LAND CRUISER EXALTED

Although you will find previous iterations of Toyota’s venerable Land Cruiser in every corner of the world, the most recent generation was not made available to Canadians. At least not in the two varities by which it is served to Americans.

Lexus.ca displays the now-outdated LX470 at a base price of $101,400. (For perspective, remind yourself that the prices for Range Rover’s begin just $1,000 lower and Cadillac Escalade’s base MSRP in Canada is $76,490.) The new LX570 may well have an even higher Canadian price, what with its extra heaping of V8 capacity and consequent horsepower and torque. In truth, the Lexus LX is a very luxxed up version of an already very luxurious vehicle.

Although the Land Cruiser built its reputation – and maintains its reputation – on off-road credentials and its ability to traverse the African safari, it is no longer the light and maneuverable ‘Cruiser’ it once was. It just so happens that Americans have been paying $56,860 for the privilege of owning this piece of gargantuan sub-Lexus metal. And the latest Land Cruiser will be even more expensive.

Figure an extra $7,025 for an all-around more capable, more powerful, and more indulgent Land Cruiser. Its engine gains a litre in capacity and now produces 381 horsepower. Added off-road ability comes in the form of ‘crawl control’, which will enable you to simply steer as the vehicle maintains the proper low speed to crawl over boulders. (I know, you do that ALL the time.) 10 airbags, 14 speakers, 401 lb-ft of torque, for those who enjoy numbers.

My interesting tidbit for the day: The previous Land Cruiser (smaller, less powerful engine; with older design, too) drove you 33 fewer miles on every gallon of gasoline than Toyota’s hybrid sensei, the Prius.

Permission for interesting tidbit extensions granted: Nissan’s Altima Hybrid has a fuel mileage rating twice that of Nissan’s monstrous 4WD Armada; Volkswagen’s V10 diesel Touareg is 2mpg better than the six-cylinder gasoline Touareg on the highway; Ford’s four-cylinder Fusion, when equipped with a manual transmission, is 1 mpg better than a 4WD Escape Hybrid on the highway but 9 mpg worse in the city; and Lexus hybrid RX400h crossover ute in its all-wheel drive format will drink a gallon of premium fuel every time you drive 25 miles on the highway.

So will Subaru’s Forester, a four-cylinder, gasoline-only cargo hauler that just happens to be really fun to drive.