Toyota Land Cruiser 300 – The Master of Africa

Signalling the first all-new Land Cruiser in 14 years, the Land Cruiser 300 has made a bold debut on local soil. Fusing the core Land Cruiser attributes the marque is renowned for, with an all-new design and Toyota’s acclaimed TNGA architecture – the ‘LC300’ represents the new age of Land Cruiser. 

On the design front, the ‘300’ features a dramatically different profile to Its ‘200’ predecessor. While the design is unmistakably angular in execution, it creates a cohesive form that offers far greater dynamic presence with a sense of agility. In profile the newcomer bears a passing resemblance to the much-loved 80-series of the ’90’s – keeping the classic two-box look. 

The front façade features a large and prominent radiator grille with sculpted rectangular headlamps on each side, that blend seamlessly into the grille. U-shaped radiator openings underpin a strong design while the bonnet features the signature Land Cruiser ‘channel’ down the centre. The rear features large trapezoidal taillamps with stylised light guides which are complemented by large Land Cruiser lettering and the Toyota Insignia. 

The Land Cruiser 300 serves as the flagship to the Toyota SUV-range, and carries an enviable reputation as the ‘Master of Africa’. The ‘300’ model is a ‘ground-up’ design, featuring an all-new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform designated as TNGA-F. The F indicates the first ladder-frame execution of TNGA – a fact that should find favour with off-road enthusiasts.

An all-new engine line-up propels the newcomer; buyers have the choice of a 3.5-litre V6 Twin Turbo petrol engine or 3.3-litre V6 Turbodiesel. Both powerplants focus on delivering increased efficiency, improved torque output and elevated levels of refinement versus the outgoing V8-variants. 

In order to accomplish this the diesel engine uses a host of technologies including a new dual-stage turbocharging system – which offers both low-speed response and high-rpm power. An electronically controlled bypass valve directs all exhaust gasses to the primary turbocharger (which also employs a variable nozzle design) at low engine speeds – aiding spool-up of the turbocharger. At mid-to-high rpm, the valve opens to direct exhaust gasses to both turbines, contributing to increased power and a broad, flat torque curve. 

This helps the 3.3 V6 Diesel punch out 225 kW @ 4000 rpm with a ‘stump-pulling’ 700 Nm available between 1600 and 2600 rpm. 

The petrol V6 offers 305 kW @ 5200 rpm with a stout 650 Nm available from 2000 rpm. This engine utilises Toyota’s acclaimed D-4ST injection system (a combination of port and direct injection), quick-response Dual VVT-i system and low-inertia turbochargers to achieve an ultra-smooth power delivery.

Top speed is pegged at 210 km/h for both variants. The new engines are mated to a new slick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission with low-range and diff-lock functionality.

Fuel consumption figures are listed as 12.1 l/100 km for the Petrol and 8.9 l/100 km for the diesel – with CO2 emissions checking in at 291 and 238 respectively.

The Land Cruiser 300 also introduces a new grade line-up, namely GX-R, ZX and GR-S. GX-R remains the utility-focussed model and serves as the entry point to the range, while the ZX serves as the luxury model.

For the first time on Land Cruiser, a GR Sport (aka GR-S) grade will be offered which serves as the off-road performance model. As such the GR-S features bespoke exterior styling and trim, rugged 18″ alloy wheels, while adopting an off-road-biased specification list – without skimping on any comfort or convenience. This model joins the other Gazoo Racing (GR) products, and expands the GR brand into Land Cruiser territory for the first time.

The ZX model in turn takes on a more ‘image-focused’ persona, with unique 20″ alloy wheels, chrome detailing and luxury-oriented interior trim. The Land Cruiser 300 range thus offers three distinct character profiles to choose from – Utility, Luxury and Off-road performance.

All models boast a comprehensive specification level including LED headlamps with integrated DRLs, keyless entry with auto-door-lock, park distance control, an electric parking brake, climate control with rear zone, power driver-seat adjustment, Multi-Information Display (MID), built-in Navigation (with Tracks 4 Africa support on GX-R), multiple power outlets with charging port, Crawl Control and Drive Mode Select.

The ZX and GR-S additionally feature power fold-down third-row seating, a power-operated back door with hands-free function, heated steering wheel with wood accents, JBL 14-speaker audio system with DVD playback and 12.3″ screen, Multi-Terrain Monitor with Panoramic View, seat heating & ventilation for first- and second-row passengers, a wireless charger and tyre pressure monitoring. All models have Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality.

The ZX model adds a Wi-Fi enabled rear-seat entertainment system with wireless headphones, while the GR-S model features a high-tech E-KDSS* system to maximise off-road capability. Both variants also feature additional drive mode select modes and a AWD Integrated Management (AIM) system for superior vehicle control.

*E-KDSS is an evolution of the acclaimed Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which links the wheels via hydraulically-supported stabiliser bars – providing excellent wheel articulation and body-roll control. The advantage of the E-KDSS system, is the ability to ‘link’ the wheels together for excellent on-road handling and then unlock the stabiliser bars when required- to promote excellent wheel articulation (+30mm versus the current model) for off-road use. E-KDSS employs electronic control via the vehicle dynamics module (AIM), to further enhance system response and versatility.

All-wheel Drive Integrated Management (AIM) combines the vehicles’ key dynamic modules to deliver enhanced performance across all terrains. The Electric Power Steering (EPS), VSC, Brake Control as well as engine and transmission logic are all tailored to suit conditions via the Multi-Terrain Select (MTS)  interface. The MTS-system allows the driver to select different terrain modes including Deep Snow, Mud, Dirt and Sand – to optimise vehicle performance and maximise traction. In Low-range mode, Rock, Mud and Sand are available alongside the new Auto mode which allows the LC300’s terrain logic and camera system to help predict the preferred driving mode based on inputs from various sensors.

The ZX & GR-S includes a new 3D Multi Terrain Monitor (MTM) which uses four surround cameras to display obstacles around the vehicle – including terrain conditions. A Panoramic View mode creates a birds-eye view of the vehicle – aiding visibility.

Also new to the ZX and GR-S is the Turn Assist Function – which helps the vehicle make sharp turns on loose surfaces by braking the inside rear wheel.

Model Line-up

Land Cruiser 300 GX-R 3.3D – R 1 283 200

Land Cruiser 300 ZX 3.3D – R 1 765 500

Land Cruiser 300 ZX 3.5T – R 1 797 100

Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.3D – R 1 811 900

Land Cruiser 300 GR-S 3.5T – R 1 842 900

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