Jun 27, 2023

2023 Toyota LandCruiser 300 review: Full range detailed

This full-size four-wheel drive delivers exceptional performance in various areas: impressive off-road capabilities, confident towing capacity, ample space for the entire family, and enjoyable on-road handling.

With a wide range of models available, it caters to a diverse group of buyers looking for large family hauling ability, towing capacity and four-wheel drive capability.

Models range from the basic GX with its practical vinyl flooring and cloth seats to the stylish GR Sport, designed for enhanced off-road prowess.

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Of the six LC300 variants, three are five-seaters and three are seven-seaters.

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It really lacks the technology and luxury of upper-spec models. The dash layout is similar across the LC300 range, but you do notice more hard plastics and fewer features in the stripped-back GX model.

But due to the GX’s lower kerb weight, payload capacity is the highest in the LC300 range, with 785kg to play with.

More popular with private buyers is the next model grade, the GXL which is nearly $12,000 more expensive.

At least you get carpet (but lose the snorkel) as well as seven seats across three rows (with side curtain airbags that extend to the third row), blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

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This includes autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control (all speed), speed sign recognition, automatic high beam and lane departure alert with brake-to-steer. It also has a reversing camera and, as part of its stability control suite, trailer sway control.

From GXL and up, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors are also standard.

Meanwhile, the LandCruiser GR Sport and Sahara ZX add adaptive high beam to their safety suites.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rated the Toyota LandCruiser 300 at five stars for safety, its maximum, in January 2022.

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The dash layout is similar across the LC300 range, but you do notice more hard plastics and fewer features in the stripped-back GX model.

There is a distinct lack of USB points in the GX, which is a minor gripe but an important one, with only one USB-A and one USB-C in the front. There are no USB points in the rear, but there is a 12V plug – I would recommend buying a simple adaptor to convert that to USB.

A basic and small infotainment unit is provided – as you’d expect in a base model – but the GX has a few tricks up its sleeve such as six speakers (which sound pretty good), Bluetooth compatibility, voice recognition, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

However, at the back of the GX you’ll notice a one-piece lift-up rear tailgate, which isn’t a great idea.

I complained about this with the new Isuzu MU-X, but the 300 Series is worse – you will hit your head on it if you aren’t careful. I definitely miss the split tailgate found on previous LandCruisers, a practical place to make a sandwich or to sit on and watch the world go by.

The seats are basic but comfortable enough for long stints behind the wheel, and there’s plenty of headroom for taller drivers.

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Although now a one-piece tailgate, it does reveal a large opening, which makes it easy to load bulky items. There are four tie-down points here and a 220V, 100A power outlet, but no 12V socket.

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The LC300 rides on Toyota’s new TNGA chassis which it shares with the Tundra pickup truck in the USA that was launched around the same time as this new 'Cruiser. It’s still a body-on-frame design but now employs more high-strength steel in key areas to improve stiffness, while using aluminium in some suspension components to reduce weight.

Suspension is a double wishbone, coil sprung independent setup at the front and live rear axle at the back, located by multi-links and riding on coils.

Meanwhile, the GR Sport and Sahara ZX get adaptive dampers that enable you to select Comfort, Sport or Sport+ settings to suit your driving preference and style.

The GR Sport’s E-KDSS system works on the front and rear sway bars to lighten the tension on them when driving at low speeds off road, and tighten them up for firmer body control at higher speeds on road.

All that kit delivers a ride and handling characteristic that is still instantly recognisable as LandCruiser. It’s soft and supple, soaking up road bumps, and pitches and wallows when pushed hard. Even in Sport and Sport+ mode, the handling is still soft. Then again, the LandCruiser has no sports car pretensions.

It’s a vehicle that’s designed to soak up anything the road can dish up to it while covering hundreds of kilometres per day. And it does that very well.

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Fuel capacity is down compared to the 200 Series LandCruiser, with 110 litres split between 80L main and 30L sub tanks. Toyota says this is due to the more efficient V6 used in the LC300, and it’s also a quick and easy way to shave overall weight off the vehicle.

By our calculations, you’d be getting just shy of 1000km before both tanks are bone dry, which is respectable.

Paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive traction, the V6 is a stout performer. It pulls well through the rev range and feels particularly peppy in the mid-range. Low-down torque is tractor-like when crawling off-road, and it even sounds good when being pushed.

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Called the Toyota Warranty Advantage Extended Engine and Driveline coverage, this warranty is for seven years from delivery, provided the vehicle is properly serviced and maintained.

The LandCruiser 300 series requires servicing every six months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. Toyota’s capped-price servicing offer is $400 per interval, meaning you’ll pay $4000 for scheduled servicing over five years.

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Like the Land Rover Discovery, the LandCruiser has gone upmarket, with no change from $100,000 once on-road costs are added for even the most-affordable GX model.

So if you’re going to dip into the piggy bank for more than six figures, you may as well go for the GXL, at $106,101 (plus on-road costs). For a family wagon that doubles as the holiday outback tourer (and/or heavy-duty tow vehicle), this seven-seat model has real appeal.

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