The Land Cruiser Hardtop is reliable
What you need to know:
- To many motorists who own it, the Land Cruiser Hardtop beats other Land Cruisers in terms of off-road performance and reliability, writes Roland D. Nasasira
I have owned the Toyota Land Cruiser Hardtop for seven years. Before that, I drove the Toyota Land Cruiser VX 1992 model for five years. However, I find the Land Cruiser Hardtop better than the VX in terms of off-road performance capabilities. It is a workhorse depending on what you want to use it for. For instance, I am a civil engineer and my job requires frequent upcountry travels. For these journeys, the Hardtop comes in handy because it can be driven through any road.
Regardless of whether it is a rough marrum road, tarmacked or even bushes without trees, the Hardtop has engine capacity and power to manoeuvre through any rough terrain. There was a time I drove to Kitgum District in northern Uganda and one of the places that had been earmarked for a site was impassable. It was rocky and had ditches but when I engaged the 4WD system, i was able to manouvre with ease.
At another location, it had rained heavily and deep gullies had formed in the road making it slippery. However, I engaged the 4WD system and I manoeuvred through the rough terrain without much struggle. When it comes to on-road performance, when you have a well maintained suspension system, you will not feel the driving discomfort caused by rough tarmacked roads or potholes.
If there is a Toyota brand that combines durability, strength, engine power and reliability, it is the Land Cruiser Hardtop. It is not the most comfortable of sport utility vehicles because it was manufactured for hard work in harsh conditions. Its ability to drive through any terrains makes you forget the minimal seat discomfort it comes with.
It is a car you will load with luggage in the boot and on the roof rack and it will still perform as though it is not loaded. There will, however, be a slight change in fuel consumption when it is loaded because of the extra weight.
Another advantage is that it has a seating capacity of 10. It also has two bench-like seats in the boot that can be folded to lean on the interior car body to create space for luggage. The middle seat rows can equally recline to create even bigger luggage space.
It commands high stability when driving at higher speeds. When it is evenly loaded, it will be more stable. It is well raised and does not require spacers to increase its ground clearance. You have to use low profile rims and high profile tyres but also ensure that you have the best quality shock absorbers if you are to enjoy this car on long, upcountry trips.
In terms of off-road performance, the Land Cruiser Hardtop can be compared to some Land Rover Defender models. This is because it never fails or disappoints, especially when driving on marrum roads. If it were not for seas and oceans, this car has the capacity to reach anywhere without any challenges along the way as long as it is in the best mechanical condition. I have driven it as far as Zambia through Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and it never broke down during the trip.
When well serviced, the Hardtop is reliable. It is one that shows signs of a mechanic fault on a safari and it will not fail to move until you find a garage to fix what is wrong. I service mine after covering 5,000km but it has the ability to cover 7,000km or 10,000km because there are times I go to the garage and there is nothing much to replace other than the basics such as engine oil, oil filter, air cleaners and fuel filters.
For minor service, I spend approximately Shs300,000. If it is major service where I replace spark plugs, coolant, transmission fluid and other parts, it stretches to Shs800,000, depending on what needs to be serviced. Its spare parts are locally available with most dealers and at the Toyota dealership.