First drive: Toyota Land Cruiser 2012 in the UAE

First drive: Toyota Land Cruiser 2012 in the UAE

It isn’t every day that a new Toyota Land Cruiser comes out. It still isn’t that day. The last time a new one debuted was in late 2007. Before that, it happened in around 1998, if what our grandpa says is true. Today, we took a look at the 2012 model, a facelifted version of the existing model, at an event in Dubai.

Changes for the 2012 Toyota Land Cruiser, at least externally, are limited to a new grille, redesigned front bumper, new bi-xenon HID headlights with LEDs, new tail-lamp clusters and, optionally, new 18-inch wheels as well as a “sporty” body kit. In the UAE at least, there are three official trim levels – EX-R, GX-R and VX-R – although, there is also an ultra-basic version that will quietly be marketed to fleets and safaris. There is also a redone engine line-up, with an upgraded 4.0-litre V6, an all-new 4.6-litre V8 and a carryover 5.7-litre V8.

There are also new fancy-pants offroad features, such as four cameras to look over cliffs, an electronic multi-terrain selection system, adjustable suspension, five-speed crawl control and a new turning assist function that can lock the inner rear tyre while taking tight turns so that the turn can be taken more tightly. But don’t worry about all that, because they’re all reserved for the top VX-R that no one can afford anyway.

What we drove was the new V6-powered model. The new 4.0-litre gains Dual VVT-i, whatever that is, and therefore makes 271 hp, an increase of 31 horses, with 385 Nm of torque at 4400 rpm. Mated to a 5-speed manually-shiftable automatic and all-wheel-drive with low-range gearing, this is probably the version that will see the most offroad action. It lacks the electronic gimmickry of the higher models, but also has the right front bumper and wheels for the job. That’s all it really needs, as we found out.

We drove out of the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club in convoy and didn’t really push the V6 engine to any real degree. It drives fine when you’re loafing around on the highway. The ride is still a bit truck-like, with the occasional bump and the obvious body roll, but is still largely comfortable and quiet at speeds under 100 kph.

It does well on the dunes too. Slip the triptronic shifter into manual, bump it down to first gear, and it stays there all day. There is even a button to turn off the side airbags, in case they go off on inclines. With the centre diff locked and the tyres deflated, there was nothing else to do but drive everywhere without bogging down in most cases. We didn’t chart any course that required a steep climb, but the Land Cruiser feels capable enough to find alternate routes if you couldn’t drive straight up the dune trying to chase some V8 truck. The ground clearance seems to be good, with good approach angles, at least in GX-R form.

So there isn’t anything new left to be said about the “new” Toyota Land Cruiser. It is still the spacious go-anywhere vehicle that it always was, even without the optional electronic aids. With prices solidly starting beyond Dhs 200,000 now though, it has truly moved into the premium segment.

What do you think?



  1. Still the king, believe it or not, any day, i reconfirmed my thought’s during recent desert drive class.

    • ^^^ Guess it has more to do with skills rather…I used to drive the Land Cruiser which my friend owns and I used to tell myself -> “yea, this is indeed the off-road king”….and then I happened to drive the Prado V6 (old model) offroad, and liked it even more, which made me think -> “well, LC is not the only king!” :P…thats when I happened to drive the Nissan Xterra which was so amazingly capable that I ditched the Toyotas and crowned the Xterra as the Off-road king..Not until I drove an Fj Cruiser off-road, and I gave that title to the Fj immediately….And finally when I happened to take my relatively “weak” 3.5 Pajero off-road and even chase a few desert safari LC convoys without breaking anything or hitting the ground, did I realize that it wasn’t the vehicles for most part; it is the driver – which made me reach the conclusion that for an off-road expert, any 4wd is more or less the same thing.

    • ya not until recently an unskilled person like me drove the jeep all over desert behind the instructor for 3 hrs without getting stuck, in all types of scenarios, all directions, steep dunes, made me realize that the Wrangler is ultimate 4 wheel drive. But I won’t continue the paragraph like this. Many will argue, but I would stop after this comment.

      For me a good 4×4 is one, with the help of which an even unskilled person, who has always driven underpowered saloons and climbed few footpaths for parking can roam around the desert like pro. Of course, even a pro can get stuck in desert. There is no machine built or now known driver who can win against nature. Just that some machines are built to do all things in a very good way, while others fare good in only few departments, that’s why I will give good marks to the one, who does most of things in best possible way.

      I would post on forum my recent experience with Jeep Wrangler, Modified Wrangler unlimited, observing stock Landcrusiers doing their daily duty in desert and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    • Not really…the new nissan patrol has more power and clearance and is much easier to drive….not to mention that its better lookin…got better features and looks more sophisticated…

  2. So vivek, are you implying that you are the brofessional ???? lol 🙂

    • hahahahahaa….no no…i meant to say that for off-road pros, like the desert safari drivers or any experienced off-road enthusiast, any 4wd is more or less the same thing..

      i’m only in the starting stages..jus did about 7-8 trips so far….

  3. i can olny say now is more beautiful to drive this LC at night because of the bi-xenon headlights.

  4. if there just werent the crazy price tag… 😉

  5. please more photo land cruiser GX-R

  6. Its amazing how someone says something about GTR and exact thing appears in gulf news or one of forum member says landy is king and gulf news reiterates the same next day.

  7. you should avoid driving in same track if two three four wheels have passed by, the track becomes deeper, and mud accumulate between two wheels and center, the body will scrap at center, see third pic, if theire is rock then gone…

  8. 4 X 4 ……?

  9. amezng very nic much batr?

  10. I own LC 2013 V6…its accelaration is gud when starting from 0 km/hr but it struggles to get going while i take a U-turn or changing lane at 60-80 km/hr.

    I think V8 should be quicker than v6 and more fuel efficient, as to gain power in V6 more RMP are required.

  11. The interior pics are of VXR not GXR.

  12. the next facelift for 2015 has just been launched in moscow the last days.

    very minor changes to grill, front lights and center screen.

    most car sites have reported on this already.

    let’s see what they do to the pricing..

  13. lol, apparently i did, hehe..

    didnt do my homework then 😉

  14. The toyota 2015 gxr v8 60th anniversary edition has a very good resale value in Saudi arabia. No engine voice and is very smooth..

  15. Hi I’m looking at a 2012 lc200 dubai version diesel. Is the 2012 really a facelifted version? And how will I spot if the headlights was just replaced. Thank you

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