Escape to the Country

by Petrol Mum
Toyota LandCruiser 300 GR Sport

With COVID-19 restrictions largely becoming a thing of the past, Australians have once again embraced their desire to see more of our wide brown land. Tourism Research Australia forecasts that domestic tourism will return to average pre-pandemic levels in 2022-23, and domestic travel will surpass its 2018-19 peak the following year.

If you are one of these many people who have made the decision to travel around Australia, you are going to need a vehicle that is up to the task. Your vehicle will need to be robust enough, while still offering some level of comfort for those many hours that will be spent behind the wheel travelling from town to town across Australia.

The recently launched Toyota LandCruiser 300 certainly fits the bill, the problem is many other Australians have had the same idea and to add to this increased demand, supply has tightened up as well. A Toyota Australia Spokesperson updated Driven Women Magazine on this issue, saying:

“Demand for new vehicles is at unprecedented levels. In Australia, to support the strong demand, Toyota Australia has been continuing to working closely with our global production teams to secure as many vehicles for our market as possible, and minimise any impact.

 Wait times will vary depending on the model, variant and specification requirements of each customer. Due to the ever-evolving nature of this situation, Toyota dealers are best placed to continue to provide updates to our customers on delivery timeframes for individual orders.”

The LC300 comes with a brand new 3.3 litre, twin-turbo V6 diesel engine, which is the most powerful diesel LandCruiser yet, delivering 227kW and 700Nm. The official combined fuel efficiency is 8.9L/100km and I used 15.5L/100km for my week of driving the GR Sport model. The power is transferred to the wheels via a brand new 10-speed automatic transmission.

There are six on-road drive modes to select from being Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Sport+ and Custom. Under the Custom option you can adjust the powertrain, chassis and climate settings. I spent my time in Normal mode and I really felt the size of the LC300 and the lopey nature of the ride and powertrain on-road.  

Available on GXL and above, Multi Terrain Select with a new Automatic Mode was tuned for Australian conditions. Exclusive to the GR Sport, E-KDSS (Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) responds to real time conditions, engaging stabilisers during on road cornering and freeing movement for rugged off-roading. Something good for on-road driving around Sydney at the moment was the ease in which the LC300 road over the potholes that plague our city at the moment.

The GR Sport also gets front and rear differential locks, Adaptive Variable Suspension, Crawl control, Downhill Assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control, 4-camera Multi-Terrain Monitor with Panoramic View Monitor, Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management, and Active Traction Control (A-TRC). I did not try these features out this time around, but from previous experience with the LandCruiser 200, I know the LandCruiser is capable off-road.

The braked towing capacity of the LC300 is 3,500kg and it comes with Trailer Sway Control and trailer wiring harness connection (Trailer harness – 7 pin socket sold separately) and the cost for the Towing Kit including fitment is $283. My LandCruiser was also fitted with a roof rack (cost $466 including fitment) and Ski Carrier (cost $318 including fitment).

As the LandCruiser is a proper 4WD it is high off the ground, so you will definitely need to use the running boards to step up into the vehicle. Once there you will find that the GR Sport LandCruiser is as luxury as the current LC300 range gets with leather accented front seats that are heated and cooled, with power adjustment for recline, forward/back, and seat cushion height adjustment front and rear. The driver’s seat also has 2-way power lumbar adjustment and three memory positions. One annoying thing I noticed though was a whistle coming from one of the rear windows while I was driving.

The driver will appreciate the head-up display and 7″ Multi Informational Display on the driver’s dash. There is also voice control, which is activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it. For me the voice control worked well for setting a destination on the sat nav and changing the radio station.

The GR Sport also gets a carbon-look steering wheel, which is heated and power adjusted, and a leather accented gear shift knob. But by far my favourite interior feature is the cooled box under the arm rest that can fit two full-size bottles of champagne in it! I cooled the box down and measured the temperature at a crisp 5o Celsius and when the lid of the cooled box was closed you cannot hear it operating. So, after a long day driving your champagne will be perfectly chilled ready for you to enjoy while watching the sunset in some remote corner of Australia.

At the front of the cooled box there are two cup holders, which you should also know do fit two champagne flutes. Or you can remove a false floor in one of the cup holders to store a taller drink bottle if required or use the good sized drink bottle storage cubbies in the front doors.

The 12.3″ colour touchscreen display can project your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto with audio in the GR Sport enjoyed through a 14-speaker JBL premium audio system. Other media sources include AM/FM radio, DAB, Bluetooth, USB, Miracast and CD/DVD input. Next to the gear selector is a wireless charger for compatible devices, which may not fit larger smart phones and if you are doing some serious off-roading the phone may fall out easily. Behind the flip down cover at the front of the centre console there is one USB-C port, one USB port and one 12V outlet.

The rear seats have enough head and leg room and width to fit three adults or three car seats, with two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points available. Just like the front seats they are heated and cooled as well, something my children really appreciated! The centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two cup holders in the front of it and there are also good-sized drink bottle storage cubbies in the rear doors as well.

Some things I really liked for rear seat passengers was that they had separate digital temp controls with central air vents and vents in the roof also as well and the temperature and air speed can be controlled from the front climate controls, if required. Below the central air vents there are two USB ports and one 12V outlet. But the best feature is the mat that goes over the entire rear floor to make cleaning easy and offers protection for the carpet on the transmission tunnel.

Being that the GR Sport only has five seats the boot is huge and would carry plenty of camping gear for that Aussie adventure or if you are closer to home a pram and a big weekly shop. Should you need even more space, the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split fold mechanism. The tailgate is power operated and can be open/closed from the button under the tailgate, the key fob or the button in the cabin. The boot has four metal tie down points, no hooks and no cargo cover, but you do get one 12V outlet and a 220V 100W three-pronged plug. Lastly there is a full-size spare tyre located under the rear of the LC300.

The LandCruiser 300 comes with Toyota Safety Sense – including PreCollision Safety system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, Active Cruise Control (all-speed), Lane Departure Alert with brake to steer and on the GR Sport the Automatic High Beam is replaced with Adaptive High Beam System. On the GR Sport you also get Lane Trace Assist with steering wheel vibration, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Dusk-sensing auto headlamps, auto wipers and a 360o view camera with front and rear sensors.

All LC300 variants have a 5-star ANCAP (2022) safety rating, except the GR Sport which is unrated. All variants come with ten air bags including dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting airbags, and driver and passenger knee airbags as standard. A centre airbag to prevent occupant-to-occupant interaction is not available.

All new Toyota vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this can be extended for up to seven years with unlimited kilometres on Engine and Driveline if your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained as per the vehicle’s Warranty and Service book. The service interval for the LC300 is six months or 10,000kms, whichever occurs first and under the Toyota Service Advantage program the price for each service up to 60 months or 100,000km is $375 each.

The LandCruiser 300 is big, comfortable and suitable for exploring a large country like Australia. Prices for the GR Sport start at $137,790 excluding on-road costs and as tested with above options and premium paint ($675) the LC300 I drove was $139,512 excluding on-road costs. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer to discover more about the LC300 and discuss delivery times.

The cooled box under the arm restNo ANCAP safety rating for GR Sport
Rear seat spaciousness and featuresWhistle from rear window
Large bootFrequency of servicing

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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