engine and a V6 hybrid petrol-electric engine. Some media outlets have even reported that the 300 Series could be powered by the same 1GD-FTV 2.8L four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine used in HiLux, Fortuner and Prado but I reckon that’s codswallop.
Thirdly, the 200 Series LandCruiser has no real competitors. Sure, some people would point to the Patrol as being a competitor but really, if you want a big turbo-diesel 4×4 wagon there’s no way you’re going to look at the petrol-only Patrol, even if its 5.6-litre V8 is a pearler.
For my money, I reckon Toyota Australia will hold on to the 200 Series LandCruiser as long as it’s selling in decent numbers, which means a facelift for the old girl has got to be on the cards. And that means we won’t see the 300 Series in 2020, and probably not even in 2021.
Whether or not the 200 Series we showed you last week (and pictured here) is the exact model that will be heading to Oz, or if it is indeed only a mild facelift only for the Middle East/Russian markets, is anyone’s guess. We asked Toyota Australia but as usual they declined to comment.
If we hear anything concrete we’ll let you know.