In 2002, Toyota adopted a development plan for 5 years and started developing a successor to the Toyota Land Cruiser 100. By 2004, the design was developed. The prototype was tested in the period from 2004 to 2007. Toyota Land Cruiser 200 was put into production at the end of 2007.
Land Cruiser is more than half a century of history and many generations of SUVs. For the first time, the world saw the current generation of Toyota Land Cruiser 200 in 2007. During its history, the car has undergone two updates — a small tuning in 2012 and a radical restyling at the end of 2015: the headlights, radiator grille, hood, lights, center console, steering wheel changed.
When speaking about Toyota Land Cruiser 200, we rather mention not ‘innovations’ but the ‘classics’ of large frame SUVs. The vehicle is built on a ladder-type frame, an independent suspension is used at the front, a dependent beam-bridge is installed at the rear. Under the hood, there is a naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 1UR-FE series petrol engine. Together with the engine, there is a 6-speed automatic transmission. The drive is a permanent full drive with a Torsen differential. In the course of the latest update, the brake discs have been increased — the front diameter is 354 mm instead of 340 mm.
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 has several different off-road systems. Firstly, the Crawl Control function: a kind of ‘cruise’ for off-road, when the car will constantly crawl forward at the selected speed (within 1-5 km / h). Secondly, the MTS (Multi-Terrain Select) system: it allows you to select off-road driving conditions (stones/dirt/gravel) and adjusts the operation of the engine and automatic transmission, traction control, response to pressing the accelerator pedal for them. Thirdly, the OTA (Offroad Turn Assist) function is offered, which can clamp the inner wheel in a turn and thus reduce its radius. Finally, the fourth is a special ‘off-road view’ MTM (Multi-Terrain Monitor): a view from the front camera in front of the car hood, tips about the direction of movement of the front wheels, a view from cameras in the mirrors on the sidewalls of the car, in the area of the front fenders and wheels.
The car is spacious at the front and in the back, there is 4-zone climate control and a fridge box in the armrest. The leather on the seats is great, and the seats are wide. Traditionally, Toyota has a nice design of dashboard and advanced functionality. The steering wheel is also good with a large number of buttons for controlling auxiliary functions, but the heating is only in the grip points: the rim remains cold until the vehicle warms up inside.
The car is equipped with a multimedia complex that is responsible for the audio system, phone connection, there is a circular view and voice control. However, there are also problems. Firstly, part of the climate control works only through the touchscreen display. At the same time, some of the climate buttons are ‘physical’ (temperature, recirculation, heated glass, etc.), even though there is plenty of room for other buttons on the center console. Secondly, the general graphics of the central display is as if it was drawn in Paint back in 2008: straight lines, simple icons, a minimum of color. But you can customize the main screen — you can change its appearance and the location of the icons responsible for different functions.
The rear is spacious (despite the high floor), there is seat adjustment, its own ‘climate’, heating. There are large windows and good visibility. The boot is huge and offers a top/bottom swing door. But these are its only advantages: it is very difficult to reach the edges, there is no organizer-limiter, there is no underground either.
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 accelerates rather fast: the engine power is enough for a car of this size and weight. With average acceleration, at the beginning of the accelerator pedal stroke, there is softness and a pause, which helps to drive smoothly in traffic jams. And if you press the pedal harder, then the engine will «push» Toyota Land Cruiser 200 forward without any problems. The traditional automatic transmission is also good. With a smooth ride, it is soft enough.
The Toyota Land Cruiser 200 SUV looks monumental and it drives the same way: good on acceleration, stable on a straight line. But it has a hard time cornering, the brakes are weak and the pedal is «sticky», which makes it difficult to control deceleration. But the real V8 engine is awesome! The «ECT 2nd» button is a very soft start (good on slippery snow/ice or mud). But the other buttons, which are just intended to change the driving modes, have a weak, almost imperceptible effect on the character of the car.
But the main thing in the character of the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 is comfort! Comfort is everywhere: on any irregularities, in holes, in a rut, when driving over road rushes. Here bumps dissolve in thick tires and suspension with long strokes.
The Elegance version opens the range: seven airbags, a chrome grille, lenticular LED headlights, automatic low/high beam switching, 18-inch wheels, perforated leather trim, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, rear camera view, electric adjustment, and ventilation of the front seats, heated and adjustable rear seats, separate 4-zone climate control, Toyota Touch audio system (8-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, six speakers), center differential lock, Crawl Control, and MTS systems.
At first glance, the Elegance version already has everything you need, but the Premium version adds many important points: an adaptive hydropneumatic suspension, an aerodynamic package (front and rear bumper covers), 20-inch wheels, improved leather in the cabin, VGRS steering with variable gear ratio, driving mode selection buttons, lane control, monitoring of «blind spots» of rear-view mirrors, box refrigerator, electric boot lid, adaptive cruise control, electric sunroof, all-round cameras, Toyota Touch Pro audio system (9-inch display, JBL amplifier, 14 speakers), Multi-Terrain Monitor function
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Special Edition is identical to the Premium configuration, but differs in appearance and interior trim: it has an aerodynamic body kit, headlights with a dark lining, black mirror housings, cool diamond-shaped trim on the seats, and doors.
The advantage of the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 over almost all competitors is potentially huge reliability and endurance, as well as the availability of diesel versions. And of course, the name that has already become legendary: it means a small loss in value when you resell your vehicle later. The name «Land Cruiser» is not just the name of the model, but a real reflection of the concept of the car: a cruise liner for long expeditions on the ground. Regardless of age, some drawbacks of driving, and high price, the car offers many advantages thanks to which it is still in demand on the market.