The Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series is a beast of a vehicle and one I have imagined adventuring the outback in rather than doing the kindy drop off! I was keen to see if the adventure machine could also be a good family car, so let's find out what I thought when I put it through all our BabyDrive testing…
Where to start with this big car? I liken it to a gentle giant!! It's enormous and the interior feels frumpy and outdated and it has seats like my grandparent's armchairs that are upholstered in velour coach set fabric. BUT it drives all smooth and quiet AND feels like a car you could take across the desert AND has some seriously good boot and interior space.
In fact, the interior space is excellent. I could easily fit three big child seats across the second-row seats, the seat base is lovely and flat and wide so it felt even more spacious. There are ISOFix points in the two outer seats and top tethers on the back of all three seats. The middle seat top tether is right at the bottom of the seat bac,k so you may need an extension strap depending on your child seat. I could sit between two child seats.
The size of the 200 series made it quite difficult for me to reach through from the second-row to put the third-row seats up and down (I'm 162cm). I also found it quite a struggle reaching in from the boot to put the third-row seats up and down.
The third-row seats collapse down from the side of the car and there are no top tethers or ISOFix in the third-row so I couldn't put any child seats in the back. I found space at the back was very good. I could sit in the third row with plenty of head and legroom with a rear-facing child seat in the second row in front of me and a 183cm passenger in the front passenger seat.
The second-row seats have a tumbling mechanism when they fold forward, meaning you would have to uninstall a child seat to climb through to the third-row seats, which is not very practical on a daily basis.
When you are only using five seats, the boot space is enormous, you could get the large family dog in there or it would hold 18 shopping bags when empty and all types of stroller fitted in easily with good amounts of shopping. That is one more than the Toyota Prado which held 17.
Although the floor has a great rubber mat covering it which would make cleaning a bit easier, the boot floor is not as uniform as you would find in most seven-seat SUVs that do not have the seats that fold down from the sides of the car. The fixings for these seats in the floor also create areas where sand/crumbs etc would collect and make sliding strollers and other things in and out slightly more tricky. However, the boot is VERY deep so you really could load it up with a lot of stuff for a family camping trip!
With all three rows of seats in use, the 200 series fitted all types of strollers in the boot which really is a great BabyDrive feature as not many seven-seaters manage to do so. It held seven shopping bags compared to the Toyota Prado which held three.
One of my favourite features of the 200 series is the split boot door, making it easier to quickly load and unload the boot.
Storage in the front is quite good in the 200 Series. There is an enormous central console storage box that would house an iPad along with other bits and bobs (in the Sahara top spec models this is refrigerated). In front of that are two large cup holders which are the only place in this enormous car that a large refillable water bottle would fit! There's also a small phone well, glasses case and a glove box that has a handy extra shelf in it but would not hold an iPad.
The storage does fall short in the second row, where there are only net map pockets on the back of the front seats and the door bins are not big enough for a large refillable water bottle.
In the third row, there are small cup holders on either side.
I felt disappointed with the interior, it felt drab and the upholstery made me question whether the car was new or used! I am so used to seeing new cars with leather or suit-like seat upholstery that the LandCruiser's grey velour felt really out of date. It is used on the door panels and armrests too, which seems as though it would wear and get dirty quickly.
I feel the media screen lets the 200 series down. It is very small, basic and outdated for such a big, expensive car and it doesn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I have noticed a lot of these big off-roaders have similarly old-fashioned systems so perhaps technology may just be of lesser importance to their owners?
I found in a lot of light the reversing camera image could be quite difficult to see because of glare and that it is such a small screen.
I found the Toyota Landcruiser 200 series surprisingly smooth and quiet to drive and it had that wonderful confidence that I could take it anywhere!
The Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2011 for all models from 2015 onward. The top spec VX and Sahara versions have eight airbags (dual frontal, front knee, dual side and head curtain airbags that extend to the third row). However, the GX base model has no third-row airbag or second-row side airbag and the two GXL models don't have second-row side airbags but do have third-row head curtain airbags.