The all-new Land Cruiser V8 is the eighth in a line of long-wheelbase, station wagon-style Land Cruisers. With a heritage that stretches back 57 years, it is the longest-running model in the Toyota line-up.
This world-beating, go-anywhere Land Cruiser has led the expansion of the company since the 1950s, taking the Toyota brand to new continents and previously untapped markets. Land Cruiser V8’s roots can be traced right back to the Toyota BJ, the first four-wheel-drive vehicle developed by the company and produced early in 1951. Powered by a 3.4-litre, six-cylinder engine, the BJ rapidly developed a reputation for its toughness and its ability to go anywhere. Within six months of its creation the BJ had become a champion, climbing to the sixth hill station of Japan’s Mount Fuji, 2,500 metres up. It was the first ever vehicle to get this far. As a result of this performance, the BJ was added to the Japanese police fleet and the model’s success began. In 1954 the latest BJ, the Type 25, was given a generic model name – Land Cruiser – which has been used ever since.
As Toyota began its worldwide export and growth programme during the 1950s and 1960s, it found that many established markets were already well penetrated by American and European automakers, leaving little room for new entrants from Japan. Strategically, Toyota decided to focus on the emerging markets of the Middle East, south-east Asia and South America.
In 1967, Toyota responded to the popular trend in the American market for more refined 4x4 vehicles with the launch of the Land Cruiser Station Wagon FJ55V. This was to create a new generation of Land Cruisers, running in parallel with the original ‘jeep-style’ off-road concept. Over the years, Land Cruiser has become synonymous with Toyota throughout the world. From Australian outback to the Russian steppes and the streets of Europe, the vehicle is loved for its all-round capabilities: highly reliable, tough off-road, yet sufficiently comfortable and refined to go anywhere and be seen everywhere.
The Land Cruiser range continues to be a worldwide sales success and is the best-selling SUV ever, with more than five million customers since launch. It is sold in more than 140 countries and produced in nine Toyota manufacturing plants around the globe (all body types). The major markets are the Middle East, Australia and Europe.
A new generation
Typical Land Cruiser customers look for modern technology in their cars, but they also value the brand heritage behind the badge and the authentic ‘Land Cruiser style’. With each and every new Land Cruiser, Toyota has the same fundamental aims. The first is to build on the vehicle’s tradition of reliability, durability and off-road performance; the second is to improve handling stability, ride comfort and driving pleasure.
Chief Engineer Sadayoshi Koyari says: “At the start of this project, back in 2002, we considered the future direction of Land Cruiser. Environmental concerns had to be taken into account, alongside the evolving expectations of a global customer base with a strong demand for Land Cruiser. I am confident that the all-new Land Cruiser V8 has the genuine off-road capability to strengthen Toyota’s reputation for advanced technology, while offering increased refinement and a premium market position. The new Land Cruiser is a real, go-anywhere adventure vehicle.”
The global sales target for the new generation Land Cruiser V8 is 100,000 units in 2008. Around 19,500 vehicles will come to Europe. The outstanding 4x4 capability of the Land Cruiser is especially valued in Russia, making it a major market with a target of 9,600 units. Across Europe, typical Land Cruiser customers are self-confident and successful people from higher income brackets. They are often early adopters of advanced technology and appreciate Land Cruiser for its blend of technical ability, durability, refinement and a genuinely adventurous off-road spirit.
The all-new Land Cruiser V8 delivers improvements in all of these aspects, together with improved safety and comfort, ensuring that Toyota’s flagship model continues to satisfy customers’ needs and expectations right around the world.
For over 50 years, Land Cruiser’s credentials and place in the Toyota line-up have been built on consistently high levels of aspiration, quality and technical sophistication. Land Cruisers have come to embody Toyota’s world-beating four-wheel-drive capability. The design of the new generation Land Cruiser V8 needed to respect this heritage, while bringing Toyota’s off-road image up-to-date.
The new Land Cruiser V8 sweeps away the image of a typical passenger vehicle with a rugged and powerful exterior design and bold shapes inside. The exterior styling has a strong emphasis on function while retaining many characteristics of previous generations while the interior reflects the refined, premium status of the vehicle. The new Land Cruiser V8 is practical too; available with both five- and seven-seat configurations, ample space for all passengers, and a flexible load-carrying ability with seats that tumble and fold to create a flat floor.
Created and styled at the Toyota design centre in Aichi, Japan, the new Land Cruiser V8 exemplifies ‘Vibrant Clarity’, an aspect of Toyota’s brand design philosophy. This ethos guides Toyota’s development of off-road models that are vibrant and energetic, while retaining clarity of purpose. Land Cruiser V8 Chief Engineer, Sadayoshi Koyari, explains: “The key word we selected to focus the design evolution of the new Land Cruiser V8 was ‘trust’.
The reputation and trust built by previous generations of Land Cruiser is therefore heeded in the new design. Further strengthening of this trust between customers and the new generation Land Cruiser V8 is encouraged by blending a strong, dynamic design with an advanced sense of function. This creates a modern, aspirational vehicle with a strong focus on four-wheel drive and genuine off-road driving. It brings the Land Cruiser brand identity up-to-date, and further leverages the heritage of the vehicle.”
Powerful exterior styling
The new generation Land Cruiser V8 achieves its advanced and rugged look with a powerful, clean exterior design; this is achieved through on a strong shoulder line, eye-catching surfaces and large front and rear fenders. This gives new Land Cruiser a thoroughly modern feel as a functional yet premium 4x4 vehicle. The size and shape of the side windows emphasise the roomy cabin with good visibility, and the fenders project an image of excellent off-road performance.
The new Land Cruiser V8 is slightly longer, taller and wider than the current generation which gives it a more dynamic stance. But the increases in size have been kept to a minimum to maintain the manoeuvrability of Land Cruiser in tight, off-road situations. The overall length of the new Land Cruiser is 4950 mm (up by 60 mm), the width is 1970 mm (up by 30 mm) and height is 1865 mm (with 4W AHC & AVS suspension) or 1910 mm (with KDSS suspension). Clever design to maximise interior space and a shortened engine compartment means that the interior cabin length has been increased by 130 mm (from the accelerator pedal to the back door), adding to passenger comfort and convenience.
The chromed radiator grille and the headlamps are all integrated to create a strong horizontal line. The impression of refinement and premium quality is enhanced by the bright alloy finish that highlights the outer frame of the grille. At the rear, the powerful stance and flared wheel arches that emphasise the overall width are inherited from the existing Land Cruiser design, as is the configuration of the independent right and left combination rear lamps.
These large rear combination lamps use Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) arranged in a two-lamp design to improve visibility. The integrated tail and stop lamps together with the rear direction indicators feature a combination of clear outer lenses and red inner lenses to convey a premium impression. The integrated rear roof spoiler is body coloured to blend in with the sleek lines, and enhances the aerodynamic performance and fuel efficiency.
The split rear tailgate features a ‘clamshell’ design which is convenient when opening in confined areas and also makes loading of heavy objects easier. The new Land Cruiser V8 will be available with a choice of nine exterior colours. Of these colours, two are newly developed (gold sand and dark green olive), three are newly available and four have been brought forward from the current generation.
Refined and stylish interior
Function and form are key elements of the interior, which has been designed to reflect the refinement and premium status of Land Cruiser V8 while still allowing a sense of ruggedness and reliability. The interior is practical too, with a choice of a five- or seven-seat configuration, ample space for all passengers and versatile seat folding for maximum luggage capacity.
The sense of scale and space is achieved through the appearance of the instrument panel and the large centre cluster and console. A strong horizontal emphasis in the design of the instrument panel ensures that the angle of the vehicle is intuitively understood by the driver.
Detailed wood grain highlights add style; for added sophistication they are paired with slim chromeplated bars with a low gloss finish. The lower instrument panel features “hold bar” panels with a texture similar to sculpted metal. In keeping with this architectural feel, these panels appear to support the upper instrument panel, and practical, shaped knee pads are installed to improve comfort and support on rough roads.
A two-tone design that incorporates new interior colours expresses a sense of refinement. Darker colours are used on the instrument panel and trim areas, while mid tones are used in the upholstered areas such as the seats to create a contrast. Two colour schemes are available: sand beige or medium grey. The door trims contribute towards this coherent design through the use of material to match the seats at shoulder height and on the armrests. Wood grain and chrome-plated bars set the style, while the functional parts such as the inside door handle, door grip, and switch base are designed as one continuous, easy-to-use element.
On the main instrument panel, newly designed hi-tech 3D Optitron meters are used. The diameter of the main gauge has been expanded to improve visibility and the sub-gauges – crucial in SUVs – are positioned in the centre of the meter panel along with the multi-information display. The steering wheel was designed with its characteristic large centre pad, and large steering wheel switches can be operated easily, even when wearing gloves. Operational parts such as the automatic transmission shift knob, door handles, and audio switches are also large with an enhanced tactile feeling to create a sense of quality.
Versatile and functional interior
The functionality of the new Land Cruiser is amply demonstrated by the versatile seating arrangement with the choice of five or seven seats, offering plenty of passenger and luggage space. The seats were designed with the focus on function demanded in a genuine off-roader: firm lower back support and free shoulder movement. A comfortable ride is also achieved through the use of firm, thick cushioning to ensure a stable seat position. This is further stabilised through high damping effects. The second row of seats is split 40:20:40 with an independent seat back for the centre seat, featuring an integral headrest. All three seats can slide backwards and forwards by 105 mm to ensure ample leg room for any third row passengers, and they also recline.
All three seats can also tumble forward for maximum load carrying capacity while the seat behind the front passenger – most frequently used for third row access – features a one-touch tumble for easy entry. Just by pulling the seat lever, the seat back support is folded forward and the floor lock is released.
On seven-seat models two individual adult-sized seats are provided with ‘space-up’ folding. This uses a damper mechanism to automatically pop the seat up from the seating position to the stored position when unlocked. Seats fold neatly away against the wall of the luggage compartment and are locked in place.