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What are your thoughts on taking a Toyota Land Cruiser rather than a Land Rover Defender??
We are planning a two year plus journey through Africa & South America and are debating the two types of vehicles.
Does anyone have any recent experience in doing such a journey in either of these vehicles or may have met people who had some interesting things to say about the pros & cons of the two.
To narrow the field we would consider at Defender Hard Top TD5 from about 2004 and upwards and the Toyota Land Cruiser 80 or Amazon from 2001 & up.
We know that the Toyota is going to be more reliable but I suppose we are also concerned about the storage within the vehicle and with the Toyota there is a lot of glass so security could be an issue? Also, as a workhorse how does the Toyota stack up? Auto or Manual? What about the running gear?
This old chestnut - its an ongoing debate which mainly comes down to personal choice. There are passionate proponents for both vehicles. Basically both Landrovers and Landcruisers capable of doing the job equally well.
Landcruiser - Pros - more comfortable, possibly more reliable although given you are looking at fairly new vehicles, all should be fine. Cons, older vehicle for same money as landrover or more expensive if you buy same year, potentially more complicated depending on what spec you buy. The ideal Landcrusier spec for overlanding is the 105 as the engine is quite basic. Used on in Aus and was really good, most impressed. May be difficult to source 105, particularly second hand.
Landrover Pros - rugged, easier to modify depending on what you want to do with it, doesn't look as expensive as same shape as older ones (however not so significant as you are rich compared to lots of people in the places you will be passing through). Cons - not as comfortable.
Auto versus manual - personally would stick to manual. Really like autos for commuting in UK but when offroading, apart from liking to have the involvement, it also gives you more options - eg you can push start a manual, can't on most (all??) autos.
I think, apart from looking at the different landcruiser 100 series specs and finding the right one to compare, the rest is purely down to personal taste, either vehicle will do the job fine.
There are lots of posts already on the forum on this if you want to get some background reading. Hopefully this has been a fairly impartial response from a Landrover driver. (something about knowing we have the best vehicle so being more comfortable about it - actually want a newer unimog but thats a whole different league)
Being totally biased I would recommend a 1995-1997 80 series landcruiser with the 24valve 4.2 diesel engine with either an auto or manual - personally I prefer the auto, if well looked after it is as strong as an Ox and with the Toyota reliability you have less to worry about starting issues with a well serviced car.
A 100 series would give you a wee bit more space, but you may not like the Independant front suspension, although a well sorted 100 will go most places an 80 or 105 will go and be a lot more comfortable to drive on most surfaces.
As Toby has pointed out, the 105 will give you that solid front axle with the benefit of slightly more space than the 80, however they are expensive and have to imported into the UK hence suggesting the 80 series. Also I would prefer to have a slightly beefier engine for overlanding if carrying a fair bit of kit.
Bear in mind that whilst the LRs dominate in the UK and also current and old colonies, Toyota have sold 20 times more Land Cruisers world wide so you should have better backup and support.
We recently were in your shoes having been forced to switch from 2 wheels to 4 wheels. Everyone is going to tell you differently and its a long standing battle between the two vehicles.
Our choice was made solely on our travel experience overlanding to India and the many 4x4 we met along the way. The Land rovers are great vehicles but everyone we met had had some mechanical issues along the way, they are also not widely used outside of Europe. The Landcruisers were being used mainly by swiss/ dutch & german travellers and had had no problems enroute and can be found anywhere in the world being driven by locals.
We are very happy with our landcruiser 80 series - it performs really well on and off road.
We opted for an Automatic due the the advarntages it has when driven off road.
If we can be of any further help then pm us - we live in Kent and would be happy for you to come and check our vehicle out.
I have owned a Defender 110 SW (Tdi 300) and currently own a 78 series Toyota Landcruiser Troopcarrier (1HZ engine). Both were absolute basic workhorses (later a bit modified), but please bear in mind that I am living in Africa, so it was easier for me to acquire a troopy than it would be in the UK. While I didn't own a TD5 I have driven several. Also my comments refer to unmodified, basic vehicles
1) Landrover TD5:
comfortable long travel suspension
basic boxy shape easy to make up storage boxes/systems
Superior pure off-road ability
Very simple to work on
Very simple to get more power (chipping the ECU)
More reliable (arguably) than a Tdi!
Very good economy
Massive aftermarket parts and accessories range and suppliers/modifiers in UK
Better choice of used vehicles available.
Undeniable character which other vehicles don't have
Expensive (compared to other 4x4s including Discos RR etc)
Fragile body - many end up fitting full roll cages due to the frankly shocking way a Defender performs in a roll-over (the only really large scale fleet user in Ghana ended up putting roll cages in every defender they had).
Rust problems particularly with the chassis/bulkhead etc.
They can be a bit fragile, and frankly they do have a (improving) poor reputation for reliability.
Cramped cabin with little leg room and side room and a sitting position which you either love or hate.
Relatively high output 2.5 turbo engine, with electrics which some see as a big problem, but personally I don't see a TD5 as something that cannot be 'handled in the bush'
Toyota Landcruiser HzJ78 Troopcarrier:
Large load carrying capability and roomy
reputation of extreme reliability and strength
simple, durable large capacity engine
Strong body and chassis
Parts availability (outside of Europe!)
More limited off-road ability (less ground clearance and axle articulation)
Big rear glass windows!
Fuel consumption not as good
Not as comfortable (especially if lightly loaded).
Not exactly pretty!
Today I drove a brand new HZJ105 Standard Landcruiser (which is basically an 80 series) for 5 hours on very poor roads (a new addition to our company fleet). It was a typical African spec standard vehicle - vinyl interior, twin tanks etc. I was reminded of what a SUPER vehicle a basic 105 is. In Ghana, on the road it is priced less than a Defender, and I am sorry but there is simply no comparison in any way other than maybe absolute pure off road agility (how often do you really need that tiny edge that a Defender has?). As far as the long standing battle that is between the vehicles, sorry but the battle has been well and truly won by Toyota (and Nissan) in the more developing parts of the world. In fact the UK is really the only place I can think off where there is really any last remaining doubt! Even L/R themselves have (IMHO) given up in the Defender Vs L/Cruiser Patrol stakes... Witness the total lack of Defender development other than sticking in a (very nice) high output ultra modern transit engine! The Toyota workhorse range is now (globally) quite massive, with the new 200 series probably about to dominate the more comfort end of the scale. The Nissan Patrol continues to be a super vehicle (and really the Landcruisers biggest rival, not the Defender)
Over the last 12 years I have had (as company vehicles in VERY tough conditions) the following (not in any order):
80 series l/C (several)
Nissan D22 p/up (several)
105 series l/C (several)
Now that I basically decide what we buy, it is at the moment confined to only D22 p/ups (changed every two years) and 105 series and 79 series L/Cruisers (which we change after 4 years).
Now after my really long winded reply my recommendation (based on someone living in UK) would be:
1) Consider importing a Std 105/78 (Turbo would be GREAT) series from Oz.
2) Be tempted by the allure and romance of a Landrover.
2) But then probably buy a Turbo 80 series !!
I hope this is of some use, and bear in mind that when I buy vehicles to use in the bush I am spending our company money, so I do try to be as objective as possible. Unfortunately this means that L/R currently has no model we would consider.
I really only bought a Troopy (rather than a 105 or 80) 'cause it was classed as a bus and duty was bugger all !!!! Not that I regret it for a minute.
a couple of years ago i had the same question and everyone said "80 series land cruiser". I know nothing about vehicles so first priority was reliability..two trips through Africa and one through Autralia proved this to be the best advice i had..i love the 80 series..and have spent many happy evenings in camps chatting to Land Rover owners and having a whilst handing them spanners as they repaired their vehicles!!!
I think Gil has got it pretty much right.
Defenders; great image, very well designed, great off road as standard, 300 Tdi is very economical and fast, very easy to modify and get accessories for, parts are VERY cheap to buy. Also in it's favour, if you rough it up a bit it won't look desirable to get stolen.
But, they are a bit noisy inside and cramped unless you modify the seat brackets. And the reliability is not as good as a Toyota. And build quality is not as good as we'd all like.
Landcruiser; fast, quiet, comfortable, very powerful as standard, great build quality, good off road ability as standard, simple enough to work on,
But, not economical, expensive to get parts for, hard/expensive to find accessories for (unless you buy from Europe and beyond). And, contrary to popular belief, they do break down!
In fact any car can break down, even a new one! But I guess all you can do is do everything logical to minimise the risk.
However, like everyone else has said, it all comes down to personal preference, go and drive a couple of TD5 (or 300 tdi) 110 hard tops, and then drive an 80 or 100 series Landcruiser and see which you fancy 'living' with.
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