It has been decades since the rugged adventure offroaders entered that segment of the market usually populated with buyers who demand driver assists and luxury finishes in their cabbies.
Bobby Nitro is remembering those days when a drive in a 4X4 usually meant perching on seats like wood and hanging onto a frayed rope as he was driven by a maverick bush guy with little concern for creature comfort as he threw the Landy short wheelbase through the rough veld.
Those days have certainly changed, with the later generations of 4X4s teched up to the max with all kinds of driver aids and polished interiors.
Some complain that this takes the art out of navigating the donga, but others rightfully say that the new tech brings offroading to more enthusiasts.
The latest Land Cruiser 300, set for an August debut, seems to incorporate hi-tech with some old school features.
The new design, for instance, features all-new TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) with ladder frame execution. That’s something off-road fans will approve of.
Then there’s the angular design, harking back to the much-lived 80-series in the 1990s. But it changes there as the V8 sees an exit in favour of six-pots. The engines are either a 3.5-litre V6 twin turbo offering 305kW or a 3.3-litre turbo-diesel bringing 225kw and taking advantage of latest tech to deliver increased efficiency and better torque delivery.
There will be four variants, which for the first time on a Land Cruiser, the GR Sport coming as an off-road performance model without skimping on comfort and convenience. This expands the Gazoo Racing brand into Land Cruiser territory for the first time.
Then there’s the ZX model, that caters to the slice of the market that demands image conscious presentation while being rugged, and has 20-inch alloy wheels, chrome detailing and luxury interior trim.
All in all, the new Land Cruiser 300 range offers utility, luxury and sporty models, really covering the market nicely. All models get comprehensive specs, too much to list here but highlights include: LED lamps, built-in navigation, hi-tech suspension system that promotes individual wheel articulation, stability control, traction control, uphill and downhill assist and more. These features are the ones that get the old-school frowning but hey, the future is here.
And yes, this kind of tech comes at a price, with the 300 series starting at R1 283 200 for the GX-R 3.3 diesel, and topping the range is the GR-S 3.5 turbo at R1 842 900.