Next week, the Japanese car manufacturing giant will officially present its refreshed 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser 200 / V8 sports utility vehicle. The wraps will be pulled off during the upcoming 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
Although the 5.7-liter V8 engine remains unchanged and still feature the same 381 hp (284 kW / 386 PS) of power, healthy 401 lb-ft (543 Nm) of torque, and not particularly impressive mileage of 13 mpg city / 18 mpg highway, there are some subtle changes to the vehicle’s exterior that make the heavy SUV look more, eh, desirable.
If you compare the refreshed car with the 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser 200 / V8 SUV that was revealed in September, 2007, you will probably immediately notice the resculpted front bumper with integrated fog lights that now looks more energetic and provide the vehicle with more muscular appearance.
The headlamps were, too, changed in favor of more modern “crystal-clear” design with a row of LED daytime running lights added to the lower part of each headlamp. And, no: still no xenon in this department.
The corporate grill was also revised, although it would be hard to notice the difference if you are not a fan of the Japanese brand.
Since in many countries the vehicle is sold as a “luxurious” off-roader, the 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser is also equipped with new chrome trim. I just wonder how long will the chrome survive in a city like Moscow, where the roads are literally drowned in salt-based deicing liquid. Perhaps, a couple of months, like it was with Lexus LX 570 SUVs that were, too, heavily decorated with chrome.
In its press release, the Japanese brand also says that the car will receive slightly upgraded interior with perforated leather seats, a standard rear-seat DVD entertainment system, and metallic accents here and there.
Although the TLC 200 will certainly become more expensive, Toyota was actually forced to move the vehicle upmarket since it simply didn’t have a chance from the point of interior comfort when compared to its major rival: the 2011 Nissan Patrol that, too, comes with a rear-seat entertaining system that, besides a DVD player, also includes a couple of huge, 7-inch monitors embedded into each front seat headrest.
Unfortunately, somebody at Toyota probably decided that the truck is already good enough, so curb weight remains the same ranging from 2400 to 2700 kilograms depending on the trim that you chose. Combine the heavy weight with comfy, off-road suspension and this basically means that this iteration of the Land Cruiser 200 is still as fun to drive on a paved road as a water bed and you will have a really hard time getting it out if your spirit of adventure leads you to deep into mud. Well, if you mostly deal with rocky surfaces and gravel roads, the extra weight should not be a problem besides the extra fuel bills.
Also, there was a great number of complaints regarding squeaky rear folding seats that were driving owners nuts when the 2008 model was first released. Even if Toyota designers addressed the problem -however minor it may seem to some- only a longterm test will reveal whether a working walk-around was found.