Market share for the new LandCruiser 200 Series has risen to more than 70 per cent of the large SUV segment. LandCruiser 200 Sahara pictured.

LandCruiser Sahara: Your limo transport to the wild awaits.

Yes Yes Yes oh YES!: space, luxury, silky V8, reputation, quietness

Oh dear me no: Price

There aren’t too many SUVs bigger than the LandCruiser, nor are there many SUVs who have gone farther or done more. It is a very select group who can claim membership to the “we can go anywhere, so bugger you” club.

You’ll no doubt recall we took a V8 diesel GXL down the M5 to Canberra and it performed beautifully. It is the sort of road trip these things were made for. Everything seems effortless, albeit in slow motion.

2007 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Sahara (front), VX (middle) and GXL (rear)

The Sahara is top dog and is very unlikely to have sand kicked in its face. Sahara treats its passengers more like guests who have checked into a bijou luxury hotel. Those guests have been shown to a 3rd floor suite where they’ve put their ports down and settled into a comfy chair. Its driving experience feels somewhat similar, as if a guest is driving a 3 story luxury hotel, from a suite on the 3rd floor. Everything happens in slow motion and from the time you enter the cabin you feel pampered. The thing I most like is the feeling that at any stage I could simply turn the wheel and head off the road no matter where I happen to be. There is a sturdiness about the construction which feels rather like an army vehicle has been trimmed with leather, felt and climate control with cup holders for good measure. It isn’t something you can fake because it isn’t tangible. Just as in the GXL (click here for the story), we felt cosseted and safe.

Not that we went off road but here is what you can expect if you do (credit to youtube uploaders)

So, if you find yourself in a muddy driveway

or a gravel driveway

or on the set of Lawrence of Arabia (turn the music down or your ears will bleed)

You’ll want to get out just so you can see the 4WD do its thang. The sand trap escape is particularly recherche. Once upon a time you’d have needed a brace of bandits in white robes to appear on horseback, with shovels and duck boards on their backs. Now you simply press the crawl button and set the speed with the knob and Bob’s-you-uncle, you don’t even need to touch the pedals.

The crawl feature allows the bijou hotel drag itself from a bog, so perhaps it should be called the “Alan Jones” feature. I’ll admit you only get a true appreciation of those laudable attributes if you’re drunk enough to want to take your $124,000 Sahara into the panel-denting outback. I’d sooner have my eyelids pinned back with nine inch nails. No, I’d rather be in an actual bijou luxu