GR Sport Toyota Land Cruiser: one from left field, for the road or fields
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A GR Land Cruiser!? Didn’t see that one coming, did we. In fact so secretive was the invitation to the Toyota NZ launch in Palmerston North, that we didn’t even know what car the company was launching, much less the derivatives.
It did, as we revealed here, provide the global unveiling of the new 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser 300-Series, the latest in a 70-year history of the model.
Three models in the range are topped by the GR Sport Land Cruiser (above right), a mild oddity if there ever was one. Unveiled in photos only (there was just one VX Limited model present), the GR Sport represents one of the three “tiers” in the GR range.
At the top is the GR Supra, Yaris and 86. In the middle is the, for example, GR Sport C-HR, with subtle enhancements to the steering and brakes. And milder still sits the Land Cruiser 300 GR Sport, a largely looks makeover, but still with tweaks to areas like ABS and suspension.
The LC300 GR Sport is headlined, visually, by lots of blackout items, including the large black grille with Toyota branding, rather than the T logo. There’s exclusive steering settings, start button, smartkey and carbon trim pack, and branded GR seats.
Missing is the third row: to reduce weight, GR Sport Land Cruiser is only a five-seater. But it’s not lighter than the regular Land Cruiser thanks to tricky suspension designed to optimi e both on- and off-road performance. Exclusive adaptable variable EKDSS suspension not only adapts damping force and ride height, but electronic sway bars either engage (for maximum road performance), or disengage for maximum articulation off-road. GR Sport also offers front and rear diff locking (only centre locking in normal 300 Series). Tyres are also 18-inch, like the VX model, but an all-terrain tread pattern.
It’s also 5mm shorter than a 300 Series, and uses more body adhesive to enhance structural rigidity, though it’s rated at the same 2630kg, so specs and performance is the same.
While we’re talking GR, what of the GR Yaris? Will we get more? Toyota NZ says yes, it’s just a matter of time, and with 30 more due soon, there is some way to fulfilling the current back orders of 109! But they are coming.
So there’s the curveball from left field: the GR Sport Land Cruiser, that’ll join the new Land Cruiser range when it lands on sale November 1.
Pricing for the GR Sport will headline the range when it’s announced in August, and sales numbers aren’t expected to be huge, but it’s a niche that Toyota thinks will fill a void in the spirit of Nismo or Ralliart special vehicles, and also the ideal tow vehicle for a GR 86 racecar.