You push a button to fire up the four-cylinder in-line 16-valve 2,755cc turbodiesel engine, assuming you have the key fob present (it’s not an arrangement the writer is especially keen on). It’s a big engine for the size of vehicle.
Maximum power kicks in at 3,400rpm while top torque of 420Nm makes its presence felt across a 1,400-2,600rpm plateau.
The AdBlue top-up point is under the bonnet, which is supported by a pair of gas-filled struts.
The engine is married to a six-speed manual gearbox. Four-wheel drive is permanently engaged and you twist a knob to switch to a low-ratio set of gears if required. A Torsen limited-slip diff is fitted as well.
Strong acceleration and sharper handling than you might expect from a 4x4 with a comparatively high centre of gravity are among the Utility Commercial’s plus points. It feels solidly planted on the highway, which gives the driver confidence. It rides acceptably too, coping with everything from country lanes to pot-holed A- and B-roads without complaint.
Slightly tighter rack-and-pinion steering would be appreciated though, as would a crisper gear change, and while it would be wrong to describe the cab interior as noisy, a bit more sound-deadening would be welcome.
Turning through a farm gate and beginning to squelch across a field before tackling a steep, slippery embankment, we quickly discovered that the Utility Commercial was more than capable of coping with muddy and uneven terrain. Before we ascended the embankment we engaged the lower ratio gears, but it probably wasn’t necessary – the Toyota would doubtless have lumbered up the slope in high ratio. After that we crossed an even soggier field before trundling down a deeply-potholed farm track – all conditions that the off-roading load-lugger might encounter during the course of a busy working day.
We’re happy to report that it coped with the lot without breathing hard. Ground clearance is 205mm with a wading depth of 700mm.
During our off-road pottering we encountered the odd boulder or two. As we slithered over them we recalled that the Land Cruiser’s front and rear bumpers and its ladder-frame cross-member have been designed to slide across obstacles.
Some off-roaders have box-shaped cross-members that can get caught on obstructions, bringing the vehicle to a juddering and unwelcome halt, with damage potentially done. The Utility Commercial’s slanted cross member is shaped in such a way that it slips over such hazards.