1 Mar 1998
By CHRIS HARRIS
Bigger (40mm taller, 10mm wider and 70mm wider) and around 200kg heavier than before but also more comfortable, refined and car-like to drive, the new 2850mm wheelbase (as before) 100-series LandCruiser four-door wagon follows a predictable path towards on-road relevance.
New independent front suspension using double wishbones, hydraulic dampers and an anti-roll bar is available in more luxurious models while the others retain the old rigid front axle. Out back, the five-link coil spring set-up remains as per the ‘Cruiser 80.
Not that it’s inept off the bitumen though - it is probably more capable than the originals.
Engine noise, vibration and harshness are muted to car-like levels. Ride quality is similarly smoothed but not smothered while massive brake, steering (ball and nut bar the topline GXV’s rack and pinion) and suspension improvements mean the 100 doesn’t overwhelm urban/city drivers. The elevated driving position helps too.
Models are the Standard part-time six-seat van-wagon with “barn” doors, and RV, GXL and aforementioned GXV eight-seat full-time 4WD wagons. The family favourite GXL includes anti-lock brakes and dual airbags as standard.
From late ’99 the GXV gained dual air-conditioning and improved safety via stability and traction control and ABS now with brake assist and brake-force distribution.
Engines are the gutsy but thirsty (thanks to 2.5 tonnes of truck to tow) 165kW/387Nm 4.5-litre DOHC 24V six-cylinder FZJ105R engine, a 96kW/285Nm 4.2-litre SOHC 12V six-cylinder petrol unit known as the HZJ105R, or the Lexus-derived 170kW/410Nm UZJ100R 4.7-litre quad-cam 32V V8 in higher-end models – all available in five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearboxes.
Mysteriously, the previous LandCruiser 80’s 118kW 4.2 HDJ80R turbo-diesel (TDI) wasn’t part of the package – fuelling rumours of its reliability record.
In its place eventually came the heavily revised HDJ100R 4.2 TDI developing 151kW/430Nm, from October 2000.
At the same time there were minor trim titivations across the 100 range.
Special editions included June ‘99’s value-added “Snowy” as well as the GXL-based Kimberley (August ’00), 50th Anniversary (July ’01) and Advantage (July ’02) trio.