Pros: most popular 4 wheel drive in Australia
Cons: none of note
In Australia, the Toyota Land Cruiser is the exact same vehicle as available in the USA.
Peddling is slang for driving, and Tojo is the nickname given these vehicles here. They are far and away the most popular 4 wheel drive in Australia, especially in the Outback.
One brief true story demonstrates the reliability and confidence with which these vehicles are operated.
The Adelaide to Darwin road, some 2,500 miles, runs almost exactly due North - South and is used by many as a brilliant navigation aid. Basically it means no one can get lost in the "never-never" because one glance at the sun tells you where east and west is and all you need to know is which side of the "bitumen" you are on - which surely anyone knows. So if you are in the West somewhere all you need do is keep travelling east and you literally can't avoid "hitting the bitumen", or of you prefer' meeting the Adelaide to Darwin road.
Now I promised you a little brief story. A good friend of ours is the aircraft engineer at Alice Springs airport and he invited us to go out for a barby ( a cook-out).
We set off in the Tojo and went about ten miles north up the main road towards Darwin and then turned due west through the "bush". There are no fences virtually anywhere in this country, including in or around Cattle Stations - they are so big as to make fences superfluous (often a million acres).
So here we are heading west through at times sand, others rocks and all we know is, thanks to the compass mounted near the windscreen, headed west. After there had not been a sign of human habitation for several hours and the awe of being totally now-where wears off a bit I start becoming a little nervous. After all quite possibly we where the first humans, of any colour, to have been in this area.
I said to John, even though the Tojo wasn't missing a beat, what happens if we break down? Oh, we probably won't says he, obviously the last thing on his mind as he manoeuvres over yet another pile of rocks. And then he said to his wife "Oh Helen, did I give you back your stockings from that time the fan belt got all cut up by a sharp rock?" - "No, says Helen, as if I'd want them back". Then John starts chuckling to himself and says "we're still running on stockings", he says - and when he notices I have gone several shades whiter he asks "Oh Helen, you wearing stockings today?" to which Helen say yes and he just says there you are people, we a laughing - nothing to worry about.
He did tell me later the Tojo's were so over engineered they just kept going no matter what!
Now I can't think of a better recommendation for a four wheel drive - and everyone I talked to, from Cattle Station owners to Police all swear by their Tojo's.
It's true these good folks are not remotely interested in Bitumen Road travelling, ergonomics and the myriad things that the city slicker owner pays so much importance to. But the vehicles I am referring to are those that are really used as they are both meant and made to be, and in that regard they are unbeatable.
A great many four wheel drives are owned by Downtown weekend play farmers of course who don't really need a four wheel drive at all - but even these characters often use a Tojo because the truth is that Tojo's even hold their heads high in this company. They are not just true, honest work horses but also handle well made roads in comfort and the ergonomics put many a standard road vehicle to shame.
For those interested, here are Toyota?s description and specifications;
Toyota's flagship SUV returns basically unchanged this year. The Land Cruiser is equipped with a 4.7-liter 230-horsepower V8 engine coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission. Power is delivered to the wheels through a full-time 4-wheel drive system with a locking center differential. The Land Cruiser normally seats five passengers but has the potential to seat eight if the optional Third Seat Package is ordered. This package also includes power rear-quarter windows and an independent automatic rear climate control system. This year's Land Cruisers are now available with a DVD-based vehicle navigation system that utilizes a 7-inch dash-mounted display. The exterior color palette has also been altered slightly for 2001.
Miles per Gallon
Gross Vehicle Weight
Final Assembly Location
So there it is, whether battling the sand, rocks and bulldust of the outback or cruising along Downtown, what more can I say except don't be mislead by the others - the real McCoy is a Tojo.