Category Archives: Japanese

Toyota Land Cruiser and Land Rover Range Rover

2017 Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser

The choice of the high and mighty in power across the world, the Land Cruiser has earned its place on the pedestal of off road vehicles. Only just, for only a handful of passenger vehicles can provide Dakar winning performances and luxurious cross country highway drives all at the drop of a hat. The Land Cruiser is a legend in its own right delivering on performance, safety, luxury and practicality all at once. It is rather huge, but that can sometimes be seen as a big advantage too. Depending on the market, you have a choice of powerful V8 engines – a 5.7L gasoline unit making 381 hp and 401 lb/ft of torque or a 4.5L diesel unit making 285 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. The automatic transmission, four wheel drive system and several electro-mechanical aids deliver an enjoyable experience in the most challenging of conditions on and off the road. The Land Cruiser will not hesitate to tread where other cars and so-called off roaders have their drivers stop and think twice or more before venturing ahead.

Of course, all this comes at a price but considering the features and equipment it comes with, along with the legendary Toyota reliability on hand, it does seem good value!

Land Rover Range Rover

After the demise of the original, proper Hummer – the H1 Alpha, most enthusiasts will agree that the most capable off road vehicle in current production is the Range Rover. While the Land Cruiser is regarded as the ultimate vehicle in some parts of the world, the Range Rover adds a bit more to mix with bespoke luxury and a heritage that Toyota might not always be able to contend with. The innovative gadgets and assist systems like the multi-view cameras, Terrain Response system and engine choices that Land Rover offers have yet to be challenged. On the road, the Range Rover is comfortable, quiet and luxurious while off it, it trudges on through and over terrain where few vehicles, let alone SUVs would dare to wet their tires on. Of course this effort is helped in no less part by a choice of massive V8 engines – a supercharged direct injection 5.0L V8 petrol engine with 510 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged common-rail direct injection 4.4L diesel engine making 313 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Add the incredible four wheel drive system, on-the-fly Terrain Response system and automatic transmission systems – a 6 speed Command Shift in the petrol and an 8 speed Drive Select on the diesel and you have a smooth and rather unrelenting delivery of power unlike any other luxury off road vehicle on the planet so far.

The Range Rover is arguably the greatest luxury off-roader on sale today. More so, it is also a style statement as much as it is anything else.

Mitsubishi Pajero and Lexus LX

Mitsubishi Pajero

While Mitsubishi isn’t the most popular brand worldwide, it certainly makes a good crop of cars, or should I say a great crop! They’ve generated much fanfare with their Lancer EVO and Pajero models among rally and off road enthusiasts respectively. But look harder and you notice the Pajero isn’t just a pure-bred dune attacker. It can do just as well on the road and is a great family car that doesn’t cost the world to own and to run. You get the luxury and the gadgets on the inside, apart from one of the best audio systems ever offered in a car. There are three rows of seats with a genuinely pampering second row. As a performer too, the Pajero, Montero, Shogun or whatever name it goes by in other markets, is nothing short of a brilliant all-rounder. A 3.2L 4 cylinder common-rail direct injection engine delivers 202 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque to a 5-speed automatic transmission which sends it to the Super-Select four wheel drive system. While those figures may be lower than many of the models mentioned here about, it doesn’t feel like it has anything missing when you’re at the wheel.

The Pajero figures in this list of elite SUVs because it not only gets the job done right, but also because it doesn’t cost as much to get almost all of what you would get from something twice the price. It is also extremely reliable and dependable upon as an every day car.

Lexus LX

Lexus have aimed square at the big guns with their new LX570. This behemoth 8 passenger SUV has been further improved upon over its predecessor making it equally capable on the road and off it. With a luxurious interior equipped with all the creature comforts, utilities and entertainment features you would ever need, there is no doubting the capability of the LX as a long distance tourer. Lexus have further fettled with the LX to make it an astonishing off-roader as well, not surprising seeing as the Toyota Land Cruiser is the base for this gentle monster. There’s a massive 5.7L V8 gasoline engine on offer making 383 hp and 403 lb/ft of torque of which 90% is available from 2200 rpm – ample performance to have the better of the highway or the dirt. All that output goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip locking center differential, which when combined to the Active Traction Control, updated Crawl Control, Hill Assist, Turn Assist and Multi-Terrain Select along with the adjustable ride height make it a highly capable vehicle in all conditions.

Lexus cars, especially their saloons, have often been considered the boring businessman’s ride of choice. Of course the LX is in a different league and you would be wise to put any biased choices aside and take a long, hard look at this one. Performance and peace of mind are after all irreplaceable; forget what everyone says…