Land Cruiser 300 - What does HHFP have to say about it?
HammerheadFistpunch last edited by HammerheadFistpunch
Oooh boy, buckle in for a ride. You know, and if you don't you know now what the Land Cruiser name means to me. Well, Toyota has come out with the 300 series after 14 years.
First gripe? It's not a US market product...yet. I honestly think this is a foregone conclusion as there is no reason not to do it. Eventually.
Okay so before we get to specs, let's address the looks.
It's very, um...it has...uhhhh. It's ugly. My main complaint with the 200 series, and one I've heard echoed by many others, is that it looked very bottom-heavy, with very low sills and bumpers. This isn't better, it's worse. The wheel arches beltline, hood and bumpers all accentuate the current big SUV trend of fridge on castors. It looks heavy, and not in a militaristic, block of granite kind of way. Just look how much grill there is! Look at the front bumper line. Picture an ARB bumper on there and how much grill will be above the bumper.
It suffers from the Jeep Wagoneer look.
The thing that kills me, is that it's NOT as big as it looks. It has the exact same wheelbase as the 200 series (and 80 series) and is exactly as long and wide as the 200 series. Same approach and departure angle too I guess. This pleases me, at least the notion that growing just to grow isn't the best way to make the right product. 112.2 inches wheelbase is pretty great. For reference, that's 6 inches less than an Unlimted JL Wrangler. For being an 8 seat big boi, the 200 series was very nimble, with a turning circle of 38.8 feet, roughly 2 feet less than the Wrangler which is 6 inches shorter.
Let's get back to looks. The interior is. Fine.
It will look exactly as "fine" in a decade when it's updated.
I don't really care too much about interior design. I think the only Land Cruiser interior I don't love is the 100 series, but all late 90s to 2000 interiors were...not great.
There is one eye-catching interior item though that's worth talking about, and it's so normal that I almost missed it. Fold flat 3rd row. Like I said, it's pretty "so what?" in 2021 but for a Land Cruiser, its a literal first. The main reason that fold flat was never offered in the Land Cruiser was a practical concern as the wheelbase dictates that the rear axle is right below the 3rd row as well as a spare tire and room for an optional aux. fuel tank in many markets. All that meant that the signature side stored rear seats were the only viable option.
The question is - what's changed? Higher load floor? No rear Aux tank? It looks like there is a stepped floor so that suggests a higher load floor. That may also make upfitting more difficult as you will have to build on top of seats instead of just taking them out.
As long as we are back here, lets talk about suspension. One of the things they were insistent on was to improve the ride and reduce driver fatigue. That's no joke, Overlanding can be hard on the body, even on short trips. It's one thing to have the capability but if it beats you up driving it, it can make the experience less pleasant. I learned the tradeoff when I took the GX on a trip this spring. The "rough road" performance of the GX was far inferior to the cruiser, and not just in ultimate performance but stability and usability, but the interior noise, the work required on-road and the overall fatigue between the 2 was night and day. The GX left me refreshed where the cruiser helps me sleep really well after each day.
Many companies simply go air spring to solve the problems of capability and comfort, but that has durability issues that are unbecoming a Land Cruiser.
So how do you have a durable coil suspension with solid rear axle, tons of wheel travel and comfort?
This screenshot of the development video (at the bottom of the post) hints at the solution.
- The shock placement is better. Closer to the wheels to prevent shock eye damage (mine are pretty dinged) as well as to reduce the stroke ratio for a more linear damping curve.
- Dual rate springs. Take a look at the old and new. The new has coils that appear to be in bind in the top of the travel. This is a dual-rate coil, where the top is a light rate that is near bind in daily driving giving a very compliant ride with a strong rate building. It also allows the coils to really stretch out without unseating allowing for a longer shock and more down travel.
This is exactly how I have my 80 setup and boy does it work! great ride, amazing flex. The only downside is that it doesn't handle loads as well since you will bind up the soft coil really easily and it will cause droop.
They are claiming more wheel travel than before and it seems to be the case.
I mean, that rear is dropped and the front is stuffed! That's better upfront than my solid axle 80 series no question.
- A key component of that front wheel flex is an updated version of a hydraulic passive sway bar system called KDSS. The long and skinny of the old kdss is that the sway bar is attached to the frame with a regular mount in front and rear only on one side. The other side is connected to the frame with a hydraulic cylinder that is crosslinked to the one on the other side of the frame.
On the 200 series, it was driver's side front and passenger side rear. the idea was that in a corner the sway bar forces are pressing the weight to one side which hydraulically locks the cylinders forcing them rigid and allowing for great sway control, but if the wheels are acting with opposite force the hydraulic loop moves pressure to the opposite cylinder. i.e. if the rear passenger side droops, the cylinder on the passenger side extends, pulling fluid from the front driver's side which pulls up on the sway bar on that side effectively pulling the opposite side wheel up and into the body. Totally passive, totally effective. It allows you to run massive sway bars for cornering control and not affect articulation. It's even better than disconnecting sway bars because it's actively pulling and pushing.
New for the 300 is a version they are calling E-KDSS. I don't know how it works but it appears to now incorporate dual cylinders on the front
There appear to be hydraulic lines going to the back so I would guess there are cylinders back there too, but I can't be certain. It could be the "E" is meant as the rear sway is sensored and the hydraulic pressure in the front is electronically controlled, or it could mean that drive modes affect the valving of the system to be more controllable. KDSS is a good and proven durable system.
Okay, on the powertrain. It looks like they aren't changing much for the axles, thats not an issue as the Land Cruiser 9.5 inch rear and 8.75 front diff are proven strong and not in need of update.
The transmission remains the Aisin 10 speed with great ratios.
The engines. Well there are 2 (3)
A 3.5 direct-injection twin-turbo V6. I honestly don't know much about it but the curves sure look great. I know it's a hot V with cooled exhaust and a super robust bottom end.
409 hp and 480 lbs-ft ought to be enough, especially since the torque is a big blog at the bottom. Compared to 381/401 in the outgoing NA 5.7 which, it should be said, has proven to be a dead reliable beast of a motor.
A 3.3 liter twin-turbo diesel V6 knows as the F33A-FTV
304 hp and 516 lbs-ft compared to 268/479 for the outgoing twin-turbo intercooled 4.5 V8. Again, bombproof motor. Note - the 4.5 engine had different versions down to 182 hp and 317 lbs-ft for single turbo non-intercooled
As you can see this is also a hot v with parallel twin turbos off with a crossover pipe and a hot DPF
The old 4.5 liter 1VD-FTV was both loved and lamented. On the one hand, it sounded great and was so under-stressed that stock it would never be in trouble and even tuned it was dead reliable (outside of injectors and dpf, the former of which was corrected with new injectors). On the other hand, its stock power figures were being trumped by 2.0 liter 4 cylinders and didn't really deliver great economy.
The new motor seems to have addressed the power issues and then some. Makes me wonder if they will produce a lower power single turbo version for other vehicles or trims.
Will they be reliable? duh. will they be "bush ready"? maybe? I think that's less and less a concern for most consumers. No one was repairing their 5.7 in the field...they never needed to. The diesel will be the one to watch here.
The 3rd engine mentioned is the standby 4.0 1gr-fe NA v6 carryover from the old base spec middle eastern trim. it makes some power and torque. Reliable, but obviously not anything we'd get here.
The big news is the lard lad here has been on a diet and now weighs 400 lbs less than the 200. Let be real though, weighing 5600 lbs versus 6000 isn't something to be super proud of. Still, they keep the ladder frame, keep the solid rear axle so it's an achievement of sorts.
The aluminum-heavy IFS/IRS defender is only 600 lbs lighter.
Speaking of the frame, much of the weight savings happened there with a new laser-welded pre-formed frame section technology where they weld together the different thickness and material sections and then form it.
They say it's still 120% stiffer than the 200...which was a very stiff frame.
It's not a reinvention of the wheel and frankly...that's great! They call the whole thing "core renewal" which translates to "update and improve, not re-invent" and I'm 100% in on that idea. It's not groundbreaking tech that have ever defined the Land Cruiser, its solid dependability, and incremental improvement. The 200 series was frankly a killer place to start from.
I also have to comment (again) that it warms my heart to hear that Toyota engineers are actually looking back at benchmarks for off-road performance and not just designing in a studio. They actually benchmarked the 80 series because, as they rightly point out, it was a highwater mark for Land Cruiser capability.
I recently was off-road with my brother in the 80 and remarked that the 80 is a unique vehicle in that it gets BETTER the harder you push it off-road. It transforms in the dirt and becomes magic, its a worthy benchmark. The only thing that sucks about it is the road performance which is the problem that the 100 and 200 series set out to solve and largely succeeded. It will be interesting if they really have created an 80 series mixed with 200 series.
One thing that worries me is the lack of a rear locker button. Honestly Toyota...how much crap have you gotten over the last 14 years about the lack of a locker in the 200? I know ATRAC/Crawl control and MTS is good. But it's no locker. Even if the locker is largely redundant compared to your traction control schema PEOPLE WANT IT. Please give it to them. The aftermarket solutions aren't nearly as desirable as the factory e-lockers with mechanical actuation. The defender is a great example of doing it right. World-class traction control AND a locking option. I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been a major bone of contention in the middle east region because traction control and sand aren't great bedfellows.
I also hope you learned from JLR and vastly improved your traction systems both in hardware and software, they are okay today, but not great. Slow actuation, weak hold logic, and less noise are all big complaints. Don't get me wrong, crawl control works, but it's noisy and clunky and could work a lot better.
Is it a Land Cruiser? Yeah. Could they have done better? Honestly, probably not...except the styling. They were never going to make it 70 series style like some were saying, it was always going to be like this.
Now, will they bring it here? My gut says yes, but honestly, I can't feel confident about that, which is a shame. On the one hand, the US is largely settled and doesn't NEED a vehicle like this. On the other, it's never wanted one like it more in the last 30 years.
Like all Land Cruisers, this probably won't be truly appreciated until the end of its lifecycle, which is a shame because it looks to be great.
winterlegacy last edited by
Knowing the aftermarket, they'll likely fix the face of the new Land Cruiser in their own special ways.
I think the worst offender is the chin-bar that runs down from the headlights and under the grille.
ClassicDatsunDebate last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch First impression is that a Sequoia and a 4Runner had a big babby.
Bloody-the-resident-shitposting-saffer last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch Man, the Lexus predator grill is going to be wild as F.
WhoIsTheLeader last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch I definitely agree with you that the styling is just about the only thing I don't like about it. It feels like someone molded "interest" into a Nissan Armada.
It just doesn't look light on its feet. There's none of that "big wheels small body" look of classic offroaders. It's tall, sure, but the problem is the visual heaviness at the bottom.
ShrimpHappens last edited by
It's not a US market product...yet.
We dang sure will never see the utilitarian spec like the one in the first photo.
HammerheadFistpunch last edited by
@shrimphappens The first photo is actually the upscale GR sport.
SilentbutnotreallyDeadly last edited by
Nice summary. I'm with you on pretty much all your points. I suspect though that our feels about the 300 are biased by our usage preferences...which aren't the same as most 200 and potential 300 owners. Out here they aren't used as off roaders so much as consumers of unsealed roads and, to a lesser extent, as a tow car. They are also rarely purchased privately...most of them go into a business fleet (even that business is only the family farm).
Oh and here's a paragraph from the launch story on GoAuto:
Despite the 300 Series being launched this year, last month the combined 200 and 70 series volume made the LandCruiser Australia’s fourth best-selling vehicle with 3399 examples delivered, bringing the year-to-date tally to 14,877 units.
Distraxi last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch Re E-KDSS, I expect the extra cylinders are due to the extra wheel travel, which would imply longer travel of the cylinders. Sway bar mounts take some front and rear load due to the angles of the sway bar links, and presumably there's a limit to how long the cylinder travel can be without needing to make it unacceptably beefy to handle those loads - probably makes sense to split the travel between four smaller cylinders. Plus if they were feeling really clever, I bet that'd give them enough permutations of flow that by manipulating the valves they could use minor road irregularities to pressurise the accumulator, which'd give them an energy reserve to provide a degree of semi-active roll control a la the Volvo active sway bar system.
BTW, I think the passive KDSS is connected front-rear not diagonally as you've described. If the actual actuators are diagonal, they must be interconnected inversely (front top to rear bottom). You want front-rear but not side-side interconnection for high roll and low bump stiffness, as per the Citroen 2CV and BL Hydrolastic passive interconnection systems.
StreetsofPerth last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch Great write-up. Thanks. It's imteresting that they've stuck with the 80 series wheelbase when the car has grown quite a bit. I can see why, but I've always felt that it compromises the packaging quite a bit and I wonder how it impacts stability in such a big, heavy car. With that said, many out here are used as tow tugs, so stability must not be compromised much.
Interesting that they're also going to lengths to improve off-road ability. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Toyota basically designed the 'Cruiser (at least the 200) as a 'bush taxi'; a vehicle that could travel over rough roads in relative comfort, with an expected service life of at least 20 years. Given some of their biggest buyers are the UN, aid agencies and mining fleets, it makes a lot of sense.
pip bip last edited by
@hammerheadfistpunch ARB / Oppositelock / TJM et al will have a million accessories available for them before we know it too.