Our test vehicle was the flagship of Toyota’s 4WD range, the 200 Series Landcruiser Sahara turbo diesel. We decided to put it through its paces with a family holiday to Morton Island.
The first thing you notice about the Sahara is its sheer size but it is surprisingly manoeuvrable. With a turning circle of 11.8 metres we were able to negotiate even the tightest twists on the tracks.
The seating in the Sahara is comfy with full power adjustment for the front seats and the rears having firm but flat padding. Rear legroom is adequate and the third row seats are better for short trips or pre teenagers.
There is leather and replica wood grain on all the seats, door trims as well as the electronically adjustable steering wheel and shifter. The dash is well laid out, with easy to read gauges and controls falling easily to hand. The entertainment system is a pearler, for the trip we had it loaded up with six DVD’s to keep my son entertained for the long drives.
Rear passengers can watch movies on the rear screen and listen to the radio through the headphones independent of what the stereo is doing. There is also input for video and stereo in the rear. This made the long days bearable, as my son was able to watch his movies while we listened to the radio or mp3. The radio comes with Bluetooth which can store up to four phones and controls on the steering wheel.
The sat nav also worked well though you need to be aware that if you are searching for a street that is interstate you need to change the search parameters. The mapping is good for paved surfaces and has a small amount of coverage off-road but is not to be relied upon for off-road navigation (it knew Morton Island was there but didn’t have any of the tracks listed).
Storage Inside the Sahara is as roomy as you would expect and we managed to get all our gear in the back even with my 110L fridge in there. When we were travelling around on Morton Island we were loaded up with two child seats and five adults and there were no real complaints even from the two adults in the third row though they weren’t in there for all that long. The centre console fridge also came in handy.
The Landcruiser has a 4.5L twin turbo V8 diesel putting out 195kW and 650Nm of torque coupled to a six-speed triptronic auto running all wheel drive. This is more than enough to get the Sahara moving along nicely and coupled with a 3500kg towing capacity, there isn’t much it can’t pull. To test this out we easily pulled a bloke that had drowned his 4WD in a creek half way across the island.
Freeway driving was a breeze with the Cruiser idling along and on road handling is good as long as you remember that the Sahara weighs close to 3000kg. There is a bit of body roll and if you push it, it will understeer.
Off road is where the Cruiser really shines. There is good wheel articulation for a vehicle with IFS and coupled with the CRAWL control there isn’t much that it won’t climb within reason. We put the CRAWL to the test on a long chopped up climb up a dune and it worked flawlessly.
My wife has since decided that we need to get one of these instead of a 70 Series as she can drive it with confidence over all the terrain we encountered.
Safety wise the Sahara has all the usual suspects with Anti-Skid Brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), airbags everywhere and seatbelt pretensioners etc.
There is also a function that enables you to turn off the curtain airbags, when you are off-roading and there is the possibility of gently tipping the Cruiser on its side when crawling on extreme angles.
The Sahara is a very capable vehicle on and off road. You can easily fit an extended family in; load it up for that dream adventure into the wilderness or potter around town. There are more genuine accessories as well as aftermarket than you can poke a stick at and it will tow nearly every caravan/camper or trailer available on the market with ease.
There is something very comforting about driving a Sahara, a feeling that it is capable of doing whatever you ask of it and that it just won’t let you down. If you are looking for a large 4WD that holds its resale value, is good off-road and can haul a load then you can’t do much better than the Sahara.
What is good:
• Towing capacity
• Off road ability
What is not so good:
• Size especially around town
Model Toyota Landcruiser Sahara TD
Model Price $124,937 RDAP
Drivetrain 4WD 4.5L Diesel 6 speed auto
Power 195 Kw @ 3,400 rpm
Torque 650 Nm @ 1,600 rpm
Safety 4 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions 273 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 2 Star
Economy (ADR comb) 10.3 L/100km
Tow Capacity – Max 3500 kg
Tow Ball Rating 350 kg
Servicing Capped $ 3yrs/60,000km
Warranty 3yr/100,000km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 87/100
Behind the Wheel 9
Ride & Handling 8
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 10
Off Road Ability 9
Value for Money 8