We probably don’t need to give you another endorsement of how good the Toyota LandCruiser is, because the ‘king of the road’, as it's known, is undeniably the best off-road, hard core 4x4 vehicle in Australia.
In fact, Australians love the LandCruiser so much that we have bought more LandCruisers than customers in any other country, making up 10% of all LandCruisers sold around the world.
Unfortunately, not all of us do own a LandCruiser and like many who don’t, I’m envious of LandCruiser owners.
I’m envious every time I pass one packed to the rack with camping gear knowing that this guy is taking his kids out to the real deal with mud, steep inclines, possible river crossings and insane uneven tracks. The stuff no one else would dare reach.
Meanwhile, I’m taking well-earned ‘country’ drives through the Adelaide Hills in my front wheel drive RAV4.
There’s a reason the LandCruiser has been at the forefront of 4x4 motoring in Africa and other tough environments, and there’s a reason it’s the number one choice for recreation, farmers and miners.
So why is the LandCruiser so tough? And where did it all begin?
History of the LandCruiser
When you know the history of the LC200 and 70 Series it’s not surprising that it's such a tough off-road vehicle. After all, it was originally developed in 1950 as a military four-wheel drive for the US army to use during the Korean war.
This first model gave a glimpse into how well the LandCruiser handles uneven tracks and steep inclines, reaching the No.6 checkpoint of Mount Fuji. No other vehicle had ever been able to do this and it marked the start of the LandCruiser's ability to go anywhere.
By 1955, Toyota had realised that it wasn’t just the military interested in a hard-core 4x4 and turned the LandCruiser into a recreation vehicle with the release of the 20-Series.
In Australia, the toughness of the LandCruiser dates back to 1958 when the building contractor Thiess Brothers (now part of Leighton Holdings) was looking for a rough and tough 4x4 to use on the rugged construction sites of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
These were back-breaking construction sites located in some of Australia’s most inaccessible and rugged country. There were hardly any tracks or roads and the few there were unforgiving. There was snow, insanely steep inclines, muddy rivers, uneven tracks, hastily made roads and extreme conditions – all the things we look for on a good 4wd trip.
While the Dodge Power Wagon and the Little Land Rover Series 1 that were used at the start of the project weren’t up to the task, the LandCruiser quickly proved itself. It became the backbone of the construction and everyone from engineers to the medical officers were using it.
Like this author, many ordinary folks in Australia became envious and by 1959 the first LandCruiser had been sold in the country.
Hard-Core 4x4 Enthusiast's Number One Choice
Can you see why I envy LandCruiser owners now? They own a car that climbed part of the highest mountain in Japan!
It’s not just me either. The LandCruiser is the most popular 4wd vehicle in Australia, with 6,451 LandCruisers sold in Australia in the first half of 2017 through to June. This far outstrips sales of rival Nissan Patrol, which only sold 543 vehicles during the same period.
So if you are planning a trip to remote regions of Australia, like the Reynolds River 4WD Track or the infamous Old Strzelecki Track, trust what 80% of experienced 4wd adventurers feel most comfortable driving. They know without a doubt that the toughest 4x4 vehicle to ever conquer what Australia can dish up is the unrivalled LandCruiser 200 or 70 series.
Reference: Australia the World Leader in Landcruiser