Road test: the new 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser is as good on tarmac as it is on sand

The 2020 version of the legendary dune-buster is here, and it’s not shy about letting you know it

It's odd the way some things go together. You wouldn’t think rubber and sand were particularly well suited, but in certain circumstances this might indeed be the case. Particularly when the rubber makes up the tyres on a Toyota Land Cruiser and the sand forms a UAE dune. Then they get along very nicely indeed.

Yes, the 2020 Land Cruiser is with us, and, while heading off into the desert is a perfectly reasonable prospect for those behind the wheel, you’ll mainly be seeing the vehicles tearing along the country’s highways and byways. So it seems rubber and tarmac also get along very nicely indeed.

Land Cruisers have been popular in the UAE (and elsewhere, of course) for decades and with good reason. They have a rock-solid pedigree – the first models came out back in 1951 and were designed to take on the might of Jeep and Land Rover.

Nearly 70 years on and with 10 million units sold, you wouldn’t have many naysayers if you posited the opinion that Toyota has done a pretty good job in challenging its rivals.

The new Land Cruiser range is extensive – you can get a base model, the four-litre EXR, or go for the top-of-the-line 5.7-litre VXR, which was the test model. And there are many variants in-between. That one at the head of the list, though, has plenty of speed and power.

You can also fit eight people inside the stylish cabin and have them perfectly happy in their ventilated and heated seats, surrounded by all the leather and whatnot. Toyota also reckons its four-zone climate control, allowing people in the first two rows of seats to control their own environments, is the best of its kind. It’s certainly efficient.


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The instrument panel has everything you’d need, with a touchscreen and relatively intuitive controls.

Like all the best cars in the luxury 4x4 class, driving a vehicle of this sort should make you feel safe, calm and potentially exhilarated at the right moments. The Land Cruiser does all three. The 2020 model feels as secure and fun on the streets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as it does on rougher terrain.

It isn’t desperately different in how it looks from its previous incarnation, admittedly, and it’s worth pointing out that the 2020’s 0-100 kilometres per hour time of seven seconds makes it a little sluggish compared to its competitors, but the subtle changes Toyota has made – notably the performance damper that makes the ride a little bit more comfy and the improvements in noise reduction – make it worthy of your attention.

Rubber, sand, tarmac, climate control, whatever… they’re all getting along very nicely indeed in the Land Cruiser package, and you may well want to join the party.

Updated: January 23, 2020 11:06 AM


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