Nov 27, 2010

Cruise control

It’s been 60 years since the Land Cruiser hit the UAE’s shores, so Toyota thought it would do something special by offering the 60th Anniversary edition

In the UAE the Land Cruiser has taken on a symbolic, almost mythical role. Unlike the Ford Model T in America or the Fiat 500 in Italy, this mobiliser of the people had to be something sturdy and was able to navigate the dunes of the UAE. The Land Cruiser was it. There were of course other four-wheel-drive vehicles before the Land Cruiser, but in keeping with the Model T and 500, the Cruiser was more cost effective than its rivals and was extremely easy to mend.

The Land Cruiser phenomenon took off wherever there was a harsh climate or terrain to battle against and where there were a significant amount of people who needed to get around quickly. Whilst these elements are not unique to the UAE, it was here that the car gained a substantial foothold and why Toyota felt it necessary to celebrate this auspicious anniversary.

The 60th Anniversary edition Land Cruiser comes in VXR-i and GXR-i grades with the unique specifications for enhanced passenger comfort and safety. These include a special 60th Anniversary emblem throughout the interior and exterior and LED daytime running lights, among others. The GXR-i version also benefits from a rear view camera displayed on the driver’s interior rear mirror. In addition, the VXR-i models also feature a rear dual DVD entertainment system and a powerful new 5.7-litre engine, delivering 362 horsepower, alongside the well proven 4.7-litre engine.

Driving the Land Cruiser is like buying into this country’s history. It is now more an opulent family car than anything else, but still possesses that rugged appeal, which means it is just as comfortable bouncing through the desert as it is on Sheikh Zayed Road.

Motoring along the highway is like piloting a palace on wheels. Every whim and fancy is taken care of by some gadget to enhance the pleasure of driving this ‘king of the road.’ Sat behind the wheel, the driving position is magnificent. Placed above anything else on the road, safety aspects rarely enter your mind, being encased in the car’s rock solid body.

The gutsy engine makes every journey a dream. Hearing the roar as you fire the Land Cruiser up or go to overtake someone makes popping out for that bottle of milk you forgot worth it.

Inside, space is the overwhelming feature of the car. If you’ve got a large family, or just want loads of space for your small one, this is the car for you. The comfortable seats coax you into the car and the entertainment features, that can be mastered with only a couple of minutes familiarisation, will want to keep you there.

Overall, there’s nothing that can be said about the Land Cruiser that hasn’t been said a million times, but the 60th Anniversary edition manages to go above and beyond the norm.

Al-Futtaim Motors’ commemorative 60th Anniversary GXR-i range is available from Dhs205,000 while the VXR-i range starts at Dhs273,000.

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