|Toyota has joined the car-derived van stakes with a light commercial version of the capable Land Cruiser|
|Key rival:||Mitsubishi Shogun Sport Commercial|
|Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial 2.8 D-4D SWB|
|Load length/height/width:||Not released by manufacturer|
The end of the Land Rover Defender might not have been mourned by everyone, but it certainly left a gap in the market for a truly go-anywhere commercial vehicle.
Go-anywhere ability is something the Toyota Land Cruiser has in spades, and it now comes in a commercial vehicle version.
Toyota has kept the Land Cruiser van charmingly simple in every way. The only real choices are between long- and short-wheelbase versions, and the few options there are relate to towing or metallic paint.
It takes a wonderfully basic approach on the road, too. The solitary engine only offers 177hp despite being a whopping 2.8-litre diesel, and its economy figures of 197g/km and 37.6mpg would make company car fleet managers wince. The Toyota is a van, though, so it doesn’t fall foul of the company BIK rules.
Despite the relatively low power figure, it offers plenty of in-gear acceleration, thanks in part to the long ratios. It settles down on the motorway to be a happy cruiser, too.
The standard-fit cruise control is a useful bonus for this, too. It is part of a kit list that has some unusual luxuries, such as dual-zone air-conditioning, auto lights and keyless entry and start, but there is still a basic, utilitarian feel to the Land Cruiser. The fact that the rear door swings shut unless you twist a barrel on the bar between the rear door and the body of the vehicle is proof of this, while the hardwearing plastics in the cabin don’t feature any elements that would be would be classified as opulent.
What they are is hard-wearing, resilient and likely to last the lifetime of the van, which, given the Toyota’s hard-worn reputation for such matters, could be a very long time.
The off-roading abilities of the Land Cruiser are long and well proven, but even if many are bought for a tough life, many will also spend a fair few miles on road. Oddly, it is here where the Land Cruiser shines. It has a wonderfully comfortable ride and remains controlled through corners, keeping bodyroll largely in check.
The gear change has a long throw, but the pedals and the shift have a lightness to them that make the Land Cruiser an easy vehicle to drive both in town and on the motorway. The presence of the full-time four-wheel drive adds to the basic, useful nature, although you can pop the gearbox into low-range easily, and lock the central differential if needs be.
Practicality isn’t the Land Cruiser’s strongest suit, with payloads ranging from 488kg to 756kg. The long-wheelbase handily has the rear doors still in place, providing useful access to the loading bay from the side as well as the rear.
Practicality isn’t all, though, as vans that can carry more won’t be able to go into half the places the Land Cruiser can.