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Executive SUV Review

Toyota Land Cruiser VX– Off-road king remastered

For the last 60 years, the Toyota Land Cruiser has remained one of the few vehicles with uncompromised dependability and all-conquering all-terrain prowess. The Land Cruiser’s legendary go-anywhere ability has earned the enviable title of Master of the African terrain.

The compact 1954 BJ-type, which was the Japanese equivalent to the Jeep and Defender, pioneered the Land Cruiser’s renowned characteristics. The slightly more advanced FJ20s replaced the compact BJ-type.

Things remained utilitarian for the Land Cruiser until 1960 when Toyota launched the legendary FJ40, which many consider as the very first true Land Cruiser. From then onwards the Land Cruiser begun to evolve further to incorporate more power and improvements in its dependability.

Fast-forward the clock to now and the latest interpretation of the legendary Land Cruiser continues to build upon the rock-solid foundation of its ancestors. The SUV also incorporates a host of technological advancements that make it this the best and most capable Land Cruiser ever. The focus for this month will be on the new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser VX.


The first thing one is likely to notice about the new Toyota Land Cruiser is its powerful and prominent front look. The new large chrome grille underpins the completely restyled headlight clusters. The grille comprises two parts, an upper half, and lower half. The ‘lower frame’ features an inverted L-shape, which extends into the headlight. The front grille and headlights form an integrated design, which symbolically links it to previous reincarnations of Land Cruiser models.

The bonnet features a three-dimensional design with convex and concave surfaces. The headlights feature Bi-LED technology on VX models, which provides superior illumination and visibility as well as low energy consumption. In addition, an Auto High Beam feature is also incorporated which autonomously switches between low and high beam depending on the level of surrounding light, as measured by the vehicle’s on-board sensors. Integrated in the lower part of the headlamps are LED Daytime Running Lights. Stylish chrome surrounds frame the LED fog lamps, positioned at the edge of the lower grille.

The sharpened side profile creates a more solid appearance whilst the raised lines for the rear bumper sight lines form a flowing design. VX models adopt 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.

Moving to the rear, one quickly notices the enlarged and extended lights. A new full-length chrome garnish flows out from the clear lens elements and bridges the two sides of the vehicle, to form a unified design. The VX model adopts the traditional top-hinged rear door for a more sophisticated look. A rear roof spoiler further distinguishes VX models as well as a chrome door and window trim garnish, adding touches of exclusivity.


Behind the new Land Cruiser VX sits the legendary 4.5-litre turbo diesel V8 power unit. Output for the V8 is rated at 173 kW (232 hp) and 615Nm of torque. Married to engine is a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Off-road capabilities

The new Land Cruiser VX features a wide range of electronic enhancements. The electronic enhancements give the SUV its legendary off-road capabilities. A key off-road tech is Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system. This, according to Toyota, sets up the new Land Cruiser to tackle any road surface or obstacle. MTS also uses cameras located all-round the new Land Cruiser to give the driver a 360 degrees perspective of the surrounding environment. A new feature is what Toyota calls the underbody view, which records a clip of the ground surface prior to the vehicle passing over it. It then creates a front facing image, which allows the driver to place the wheels especially on rocky, muddy, or deep sand surfaces. The multiple cameras are also extremely useful for parking situations and as such, the system provides parking assistance with multiple modes to assist the driver.


The new Toyota Land Cruiser VX’s interior retains its ability to house occupants in lavish comfort while tackling the most challenging terrains. Opening the new Toyota Land Cruiser’s doors reveals contrast-stitched leather inserts, which seemingly form two pillars that suspend the centre dashboard, serve as kneepads for front occupants. The centre console features high-tech and metallic surfaces. Also redesigned and regrouped are the instrumentation and controls. Their new arrangement improves ergonomics and allow for easier operation. All driving-related controls now situated on a newly designed console surrounding the gear lever with switchgear that exudes a sense of solidity.

A 9-speaker Electro Multi-Vision (EMV) audio system, with high clarity 9-inch display, takes centre stage on VX models. Framing the EMV audio system is a stylish Piano Black trim. Forming the link between man and machine is a robust 4-spoke steering wheel, with VX models receiving leather cladding and wood inserts. A full colour TFT Multi-Information Display feeds back vital vehicle information from various functions to the driver, which includes trip information, fuel economy, vehicle mode, audio system info and bluetooth display. VX customers have the choice of two classy leather interiors, a rich Flaxen inspired hue or elegant Black. Luxurious wood accents round off the look of the interior.


The new Toyota Land Cruiser continues with the legendary appeal of offering comfort, impressive off-road ability, ruggedness and durable nature that is similar to all the precious generation model that have come before it. The latest features found in the Toyota Land Cruiser VX have made it a not only a more desirable off-road machine but also an SUV that can comfortably blend in the streets. The new Land Cruiser is available from Toyota Kenya, located along Uhuru Highway.


Value: 4

Presence: 2

Interior: 3

Styling: 3

Equipment: 2

Overall: 3


Quote: Things remained utilitarian for the Land Cruiser until 1960 when Toyota launched the legendary FJ40, which many consider as the very first true Land Cruiser.

What we like    

  • Proven reliability
  • Off-road capabilities
  • Spacious and luxurious interior

What we dislike

  • Thirsty engine
  • Expensive parts
  • Rivals are better equipped