Above: This Week’s Car Review – 2020 Toyota Landcruiser Sahara

2020 Toyota Landcruiser Sahara

When you think of Toyota, what do you think of? Do you think of the mind-numbing drudgery of an ancient creaking Corolla, whose rust is held together with lashings of lovingly applied house paint? Or, do you think of being in a far-off land, cradled gently in the ample bosom of a LandCruiser Sahara?

I certainly think of the latter.

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ABOVE: 2020 Landcruiser Sahara

I think of the clattering discordance of Middle-Eastern music, hot sand piled a hundred metres high, and dusty ruins, holding history’s secrets just out of grasp. I see a Sahara crammed full desert delights, as I reach into the centre bin for a lightly chilled water, filtered by monks in the Atlas Mountains.

As we pause for a moment, a wisp whips the desert into a frenzy, and as it clears, there before us, a Bedouin Tent appears, as if a mirage.

Fine tassels flutter gently on its canopy. Old silk and wool carpets are laid out on the sand, both outside and in.

We’re beckoned in, for a feast that awaits. Somehow, 3 days of dates, figs, and lamb tajine does not make up for a hangover the size of Africa. Kumis is meant to be mildly alcoholic. It isn’t, and hit me like a sledge hammer. Fermented goat’s milk certainly tasted worse coming up, than it did going down.

The Sahara was, by now, down to a mere 20 Litres, the car, not the desert.

Sheik Abdul al-Rashid, our host, clapped his hands quickly but quietly. A fez-topped flunky appeared, as if summoned from the mists of time, nodding obediently at some unheard cosmic command. Yentob had replenished our thirsty steed.

We climbed onboard, and pressed the starter. The Sahara fired into life, kicking up a cloud of fine, hot dust.

Before I could ask, “is there still sand in my crack,” lightly chilled air consigned the ever-present dust, and searing heat, to annals of faint and distant memory.

Hours of sand melted away as desert morphed into the organized chaos of Marrakech.

Carpets, rugs, and a couple of old cracked tiles were quickly crammed in to what little space was left, and our journey was over.

We’d driven from Cairo to Marrakech. We’d endured sandstorms and camel trains. We had taken refuge at oases along the way, and never once had the Toyota missed a beat.

It’s 4.5LV8 ran like a finely crafted Swiss watch, and the climate control never ventured above 20c. The nights were spent watching videos in the back seat. Our home for a fortnight? A clever tent that folded from the roof pack like a giant origami house.

Then, the lights changed, and I rolled gently into Coles’ carpark.

Was it a dream? Not all of it. I was still sitting in a Sahara, just not THE Sahara. As I pressed the button on outside the door, the smell of a heavily-spiced banquet seemed to linger. I turned, and walked across the pot-holed tarmac, only half aware that, as I reached for my wallet, a few grains of fine red sand tumbled playfully to the ground.

2020 toyota Landcruiser 200 Series Sahara

Price: $123,590 ($132,310 on road NSW)

Engine: 4.5L turbo Diesel

Power: 200kw/650Nm

Economy: 9.5L/100k

CO2: 250g/k, Euro 5

Tank: 138L (93L + 45L)

Transmission: 6 speed automatic

Weight: 2740kg