Which car is it?: 2019 Toyota Landcruiser 200 VX review

Landcruiser began life as a humble 4X4 in 1951. It had rubber mats and was 100% utilitarian.

In 2008, the Landcruiser 200 series was born. Since then it has been lavished with updates in comfort, technology, and capability.

Models are GX, GXL, VX and the luxuriously, fully-appointed Sahara. Our semi-luxury VX scores much of the goodies of the Sahara for 15 grand less.

In 2018, Landcruiser was fettled again with the addition of an upgraded infotainment system, blind spot monitor and a trick 360 ° camera that also gives a view of underneath the car, and where the front wheels are placed.

Australia is Toyota’s largest Landcruiser market with 13,677 sold last year, giving Toyota 91,6% of the segment. Admittedly, only Nissan’s Patrol shares that segment. Landcruiser 80 series adds another 10,037 to that total.

See VIDEO review BELOW

The Looks

Landcruiser is a big boy. There is no hiding that hulking 2,740kg brute of a body. It is 1980mm wide not including the mirrors, and 4990mm long with a 2850mm wheelbase.

VX has 18” alloys which look a bit lost in that endless sea of wheel arch. Tyres are 285/60R18, with enough height to be comfortable regardless of the size of the rocks under them. That’s a good thing.

2015 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series GXL

Bi-LED auto headlights were added but look added on to the aging body. LED taillights look more successful, but are still what I’d call pretty.

There is a 2-part manual rear hatch, which along with all other doors, has smart entry and locking. The bottom section can be used to stand on, if you manage to be able to scramble up on to it.

Side steps help with access into the high-set 7 or 8 seater cabin. You feel like you’re boarding a jet.

Landcruiser is over 10 years old, which is geriatric in automotive terms. Despite that it continues to be one of the best selling vehicles in the country, mainly because it has only one rival.

Overall, the 2 box shape is OK. It’s the best shape to be wrapped around such a capacious cabin.

What’s it like inside?

The cabin is comfortable if a bit dated.

It’s got everything you need, a few things you want, and the odd thing you probably hadn’t heard of before.

2015 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series VX

There is space for 8 seats, and 7 in the diesel models. The 3rd row swings up like a couple of broken wings. They stow against the side windows of the cargo hold allowing the floor to be as low as possible. Other 7 seaters raise the floor by up to 30cms. The seats can be left in the garage if you don’t need them.

The interior is positively voluminous.

Seating is akin to a lounge chair, heated and cooled depending on how much money you’ve paid. There is power/memory adjustment on the front seats.

The driver has an updated dash which includes a 4.2” LCD where a digital speedo can be displayed. You can scroll through menus for fuel and distance data, but the speedo is the most useful. There is no HUD which is a shame.

The 9” touch screen looks huge. It controls audio, video and climate settings, and displays the external cameras.

You sit a very long way from the dash but the controls remain easy to use. VX has the merest hint of woodgrain and sensible leather upholstery, which contrasts ironically with the tough rubber mats. The reason Landcruiser is so popular is its ability to navigate our tricky dirt roads with grace and aplomb. Imagine getting out for a comfort stop in the middle of nowhere. Should you step in something wayward, you don’t have to worry about soiling the Axminster.

The 3rd row is a bit tight and best kept for occasional use. Although most people can sit in them, you probably wouldn’t want to. You’ll need the cargo hold for longer trip anyway.

2nd row passengers will feel like they are in a limo. There is a mountain of space..

Cool stuff

Despite not having CarPlay/Android auto, the audio system has a lot of punch from 9 speakers. DAB radio can be used closer to town. You can still stream via USB/Bluetooth too.

You can tow up to 3,500kg, but the star feature is the Crawl Control.

Crawl is part of the off-road terrain programming. It allows Landcruiser to extract itself from deep sand and mud. There is an auto steer function which helps the wheels find the best way out. It will even allow Landcruiser to make a turn almost in its own length like a skid-steer earth mover.

External cameras can be left in “Auto” mode and come on depending on what part it wants to show you. Views include Birdseye from above, with cameras at the front wheel, and on the underside. It does its best to keep you from being stranded on rocks.

Should you find yourself up to the doorhandles in schmutz, Crawl is so good, it seems to haul you out as if you were using a winch. There are some great videos on youtube showing a Sahara in the Sahara, buried to the axels in sand. Normally you’d need hours to dig yourself out. Landcrusier simply uses ABS-like functions to apply power, braking, and torque to force the tyres to look for grip.

2015 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series VX

No human could manage this from inside the cabin without this brilliant feature.

Smart entry/start leaves the key in your pocket too. You can open or lock all doors by using the handles, or the little rubber pads on the back hatch.

Quad zone air climate control has additional knobs for rear seaters.

The Oily Bits

Our VX had the 4.5L V8 diesel option which is a $5,000 premium over the petrol engine model.

The twin-turbo V8 common rail diesel has 200KW/650Nm and uses 9.5L100k. You’ll get even further on the highway too. When it comes time to fill up, you’ll need 138L of fuel. Range is one of the biggest attractions

Both engines use a 6-speed automatic driving the full-time 4WD system. There is a Torsen limited slip centre differential, and high/low range gearing.

It makes Landcruiser feel nippy around town with lower gears providing get-up-and-go at the lights. It runs out of puff in higher revs so allow plenty of time for overtaking. It isn’t as fast as you think it is.

Landcruiser is almost unparalleled in its off-road capability.

Not only will Crawl get you out of a bog, but you can creep over rocks too. It allows the driver to concentrate on steering and wheel placement.

Parking is easier than you might think. The cameras give an accurate impression of your place in space, even in tight spots. Left in Auto-mode, they come on when sensors detect something it thinks you should be aware of. Around town it is incredibly annoying but it does keep you on your toes.

On the open road, you feel like you could drive forever. Seats are supremely comfortable even after many hours. You can do a roadtrip pulling a camper with no effort.

2015 Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series VX

Anti-Sway keeps your tail tidy too.

Steering is more akin to sailing a yacht. You point, and more or less go there if the wind is right. The ride is luxurious with double wishbones at the front, and a fancy 4-link Panhard setup at the back.

How Safe Is it?

ANCAP gave Landcruiser a 5star rating back in 2011. Since then, Landcruiser gained blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, AEB, automatic high beam and active cruise control

There are auto-steering aids such as automated parking, lane centering and accident avoidance, but you tend to find that people get out of your way just like the do with B-Doubles.

People feel safer in big cars because there is more metal between you and oblivion. You sit higher, especially in this beast.

Stuff I like:

  • Limosine-like ride
  • A full suite of Terrain controls
  • Built to last

The Bits I don’t:

  • Aging looks
  • aging interior
  • very big

The Roundup:

Despite being a behemoth, Landcruiser is remarkably agile around town.

It can tow a small moon, and is like a mountain goat off-road. What’s not to like? You could drive almost 24 hours on a single tank, taking most of your friends with you.

If you have no friends, a thrash along a beach is just as much fun.

You can pack so much gear in, even if you’re only going to the shops. Roadtrips

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Facts and Figures:

  • Engine: 4.5L V8 TwinTurbo producing 200kW/650Nm
  • Transmission: 4WD 6 speed Auto
  • Warranty: 5 Yr/ Unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Japan
  • Price: from $99,990 MLP*

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.