Toyota has told MotoFomo that Australia was the first of five test sites around the world to begin testing the all-new LandCruiser 300 Series back in 2015.
Proudly brought to you by Oricom: Testing and development of the much-anticipated next generation Toyota LandCruiser kicked off in Australia around 2015, reinforcing the nation’s importance as a major market for the iconic off-roader.
Expected to be called the LandCruiser 300 Series – replacing the 200 Series – Australia was the first of five continents Toyota chose to test early prototypes of the crucial new model that is a favourite with families, adventurers, farmers and grey nomads.
Toyota has long used Australia as a test ground for its heavy duty off-roaders, arguing 90 percent of the world’s driving conditions can be experienced across the continent, punishing cars during the all-important development phase over everything from sand and rocks to extreme heat, corrugations and mud. The main condition Australia can’t throw up is ice and extreme cold.
The new LandCruiser 300 Series – which will break cover in 2021 – will also be the first LandCruiser to be fitted with a hybrid system in line with Toyota’s commitment to an electric or hybrid version of most of its vehicles by 2025.
Motofomo has learnt Toyota will employ aluminium panels – possibly for the bonnet and front guards – to reduce weight, something that is a key focus for Toyota’s largest car sold in Australia.
However, the new LandCruiser is expected to be slightly larger than the current 200 Series it will replace, extending a long running trend for LandCruisers to grow in size.
Non-hybrid LandCruisers will also see their engines downsized from a V8 to a V6; while the 200 Series is offered in some markets with a petrol V6, it’ll be a new turbo-diesel V6 that will headline the local LandCruiser lineup. While the hybrid drivetrain for the 300 Series LandCruiser will no doubt get plenty of headlines, expectations are that the regular turbo-diesel will still command plenty of attention.
LandCruiser enthusiasts have been debating the anticipated shift away from a V8, with many preferring the extra couple of cylinders and larger capacity. However, Motofomo understands performance – including all-important towing capability – will be improved over the current 200 Series, albeit with the recommended tow capacity likely to stay at 3500kg.
Toyota Australia senior vice president of sales and marketing gave clues when he spoke with us late in 2019.
“We have to bring a car to market … that fulfills the requirements of those peoples’ livelihoods and/or recreation, whether it be construction, farming, mining, recreation, private, whatever it may be, our commitment is that we’ve got to bring powertrains to market that reduce our CO2 footprint but still serve to be able to enable people the freedom of mobility,” Hanley said.
“Our commitment to our regional centre particularly is please … don’t think that CO2 legislation means that there will be no LandCruisers. It doesn’t mean that and it’s not in our planning for that to ever happen.”
Part of that performance improvement will be attributable to a new transmission; a new automatic is expected to provide more ratios than the six on offer in the current car.
Off-road ability will also be a major focus for the new LandCruiser. In making LandCruisers larger and more comfortable over the years Toyota has also managed to maintain superb off-road credentials, in part due to additional technology to assist the traditional 4×4 attributes.
Hanley reaffirmed that the next LandCruiser will live up to expectations.
“It’s really important that whatever we do with LandCruiser in future that we bring out a vehicle that is capable of doing the things that our customer has grown to expect and appreciate from LandCruiser,” he said.
“I am very sure that the next version of LandCruiser will be every bit as capable and will continue to allow the legend of LandCruiser to grow. It is such an important car to our brand.”
While good ground clearance and dual-range transfer case will form the foundation for the new car, tech is again expected to play a role in ensuring the LandCruiser 300 lives up to expectations on rough roads.
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