2012 Toyota Land Cruiser 4.6 VX-R

The Good:
– Solid offroading capability
– Cabin space and features
– Fairly comfortable ride
The Bad:
– Very expensive
– Body-roll on sharp turns
– Bit of a petrol addict

The Toyota Land Cruiser gets a complete makeover maybe only once every decade. But the 2012 model is not it, despite Toyota insisting that its an all-new model. There is one big fundamental change though.

But that change wouldn’t be obvious from the outside. The only external changes involve new bi-xenon headlights, new grille, slightly-different tail-lamp clusters, new wheels and a protruding lower lip on the front bumper that is oddly standard on VX-R models. But the change we are talking about is the replacement of the 4.7-litre V8 engine option with a new 4.6-litre unit.

Again, on the inside, nothing seems to have changed, aside from nicer-looking fake wood and a few extra buttons. The upper dash, door panels and armrests are all lusciously padded in our VX-R tester, with beige leather upholstery adding further airiness to an already-airy cabin. It is a huge vehicle after all, though Nissan, Ford and Chevrolet have already put out ridiculously-larger vehicles than the Land Cruiser when they didn’t need to be any bigger. Ironically, the Land Cruiser is more expensive than all of them.

Space is excellent in the first and second rows, offering wide bench-like seats with minimal side-bolstering. The third row is cramped as usual, but the second row can be slid forward to spare some more legroom to last-row occupants. The third row is accessed somewhat easily by flipping forward the split second-row seats. The boot is very big, though certain old-fashioned features are annoying, such as the heavy two-piece tailgate and the 50:50-split third-row seats that fold up onto the sides of the boot instead of disappearing into the floor like in most other SUVs.

On the tech front, the VX-R gains a big touchscreen with a nicer interface, exactly the same as in the new Lexus LX 570, integrating navigation, stereo, a/c controls and rear camera view, with the obligatory redundant buttons below it for quick access to the main functions. The CD/MP3 stereo is powerful, but the speakers lack bass, although you do get USB/AUX ports and dual rear DVD screens. The four-zone auto a/c remains a strong one, and other features in our tester included perfectly-working Bluetooth, smart keyless entry with starter button, front and side airbags, ventilated power front seats, leather, sunroof, cruise control, fog lamps, power mirrors with indicators on them, and even some cheap-but-effective magnetic stick-on sunshades for the rear windows.

The new 4.6-litre “Dual VVT-i” V8 option replaces the old 4.7-litre, though it behaves largely the same as before. It makes 304 hp at 5500 rpm in GCC-spec trim, with 439 Nm of torque at 3400 rpm, mated to a new 6-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive. Our tester wasn’t particularly broken in yet, having done barely a thousand kilos on the odo, so our 0-100 kph times were varied, with the best one being 8.4 seconds, a tiny bit quicker than the 4.7-litre we tested before. The big news though is that we averaged 17.1 litres/100 km with some offroading and a fair bit of highway driving involved, but still over 10% lesser fuel consumption than the old motor.

Highway comfort levels are impressive for a truck with independent front and solid-axle rear suspension, probably because our fancy VX-R was equipped with the optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, which apparently improves road handling, while retaining off-road articulation. It is very quiet at 120 kph, getting noisy only beyond 140 kph. Body motions are kept to a bare minimum over bumps, good enough to not disturb a sleeping baby. While its truckish roots still show on certain surfaces with a mild jitter, we feel the ride is smoother than even the Lexus LX 570 that rides on 20-inch wheels. Our Land Cruiser rode on meatier 285/60 tyres wrapped around 18-inchers.

Body roll around curves is controlled well enough with smooth driving inputs, but sudden steering moves induce an obscene amount of bouncy motions, though actual lean is less than, say, something like the Chevy Tahoe Z71. Squealing understeer creeps in if pushed too far, but its grip limits are reasonably high due to the wide tyres.

The steering and brake pedal have both been firmed up a bit compared to the old model, but still lack any sort of feedback. The brakes themselves are okay for a beefcake this big, though the forward lean on hard stops is ridiculous. Still, the optional stability control, automatic all-wheel-drive system and ABS brakes all should keep things safe, should things get too much for the tyres.

But those same tyres make the new Land Cruiser a truly great offroader. We went on a desert jaunt off the usual beaten trails, of course being mindful that our car had a low protruding lip on its chin that kept digging into the sand, and thus we avoided the steeper slopes. Its automatic all-wheel-drive system can distribute power to each wheel as needed, and we never bogged down in soft sand once the tyres were deflated and traction control was turned off. Our Cruiser also came with a locking centre differential, crawl control, offroad tight-turn assist and even a fancy multi-terrain selection system, but didn’t need any of those gimmicks because they all only work in 4-low mode, and we never needed low-range gear as it never got stuck.

The long front and rear overhangs require some care on sharp slopes, but we were taking even more care to save its chin, when the inevitable happened. The face of one dune was unexpectedly bumpy, so as we passed over it at some speed, we caught some air and landed smoothly, only to see later that the tacked-on chin had actually ripped right off after hitting the ground, although the front bumper itself was fine. After briefly crying over it, we then did some proper sand-bashing with the Land Cruiser as it was meant to do, side-sloping dunes and speeding over everything with ease. So if you buy a VX-R, do yourself a favour and get that lip removed.

The expensive Toyota Land Cruiser still maintains a certain charm that is hard to categorise. The Japanese carmaker has tried to make it appear sophisticated, with that colourful touchscreen, those fancy offroad gadgets, and that damn front spoiler, but underneath it all, there is a crude offroading monster that feels bottled up if it isn’t beating the crap out of dunes. And we’d have it no other way.

Price Range:
Dh 280,000-287,000

Current Model Introduced in:
2012

Body Styles:
5-door wagon

Engines:
4.6L 304 hp V8 / 439 Nm

Transmissions:
6-speed automatic

Setup:
Four-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: live

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
2490 kg

Length:
4950 mm

Wheelbase:
2850 mm

Top Speed:
200 kph(limited)

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
8.4 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
17.1 litres/100km

32 comments to 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser 4.6 VX-R

  • bunkie79

    completed my first 1000 kms service much smoother and acceleration has improved to 8.1 sec normal mode.

    ECT power mode gives almost a second less not sure whether it can be used regularly

    • Ali

      I am intending to buy the GXR-V8. Any recommendations ?

    • Joe

      Haha, ECT mode shaves one second?? Thats got to be the funniest thing that I read in a while.

      My friend bought one of these, it can barely outrun four cylinder sedans like the Camry and Altima.

      The American Lexus GX460 which has the same engine and gearbox but 110KG lighter, barely does 0-100KPH in 7.2 seconds with a professional driver !!

  • marc

    any one checked yet the full pricing range? toyotas local homepage is still on 2011 prices..

    would be keen to learn more about the pricing range of the v6 versions. anyone knows more?

    cheers,
    marc

  • bunkie79

    Check the website again. I saw price were updated couple of days before

    http://www.toyota.ae

  • marc

    bunkie, cheers, mate. you are right, they updated it.

    great car but imagine you pay 203k und dont even get cruise control, side airbags, etc.
    woow….

  • John

    The majority of LC sold will be v6, why don’t you test drive the car that most people will actually buy not the one they give you to do a write up on

  • bunkie79

    hi Marc

    when you look at the dimensions of the LC and prado they are similar except the width where the LC is 80 mm more.

    If you want features and 200-210 K budget look at the prado still better than buying V6 LC. Engine is the same.

    If you want V8 and all the trimmings look at the LC

  • Lider

    Anyone knows were i can get a land cruiser GXR, but the ohe which has 2 spare tires? one on the back and one bellow?
    Seems the majority of the ones being sold here only has one.

  • Shihas

    Whats the fuel economy for ur lc bunkie79

  • Sree

    After four months of waiting I got delivery of my VXR+ 4.6 V8 yesterday. Its much comfortable than the previous models, will have to wait till the the break-in period before I get the right feel anyway.

  • farhan

    i love this car

  • Francis

    I have plans to buy the LC GXR+ 4.0L V6. Is this a good buy? My fear is that V6 engine is small for a huge SUV such as this and would lack power.

  • suraj.

    Could someone help me in explaining how to use the turn by turn navigation option on the multi info displsy screen?

    • Essa

      I want to know how to use that as well! I have a 2012 LX570 and even though its on, it never seems to work as described and no arrows show in the multi info display screen what so ever!

  • Suraj

    Hi Essa,
    Any luck on the turn by turn navigation ? Im gonna ask Toyota during my service this time..Ill let you know if they know it ;-)..You too ask Lexus about it an dlemme know if you get lucky..Thanks

  • Essa

    Hello Suraj,
    I took my LX570 for service and asked them how the turn by turn navigation works but the technician had no idea. However, he said he will have a look and will reply by this week. I hope you found out how to operate it. Thanks :)

  • Suraj

    Hi Essa,
    Nothing here… The guy I asked didnt know. He tried to figure it out but no results… Please do keep me posted and enjoy your drive in the LX570 (one of my dream cars :)

  • rana asif

    hi, what about land cruiser 4.0 price 195000 dirham. what is differ between others

  • bunkie79

    the new line up in 2013 seems to be strange. If viewed by their website prices seem to have gone up and equipment has come down on the vx series of the 4.6 l and 5.7L.
    not sure it is an error or intention .compared to this 2012 was better off.

  • Som

    HI,

    I looking forward to buy LC VXR+ 4.6lt engine, which stand to 285K. Can anyone guide me about the insurance. I need to go for full body insurance?

    Which banks are best for auto loan? with reducing rates. I am also looking for EMI?

    Can anyone guide me pls

  • ALP

    Any idea how much the base 5.7L LC costs ?
    And also how will i be able to increase the power on the 4.6 without installin turbos or superchargers…?

  • marc

    more and more reports are popping up online that there may be a new LC (300 series then i guess) launched towards the beginning of 2015.

    Mash, any further insights possibly?

    • ALP

      Would be too early fr them to launch a new or even a facelifted version…most probably toyota will launch the new LC in 2017 or 2018 with a $25K increase in price as per most rumours frum strong sources…

  • Hi all i have one problem in my engine DLX 4.0 land cruiser 2012 DLX (G) manually gear won I give full race RBM will move to number 6 from 123456 red lien X/1000min you will her not normal voices and engine will stop but no check engine and no problem in sensors or bank 1 or 2 so really i need your help ????????

  • gbenga

    Can someone tell the difference between 4.6L EXR\GXR and 4.6L VXR? Also how do you get one with spare tire on the the back and below?

  • Bahruz Misrkhanov

    Hi guys.
    Can I find Toyota PRADO 4.0 with manual transmission in UAE?

  • mihir

    Land cruiser is a best car for offroading

  • Abdul

    Sir i want to buy one but these are very expensive overall i am interested in 4.6 v8.my dreamcar

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