Having been resistant to Land Crushers as I felt they were just oversized toys compared to the more honest Land Rover Defender Troop Carrier or Pajero. I ended up with a cruiser after a disastrous Pajero and the inability to acquire a decent Land Rover in my adopted home Cambodia. Most imported Cruisers are luxury US spec with Auto Transmission and thirsty V8s.
I found my 97 1 HZ with Manual Transmission and 4.2 6cylinder diesel in Jan 08.
As a road car; the 6 cylinder diesel is turbine smooth and quiet unless pushed hard. Its performance though, is almost embarrassing compared to my old and lighter 2.8 turbo Pajero. One needs to work the gears hard to maintain momentum on hills and overtaking requires a lot of pre planning.
Off road is a different story.
Cambodia has the worse roads in SE Asia and in my first couple of months of ownership of the cruiser I have taken it on a some of the steepest, roughest dustiest and muddiest roads to remote temples on adventure tours.
The 4WD system works well with easy transfer box control (provided the hubs are locked) I’ve used the low drive more than I expected. The lever requires a hefty push
Off the beaten track thru rice fields and bush in search of rare wildlife; the cruiser has been excellent; helped in part to the Michelin XML tyres. The only time I have been in trouble was due to grounding (my error).
Comfort, ride and handling on and off road couldn’t be better. One thing I do hate is the split tailgate which makes access to the rear awkward and precluded the fitment of a rear mounted spare tire, the under slung tire was quickly removed to the roof rack for expeditions.