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Byline: Trevor Walls

TOYOTA are really cruising round the world with their big, wide and handsome phwoar x phwoar Land Cruiser.

In sales terms, THIS is THE world league topper, the mud plugger people love to buy.

And it's not just the sought after in-your-face presence that has the Land Cruiser production line working overtime.

Mostly they're bought to work and play hard and for this reason enjoy massive sales, especially in Australia and the Middle East.

Overseas markets are all very well, but Road Record readers will want to know how the beastie performs where it matters, in the muddy, freezing country that Scotland appears to be for almost half of every year.

Be assured, this is no hothouse wallflower with bolted on body panels to boost its image ... this is a Full Monty hunk well capable of tackling daunting territory while offering plenty of creature comforts.

Every angle has been covered, with easy-to-use low and high differentials covering the dirty work and high-speed cruising when the need arises.

Love it? You will.

Loads of happy customers from the first Land Cruiser model, a Jeep lookalike launched back in 1950, have grown up and traded up with the model.

And with rising sales in the UK, a loyal base of future customers looks like bringing a smile or two to a Toyota salesman at a showroom near you.

Pretty as the latest incarnation may be, it proved to be capable of absorbing a hefty dollop of the rough stuff when we took it for an outing to lose its showroom sheen.

Rough, rubble tracks did not throw it off its stride, and feedback from the power steering made it a breeze to keep on course.

In low ratios, it was nimble for its size and the chunky diesel had plenty power to overcome the combo of gravity and gradients.

No mean feat for a big 4x4 that can also do the biz when in M-way cruising mode.

Clearly, Toyota engineers have done their homework.

Even down to the luxurious trim with no hint of squeak or rumble, this is an extremely well turned out vehicle.

So, will it make you part with your cash?

Some of the opposition will certainly be taking note of its value-for- money status.

And for buyers who are tempted?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 7, 2003
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