“A car that enables people to go where they want, when they want, and to return safe and sound.” This simple line embodies the essence of what the Toyota Land Cruiser stands for. Beginning life in the early Fifties as Kiichiro Toyoda’s dream to build a reasonably priced vehicle with true go-anywhere capabilities, the Land Cruiser has cemented its place as a legend of off-roading in almost all the markets it has been introduced. Having played a big role in carrying the Toyota name to the rest of the world, the Land Cruiser has now hit the magic sales figure of 10 million units.

Considering its enduring success, it’s no wonder that updates are incremental. So the 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser announced by Al-Futtaim Toyota in the UAE isn’t drastically different from the previous year’s model. And we have it as our next long-term test car.

Other than a new interior trim and a new exterior colour option – Sparkling Black – which displays hues of purple under sunlight, the 2020 model also gets newly designed 20in aluminium wheels and has the Land Cruiser name etched into the front bumper.

Photo: Stefan Lindeque

Our test car is the GXR Grand Touring, a trim introduced in 2019 aimed at positioning the Land Cruiser as an off-roader that is equally adept at taking on the urban jungle. While the good old 5.7 VXR is still the flagship variant, this city-oriented trim based on the mid-level GXR grade is available with either a 4.0-litre V6 or a 4.6-litre V8 engine. Our tester comes equipped with the larger, eight-cylinder unit.

Over the next few weeks, we will be testing the GXR Grand Touring extensively, and bringing you periodic reports on how it fares in a relatively longer period than our usual test drives. Watch this space.