By Mike Torpey on 2023-04-02 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Toyota Land Cruiser
IT may come as something of a surprise to learn that the most widely available Toyota model worldwide is the Land Cruiser, which is being sold in more than 190 countries.
But then its off-road abilities have earned it a time-honoured reputation as one of the toughest and most reliable 4x4s in the business, making it a segment leader in 10 European markets.
The latest generation Land Cruiser features a single engine choice, a 2.8-litre turbodiesel developing a hefty 201bhp, and a pair of trim grades called Active - which comes with five or seven seats - and our tested Invincible, which is sold exclusively as a seven-seater.
Toyota sets great store by the vehicle's core values of quality, durability and reliability, and it's easy to understand why - this is a big 4x4 that oozes class, comfort and technology.
While its off-road credentials are second to none, the lion's share of the big Toyota's activity will inevitably be on everyday roads.
With that in mind, a series of changes to the Land Cruiser's suspension mean that it certainly lives up to its name, performing with enviable ride quality and stability - both in an urban environment and on the motorway.
It's also smooth to drive through the auto gearbox with ample acceleration when required plus the benefit of Comfort, Eco, Normal and Sport drive modes and paddle shifts for added driver input.
Move into an altogether tougher habitat - and we were fortunate enough to have access to some mud-clagged farm tracks - and the Toyota really comes into its own.
A principal feature is the Multi-Terrain Select system which allows the driver to alter the all-wheel drive dynamics to suit the prevailing conditions, and there's a also a Crawl Control set-up to help the driver climb or descend slopes at walking pace.
It also means you can free the vehicle if it gets stuck, without having to touch the pedals, and gives a range of five speed settings. At the same time a monitor on the dashboard shows the area you are driving over.
So the Land Cruiser is an extremely capable 4x4 - and it looks the part too. Muscular, chunky and distinctive, it ensures access is easy for all courtesy of grab handles and side steps.
Once aboard, you are able to sink into perforated and heated leather seats - in the case of our tested model a distinguished looking ivory shade - in an upmarket cabin packed with kit and providing plenty of space for passengers.
The Invincible is a seven-seater and if gaining access to the third row can in some models become an ordeal that's not the case here due to a handy 46-degree angle for the middle row.
The back pair, which are large enough for adults, do restrict luggage space but only to a usable 190 litres and that extends to a cavernous 1,943 litres with the second row flipped down.
There's also plenty of cabin stowage space, with door bins, lockable glovebox, concealed trays, cup holders, chilled cubby, central container and seat-back nets included.
And standard kit includes the likes of an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, 360-degree camera, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated steering wheel, full leather upholstery, a 14-speaker surround sound system, lit side steps, puddle lamps and triple-zone climate control.
Safety features include seven airbags plus Toyota's Safety Sense technologies like a pre-collision system with pedestrian and cyclist detection, road sign assist, blind spot monitor, land departure alert, cross traffic alert and automatic high beam.
Toyota Land Cruiser Invincible
Mechanical:201bhp, 2,755cc 4-cyl turbo diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed auto transmission
GIVE a vehicle the spec name Invincible and it has an awful lot to live up to...
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