Toyota upgrades LandCruiser
2003 Toyota LandCruiser Series 100
Toyota 'Sahara' LandCruiser
Sahara gets 17-inch alloys & traction control
Toyota 'GXL' LandCruiser
GXL viewed from rear - note new brake-lights
Toyota 'Standard' LandCruiser
Sahara interior gets elegant wood-grain finish
Not entirely a new model, the updated LandCruiser 100 series gets a "specification upgrade," to use
But why now? A good question that, and one easily answered by taking a quick look at the latest VFACTS
The top selling large 4WD in Australia (month ending September '02) was the Nissan Patrol Wagon, with
684 of them sold. This equates to a 35.5 per cent market share, while in second place Toyota's
LandCruiser Wagon had a market share of 29.9 per cent, with a total of 576 units sold.
But more than just crunching the numbers and deciding on a mid-life upgrade, Toyota's ageing 100 series
is facing tough competition from all over the shop, including Germany.
The BMW X5 is the third most popular large 4WD, followed closely by its Germanic cousin in the form of
the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, with 12.6 and 10.2 per cent market share respectively.
Toyota has obviously also noticed the surge in popularity of the luxo-4WD, re-introducing the top-spec
luxury Sahara model, complete with (almost) all the options.
The LandCruiser update basically involves a reshuffling of the engines on offer, plus a few interior and
exterior mods, and a new model had been added to the line-up in the form of the range-topping Sahara.
The Toyota LandCruiser 100 series range now comprises of eight models. Then there is the choice of two
body styles, three engines, two transmissions and three equipment grade levels.
Furthermore, a part-time 4WD workhorse standard grade van, complete with vertically split rear "barn"
doors and seven full-time 4WD wagons, all of which have retained their famous eight-seat capacity.
The largest, and perhaps most important, change to the new 4WD is the inclusion of Toyota's hefty
4.7-litre eight cylinder mill.
The V8 makes use of Toyota direct ignition, with separate igniters for all eight cylinders and super-long
life iridium and platinum-tipped spark plugs, which provides greater reliability and lower emissions.
The exhaust system consists of fabricated stainless steel headers for optimum engine breathing and a
stainless steel tailpipe.
The Toyota V8 engine also has a two-stage main muffler, which reduces backpressure at middle to high
engine speeds, to improve top-end performance.
The 4664cc "2UZ-FE" V8 engine is fairly generic piece of kit, making use of DOHC, alloy cross-flow
heads and four valves per cylinder.
You'd expect this sort of capacity to churn out the big numbers, but 170kW @ 4800rpm isn't exactly
class-leading, though 410Nm of torque @ 3400rpm lessens the blow, somewhat.
The 0-100km/h times are 10.2 seconds for the manual and 11.3 seconds for the new five-speed automatic
Other new features to the 100 series include a new variable-ratio steering rack, which provides easier
turning at low speeds. Two new gearboxes are offered: a new five speed automatic and manual
One-touch up/down power windows and a 6-CD multi-changer on all GXL models is now standard.
LandCruiser's interior appointments include an improved instrument panel with a padded lower half, new
colours and new trim, while a new instrument panel has improved fit and finish, aimed at enhancing quality.
Two interior colours are offered - Ivory and Stone - and the new LandCruiser 100 series has a newly
designed steering wheel and HVAC (heater/ventilation/air conditioning) controls.
New LandCruiser offers the choice of two types of steering wheel - a new four-spoke urethane wheel in
Standard grade and naturally aspirated diesel GXL, and a four-spoke leather wheel in petrol and
turbo-diesel GXL, and Sahara.
GXL models have a 3-in-1 stereo system with a smart-tune radio, the same which made its debut in the
new Camry. The smart tuner reduces multi-path noise, electromagnetic interference and FM interference
Safety has also been improved, with upgrades including dual SRS airbags as standard equipment on all
models (including standard grade van), ABS brakes on all wagon models and head impact protection
A very minor facelift means that a new front bumper made from fully recyclable TSOP-6 (for increased
strength and lighter weight) offers a larger air dam, for better engine cooling and combustion.
The radiator grille has also been changed to a three-bar design, for a more elegant, powerful appearance.
Changes at the rear include new clear-lens combination lamps with amber turn signal bulbs and windscreen
wiper performance has been improved too, via graphite-coated wiper blades.
But perhaps the most important new feature of the re-jigged 'Cruiser line-up is the Sahara model. Sales of
the LandCruiser's upmarket cousin, the Lexus LX470, haven't been to the same levels as the 4WD
Beemer or Merc.
Indeed, with only a scant 1.9 per cent market share (month ending September '02), Toyota, which owns
Lexus, must do something to stop of the bleeding.
So, the Sahara is back in an attempt to lure buyers away from other luxury 4WDs - but will it work?
The flagship Sahara model ships with significantly higher specification levels than the superseded GXV.
For starters, the new Sahara is offered with the choice of not just a turbo-diesel engine, but also the Quad
Cam V8 engine - both with five-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment for the Sahara includes independent front suspension, power-assisted rack and pinion
steering and ABS brakes.
Potential buyers also get a full leather interior, power front seats with height and lumbar adjustment,
woodgrain trim, a coolbox, 3-in-1 audio system with six-CD multi-changer, moonroof, front foglamps,
fridge, large body side protection mouldings, a multi information display/trip computer and dual zone air
The inclusion of a touch-screen DVD-based satellite navigation system also pushes the Sahara squarely
into luxury territory, and will become a sticking point for the new model.
On the outside, the Sahara gets new 17-inch alloys with hulking 275/65 R17 all-terrain tyres. Quad Cam V8
Saharas also benefit from vehicle stability control and active four-wheel-drive traction control.
The specification upgrade improves the LandCruiser 100 Series' safety, performance, economy, emissions,
comfort and feature levels, and the new engines offer lowered noise, vibration and harshness (NVH)
The newly fettled Toyota LandCruiser is the first part of a major new model assault on the 4x4 market.
In the next six months the company will have launched new models into all but one 4x4 segment: The new
'Cruiser will be followed by the launch of V6 HiLux 4x4 utility in a matter of weeks, while in early 2003,
Toyota will launch a new generation Prado.
Interestingly, the world-wide production of LandCruiser has now exceeded four million - and Australia's
share of more than 11.5 percent of this makes it the largest LandCruiser customer of all.
Accordingly, Toyota will be doing everything within its power to claw back the market share lost to the
likes of the Nissan Patrol and such an all-out attack on the 4X4 market is good way to go about thtis.
Toyota senior executive vice-president John Conomos said: "The launch of a new LandCruiser is always
an important moment for Toyota in Australia.
"LandCruiser is the rock on which Toyota Australia is founded. It helped open up the agricultural and
resource-based industries throughout the 1960s and in doing so also created a regional sales and service
network unequalled at that time.
"The introduction of the Quad Cam V8 across the petrol range sets new standards for LandCruiser," John
"It is a sensational value for money story. The V8 was available in the 100 Series range until October
2000 in just one model, the GXV, and it cost $92,368. Now our customers can access the V8 in a well
specified GXL for around $34,000 less," Mr Conomos concluded.
With the 4X4 market one of the most lucrative at present, and having increased dramatically in size over
the past three years, Toyota is all too aware of how important its flagship 4x4 status is.
STD Diesel manual transmission $51,990
GXL Diesel manual transmission $60,900
GXL V8 manual transmission $58,310
GXL V8 automatic transmission $61,390
Sahara V8 automatic transmission $79,900
GXL Turbo Diesel manual transmission $70,700
GXL Turbo Diesel automatic transmission $73,390
Sahara Turbo Diesel automatic transmission $89,900