The Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series is a mammoth car, a big seven-seater 4×4 that is renowned for its off-road capability. You could cross the Simpson Desert in this car but is it a good everyday BabyDrive? Let's find out…
The first thing that strikes me with the Landcruiser 300 Series is how great the exterior looks but the interior on this lower-spec (but still $102,000) GXL version doesn't feel like it's been updated that much at all. The dash, media system and seats are still pretty old school in their design, fabrications and textures.
When it comes to child seats; there are ISOFix points in the two outer second-row seats and top tether anchorages on the back of all three second-row seats. The top tethers are quite difficult to access because the second-row seat base does not slide forward and because of the size of the Landcruiser 300 Series I had to climb up into the boot to reach them!
I can easily fit three child seats across the second row of the Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series. I installed the Infasecure Attain More, Achieve More and Infasecure Optima child seats. Both forward and rear-facing fit really nicely. To learn more about the child seats I've used in this review, just click on the link here.
In the third row, the seats do not have any top tether or ISOFix anchorages. So I could not install any child seats back there. However, you could put an Infasecure Versatile Folding Booster seat there because it does not require a top tether strap.
The second-row seats are split 60:40 with the 40 on the kerb side, which is great.
Accessing the third row is quite tricky because the second-row seat base does not slide and the seats tumble forward, which means you do have to uninstall one child seat in order to access the third row.
Putting up the third-row seats can be quite tricky as you need to pull the handle which is on the shoulder of the seatback. However, it is obstructed by the second-row seat.
This means you need to move the second-row seatback forward slightly in order to raise the third-row seats. Which does mean potentially uninstalling a child seat from the second row to do this. You can get an electronic third-row seat folding mechanism starting in the Sahara model, which costs more than $130,000 (or around $30,000 more than this GXL tested here).
Legroom and headroom in the third row is very good, although the seat bases are very close to the floor though so your knees are up around your ears when you're sitting back there. I think you would easily fit a 180cm+ passenger in the third row but would they be comfortable with their bum so close to their feet?
Throughout the Landcruiser 300 Series legroom is good. You would fit a 180cm driver in front of a rear-facing child seat with a 180cm passenger in the third row too. To be honest you would expect that in a vehicle of the size!
There are some noticeable changes, like how the tailgate has gone from a split tailgate on the Landcruiser 200 Series pictured below to a single piece boot lid on the 300 Series.
I was disappointed that this GXL model didn't have an automatic opening tailgate and door system and in this day and age manually doing them does feel less modern than other vehicles (hands-free boot opening is only on the top two models that cost almost $140,000).
When it comes to boot space the room left in the LandCruiser 300 when using all seven seats is small and only holds four shopping bags.
When using only two rows of seats, it's the perfect off-road vehicle for families. You have a nice big boot that will hold lots of camping equipment, prams Eskies etc. Or eighteen shopping bags fit in the boot! A twin or tandem pram fit nicely in the with plenty of room around them.
There is also a plug socket in the boot on the left-side wall.
The media system doesn't feel like it's been updated a great deal in this GXL model. It feels small and quite old-school to use.
You can adjust the beeping sound which is good…
…And it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto thankfully (even the last 200 Series models made didn't have this).
It still has the three-way split screen which allows you to easily tap on the function you want.
The reversing camera image fills the whole screen, however, it is a bit pixellated and not great quality for a massive $100-grand SUV.
When it comes to the drive, the 300 series has been greatly improved! The steering is much lighter and it's much more manoeuvrable, which makes it much easier to park in supermarket and school car parks and to drive around town for everyday life. It also still has a 3.5 tonne towing capacity for camping or boating adventures.
Now I know a lot of people are worried about the fact it's not available as a V8, but I don't think you'll be disappointed. The V6 is really nice to drive and feels just as good if not better than the V8 Landcruiser 200 Series. It's actually surprisingly fast!
Storage in the Landcruiser 300 series is not that practical for families. In the second row, there are just very small door bins that don't even hold a refillable water bottle. In this GXL there's no central fold-down armrest either, so no cup holders there!
The third-row passengers do get more storage for bottles and cups, USB and phone storage.
The front row is better catered for, however, their door bins are also too small for a refillable water bottle, which we found frustrating during our week with the Landcruiser 300 Series, as we always had four water bottles rolling around the footwells.
In the front, there is an enormous central console box which is a chilled compartment in the top-spec models.
There are aircon vents in the ceiling for passengers in both rear rows of seats, which is fantastic.
There are controls in the back of the central console box and you can control the rear aircon from the front too.
The Toyota Landcruiser 300 Series is yet to be given an ANCAP crash-test rating but it has a lot of the safety technology you would expect to find in a modern family car and ten airbags come as standard across the LC300 Series range!
To sum up, the Land Cruiser 300 series is still that car you could take your family across the Simpson Desert with, towing your camper trailer. At the same time, the everyday driving feel is greatly improved over the 200 Series. However, the interior and media system of this GXL do make it feel out of date and they let it down for me, as well as that awkward third-row seat mechanism, disappointing cabin storage and small boot when three rows of seats are in use. There's just too little attention to detail there, considering a LandCruiser is such a dream family car for a lot of people.