Following on from last weeks sentimental article about the Volvo 240 I have decided this week to write about another big, boxy and practical lump – the Toyota Land Cruiser Colorado.
The above Colorado has been in the family since 1996 and is still in use today as my daily driver, the fact that the UN use Land Cruisers show just how tough they are. They are revered in the harshest of climates from the Arctic to the Australian outback. They truly are insanely tough machines and it is baffling to think that there are so few on UK roads.
A Land Rover Defender may be seen as the ultimate off-roader, although in my opinion, they are deeply flawed; they’re expensive, uncomfortable and slow whereas a Land Cruiser will get you to the same far-flung destination in comfort. The 3-litre turbo diesel packs some serious torque, acceleration may be slow but once the turbo kicks in it flies down the road at an alarming pace for such a big old brute.
At the time they did also sell the aptly named “Amazon” model (above) which was even bigger and came with the option of a fantastic V8 engine. Unfortunately, used versions do not represent great value as they command a premium over the Colorado and come with higher running costs. They did, however, come with more luxuries so those looking for more of a premium feel may want to look at the Amazon over the Colorado.
Used Colorado’s start at around £2000 for a high mileage workhorse and go up to about £5,500 for a good condition example with less than 100,000 miles. Other than fuel and road tax they are relatively cheap to maintain due to the availability of parts and its mechanical simplicity.
When buying a Land Cruiser it is worth going for the best example you can afford as many examples have led harder lives than their Chelsea Tractor rivals and I would also avoid “grey market” imports as they tend to lack service history and invoices. Fortunately, it is easy to tell if the car is an import straight away as Colorados were badged as “Prados” and the Amazons were badged as a Lexus.