A versatile sporting family vehicle
This is the fourth Landcruiser our family has owned. The first was a 1988 60 series turbo diesel, which was replaced by a 2 year old 100 series auto, which I borrowed from my husband to tow the horse float. When the need to drag the nag around became almost non-stop, and we needed another vehicle capable of transporting a minimum of 6, I found a 1994, 4.2lt, 4 speed auto, 80 series for my very own. By the time she had done 271,000km, she needed some work doing on rings and other expensive things to make it worth putting her on LPG, and my husband tried very hard to convince me that I needed a new car. I insisted that I just needed the same car, but with less kms. Then I found Rosie 2. The same year, the same colour (shame that burgundy is SO common) with only 57,000km on the clock.
She came home with us, and was converted to LPG. This was the second time I have converted a Toyota to LPG, and while this time it has been more successful, you really have to have a mechanic who is really sympathetic to Toyota engines to maintain them well, so as to get the best out of them. We have had almost disastrous results, since said mechanic sold up and the last guy has not been able to tune the car properly, with it alternately backfiring or sucking juice like a dehydrated toddler.
Her 4.2lt engine gives her a lot more get up and go then the previous model, but she does suffer from a mild drinking problem (thus the LPG conversion). She tows a float so easily that my husband has literally forgotten he had it on (what happened to checking mirrors??!!) and I have overtaken cars on the freeway with three ponies in the float. On road she handles much more like a car than the 60 series, although falls short of the 100 series. I find her easy to park, and she is easy to find in a carpark, but people used to their butts dragging on the ground in their cars are intimidated by her size. The constant four wheel drive also means I can take advantage of parking spots that 'street' cars run shrieking from - or are towed from.
I have taken her off road in "man from snowy river" country, and she just toddled up and over everything, although she does have to have the right boots on if it's wet. I did miss the diesel low revs coming down steep hills, as the auto does like to rev a lot higher, but I can forgive her as she put to shame the "experienced" guy in his Nissan (I don't think it was the Nissan's fault). I didn't find I needed the lock down option available in the 100 series in the mud, and river crossings were easy. It's nice to not have to get out of the car to lock the hubs, with an option to lock the central diff on the dash, and then a gear stick to engage Low Low for when you want to get serious.
I don't like having the tyre mounted on the back, which would be OK with barn doors, but are a pain when you need to get to the back more than once in a day. The positive is that it isn't so hard to get to the spare when you get a flat - especially if your wheels are in ruts so deep that your diff is dragging in the mud as happened to one of the 100 series. We also had the suspension 're-sprung' to better compensate towing.
I have always loved the grey interior, and it has been interesting to see the evolution from the 60 series through to the 100 series. The last row of seats, while OK when the kids were little, are not ideal for long trips, especially now that they are getting taller than me. With them folded up, there is enough room to put 2 bales of hay and a 25kg bag of chaff, or several bags of basketballs or enough shopping to feed five children, 2 of whom are already over 6'2". With the back seats up and the middle seats folded forward there is just enough room for me to sleep (but not stretch out), which is still infinitely more comfortable than sleeping in the float. The air con works a treat (though NOTHING will ever live up to that on the 60) and the audio system only redeems itself in this age of mp3s with a cassette adapter. (My children didn't even know what a cassette was!)
I have absolutely loved both my 80 series. My husband who traded his 100 series in on a Mitsubishi Triton (a story in itself) is now looking at the 200 series. If he does, with less horses, bigger kids and more kms driving to and from basketball games, it may be that Rosie 2 will make way for a more economical form of transport.
It's just that nothing grabs my spirit like she does.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th April, 2010