2013 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara V8 Diesel Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

A limousine that can take you to Cape York.

What’s Not

There are cheaper LandCruisers that can also take you to Cape York.

X Factor

The most expensive Toyota in Australia but packed with creature comforts and an effortless V8 diesel.

  • Country of Origin
  • Price
    $119,635 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    8 Cylinders
  • Output
    195 kW / 650 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic
  • ANCAP Rating
  • Airbags
    Side for 2nd Row Occupants (rear), Driver & Passenger (Dual), Knee Driver, Head for 2nd Row Seats, Knee Passenger, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 3rd Row Seats, Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
  • C02
    273 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    645 L
  • Towing (braked)
    3500 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Trevor Collett | May 26, 2013 | 36 Comments


Vehicle Style: Large SUV
Price: $119,990 (plus on-roads)
Engine / trans: 4.5 litre twin-turbo V8 diesel / 6spd sports auto
Power / torque: 195kW @ 3400 RPM / 650Nm @ 1600 RPM
Fuel Economy claimed: 10.3 lt/100km | tested: 13.6 lt/100km


Would anyone dispute the credentials of Toyota’s LandCruiser as an off-road vehicle?

With over half a century of R&D behind it, the LandCruiser range has rightfully built a reputation for tough-as-nails capability.

That’s not all. Get behind the wheel of the range-topping LandCruiser Sahara, and we don’t think anyone would dispute that this interior is an extremely pleasant place to be.

TMR was thrown the “keys” (or the small plastic box that passes for keys these days) to Toyota’s recently updated, giant, LandCruiser Sahara V8 twin-turbo diesel for a weekend on and off the bitumen.

Is it worth the extra money over the entry-level LandCruiser which, incidentally, has the same V8 diesel engine?

That’s what we set out to find out.


Quality: Toyota has made a special effort with the interior of its most expensive car in Australia. You’d describe it best as ‘sumptuous’.

There’s wood-grain finish to the steering wheel and centre console surrounds, leather seats and a quality fit and finish all-round.

It is also limousine-quiet... but with a difference. Plant the accelerator and you’ll be reminded with a deep rounded growl of what is nestled under the bonnet.

Our only gripe about the interior is the interior light switch in the front. It isn’t in an obvious location and is awkward to find.

Comfort: What do you get for all those extra dollars the Sahara demands? Comfort in spades.

There’s lashings of leather on the generously-wide heated and cooled electric seats (though they’re flatter than we like) with three memory settings for the driver, electric adjustable steering column, drinks chiller in the centre console, and two-way sun visors.

And, despite the acreage of space inside, the steering column automatically retracts as you turn the ignition off to ease entry and exit.

Equipment: The Sahara also comes with four-zone climate-control, cruise-control (but not radar-guided), moon-roof, sat-nav, Bluetooth, USB port, remote control DVD player with drop-down screen in the rear, keyless entry, several cameras and a centre console compartment capable of chilling drinks.

There is even a good old-fashioned cigarette lighter and ashtray!

Storage: Big? There are vast expanses of floor and cargo space - the back section alone offers 1276 litres of luggage space.

All of the rear seats are reasonably easy to fold down or remove but even with the second row of seats in place, the luggage area is still enormous. There are also ample cupholders and storage pockets.


Driveability: The engine is an obvious standout; a 4.5 litre, twin-turbo V8 diesel with 195kW of power. It is effortless on road, and capable of a surprising turn of speed.

Such is its grunt that towing - as attested by waves of nomads - barely taxes its power reserves.

The Sahara can easily trundle along at highway speeds in top gear, using the enormous 650Nm of torque to maintain momentum. It can, but sometimes, it doesn’t. We found the Sahara quite eager to kick-down a gear when it simply wasn’t necessary.

(You can overcome it by selecting “power” mode; then the transmission holds gears longer and is considerably more decisive.)

Toyota claims 10.3 l/100km, and our figure of 13.6 l/100km suggests that a sub-eleven fuel figure would certainly be possible when on the highway.

We must make mention here of the Sahara’s sheer size. It’s long, wide, heavy and tall, and on narrow multi-lane roads it pretty much consumes the entire lane.

If you step out of a small car and into this one, be prepared to allow some time to adjust. That said, it did pass the industry-standard “fast-food drive-thru” test, if only just.

Refinement: On the freeway, cruising along in sixth gear at low RPM is as relaxing as in any long-wheelbase sedan. There is minimal tyre noise and the V8 diesel is barely noticeable when not working hard.

Overall, despite that diesel in the nose and workhorse origins, noise, vibration and harshness, all those things that wear you down on a long drive, are very well damped

Suspension: The luxo Sahara has been set up with a preference for tarmac. It’s reasonably balanced on road and body-roll is not excessive, allowing for its size that is.

The steering doesn’t involve the workout that you may expect either. Although the steering wheel is proportional to the size of the car (large), you don’t get the feeling that you are driving a Kenworth.

But reverse into a parking space and you will notice every inch of that massive body. That’s when the numerous cameras come in handy.

Braking: The Sahara has 340mm ventilated discs on the front and 345mm ventilated discs on the rear.

The fact that the rear brakes are larger than the front gives you some idea of the effort required to bring the 2720Kg kerb weight under control (apart from the towing advantage it offers). But the brakes manage quite well, and the nose doesn’t dive too much under heavier braking.


We took the Sahara through grassy plains, creek crossings, over fallen branches and across moguls. At no point was the four-wheel-drive system seriously challenged.

Tackling a rocky climb is simply a matter of letting the V8 diesel idle up and over in first gear.

The width of the Sahara makes for a few tight spots when negotiating narrow tracks; the electric folding mirrors came in handy at that point.

In low-range 4WD, the Sahara gives the driver a choice of five driving modes; rock, rock and dirt, mogul, loose rock and finally mud and sand. Wherever you find yourself, it is effortless in either.


ANCAP rating: 5 Stars

Safety features: Standard features include ten airbags (including driver’s and front passenger’s knee airbags), ABS brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, traction and stability control, three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints for all seats, plus height-adjustable belts with pre-tensioners and load limiters for front seats


Warranty: Three years/100,000km

Service costs: All Landcruiser 200 Series models currently get capped-price servicing (capped at $210) for up to six standard scheduled services


Nissan Patrol Ti-L ($113,900 plus on-road costs). The top-of-the-range large Nissan SUV costs $6,000 less than the Sahara. It also gets an extra forward ratio, with a seven-speed automatic instead of six.

Like the Toyota, the Patrol comes well-equipped but the major difference – and it is significant – is it can only be bought with a 5.6 litre V8 petrol engine, with no diesel option. (see Patrol reviews)

Range Rover HSE ($143,569 / $168,900 plus on-road costs). Only the cheapest of the Range Rovers comes close to the price of the Sahara, but the RR stable is a benchmark in premium SUV motoring.

With this HSE spec, you will have to make-do with the twin-turbo V6 diesel, but it produces an impressive 600Nm of torque and combined fuel figure of just 7.5 lt/100Km. (see Range Rover reviews)

Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu ($91,490 plus on-road costs). There is every argument that the Sahara’s little bro’ in the Prado range will do the same job as the Sahara – but for $20,000 less.

Like the Sahara, it is chock-full of luxury and, despite a smaller diesel, has arguably even more ability off-road.

While the Kakadu is by no means small, it is at least smaller than the Sahara. (see Prado reviews)

Note: All prices are Manufacturer’s List Price unless stated otherwise and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs


A test drive of the LandCruiser Sahara will have you questioning how you ever did without a moon roof, chilled centre console and all of the other toys.

But all this luxury comes at a price. When it’s time to open the wallet, the question might easily become “what can I live without…” After all, the 200GX with the same potent V8 is nearly $40k less.

If your sole purpose is to go off-road, there are plenty of cheaper (and smaller) options than the Sahara that won’t make quite such a hole in the budget.

But for the best of everything in a very large and very powerful SUV – and you don’t want to spend Range Rover money – you will find Toyota’s Sahara most satisfactory.

At the wheel it makes you feel like king-of-the-road.

Pricing (excludes on-road costs)

  • LandCruiser 200 GX - 4.5 V8 Diesel - $78,990
  • LandCruiser 200 GXL - 4.6 V8 Petrol - $84,990
  • LandCruiser 200 GXL - 4.5 V8 Diesel - $89,990
  • LandCruiser 200 VX - 4.6 V8 Petrol - $95,990
  • LandCruiser 200 VX - 4.5 V8 Diesel - $100,990
  • LandCruiser 200 Sahara - 4.6 V8 Petrol - $114,990
  • LandCruiser 200 Sahara - 4.5 V8 Diesel - $119,990

Filed under: Featured, review, wagon, Toyota, diesel, turbodiesel, suv, 4wd, landcruiser, Toyota Landcruiser, Toyota Landcruiser 200, family, large, Advice, special-featured, 5door, 8cyl, toyota landcruiser 200 series, 7seat, available, upper large, 2013my, 115-120k, trevor collett

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  • The Truth Fairy says,
    2 years ago
    And if you need the starter motor looked at expect a huge bill, It is buried deep in the V under all the intake system, 6 hours labor plus parts.sad
    Oh and the design is such that water gets down into that same location!laugh
    • FrugalOne says,
      2 years ago
      And if you need the starter motor looked at expect a huge bill, It is buried deep in the V under all the intake system, 6 hours labor plus parts.sad
      Oh and the design is such that water gets down into that same location!laugh

      Be that as it may, better you NEVER need to replace it, and that it would work perfectly fine even under water completely

      • The Truth Fairy says,
        2 years ago
        They are already being replaced due to the design allowing water ingress.
        A set of injectors at 100,000, better have deep pockets for that also.
        • True Believer says,
          2 years ago
          I have 210,000 on my GXL with not one warranty issue, look after you equipment and it will look after you.
          It has spent one third of its time on dirt roads in central Qld, spare me the dribble!!
          • Francis Mugwanya says,
            10 months ago
            Would you be considering selling you GXL anytime soon. I am looking for an affordable GXL to use for Charity work on Uganda. My team and I drive to rural community for one week every month and we give away wheelchairs. Please let me know.
    • FrugalOne says,
      2 years ago
      The *REAL* best vehicle in the world, speaking of which when the world ends only cocroaches and these will be left on the planet biggrin
  • Chest Rockjaw says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    A big ugly lump... One for the off road crowd to appreciate.
  • Paul says,
    2 years ago
    I remember getting bogged to the axels going to work when I was an apprentis the farmers wife was revving the crap out of it I thought we would never get out ItDID !!! And it copped this abuse often in all conditions nothing else could do it last I herd it did over 650 000 kys and hardly touched 2nd to none .
  • mackson says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Looks luxurious but a bit too big for my liking, especially for the price.
  • matt says,
    2 years ago
    A 70 series LandCruiser Wagon is a lot cheaper and will get you to Cape York...
  • SamK says,
    2 years ago
    I know of two needing new engines in under 6 months...hmmm.
  • Pam Edwards says,
    2 years ago
    What is the most reliable Toyota Lancruiser turbo diesel with automatic transmission? Need one to tow a 2.5 ton off road caravan around Australia.
    • CAZZO says,
      2 years ago
      What is the most reliable Toyota Lancruiser turbo diesel with automatic transmission? Need one to tow a 2.5 ton off road caravan around Australia.

      Troop Carrier, man. tranny though, BULLETPROOF smile

      • Greg says,
        2 years ago
        1 like
        100 series is awesome diesel chipped and exhaust upgrade can't go wrong
        • Phill says,
          2 years ago
          1 like
          I have a 100 series japanese import . I love it , it's my everyday drove car . It is a Vx limited 101 series , 1HD 4.2 diesel turbo . I'm interested in finding out about chipping it and a different exhaust system . If you could give me some info that would be great .
          • bushwaker says,
            2 years ago
            You can get huge numbers f/ the FTE mate. 250k/w and 650n/nm upwards. Let me know how to contact you
  • Max says,
    2 years ago
    I own one of these amazing Sahara , and I love it.
    I use it for towing, and work, then give it a wash and its comes up like a limo.
    This is the most comfortable and reliable cars I have ever owned.
    The resale is excellent .
    Personally I would not even consider any thing else ,
    But the "king off road".
    • Richard says,
      2 years ago
      I also have the mighty Sahara TTDV8 but it also has a DPChip and TaipanXP 3inch mandrel bent exhaust and dyno tuned and wow std 195kw now 275kw 650nm now 1120nm its an absolute rocket even with my 3t van behind love it best vehicle ever
      • Nicky Barratt says,
        2 years ago
        Hi mate where did you get up grade work done looking at getting mine hoted up soon as warinty runs out I'm towing a 3.5 ton boat round with mine and hoping in hoting it up gives better fuel consumption
        • Nicky Barratt says,
          2 years ago
          1 like
          Has anyone els had trouble with front tyres scrubbing out big time on the out side ! I have had to have 4 rotations so far to get 32 k out of vx 200 2013 from new ! And the sterio I'm on my second one and the blue tooth still no good
          • Raymond & Jackie says,
            2 years ago
            Hi Nicky, We have a Sahara year 2010 first set front tyres 70,000 km, rear set 128,000 km no rotating of tyres and never used spare.

            Had new tyres the same put on front & wheel a linement 20,000 km all over red red rover, gone completly on out side edge, back tyres still on there.

            Tyre company made all excuses under the sun, still cost me another new set tyres and they played with alinement tyres still kept wearing on out side, took it back couple times end up giving up took it to another & spoke with mate who is manger of tyre business in Darwin set wheel a linement back to factory settings slow wear right down. Will not know how good it all is till that set of tyres are worn out.
            Was all so told must keep tyre pressure up around 40 to 42 psi in front due to weight of the V8 motor.

            Do not like the I dear of rotating tyres

            Sahara all but 4 years old no other problems only fuel filter & that was dirty fuel.

            Regards Raymond & Jackie
          • Rob Champion says,
            2 years ago
            1 like
            Hi Nicky, yes mate I find that the LHF scrubs on the outer edge. I have had 3 rotations and whelk alignments in 30k. I am constantly being told that all wheel drive vehicles do it. The Bluetooth has issues connecting at times and the hands free is hard for other people to hear, this may be weak signal from carrier? But if you disconnect and go to handset all is good? Just discovered that at 30.3k oil is down to halfway on the dipstick, hasn't used a drop till now?
  • neil bradley says,
    2 years ago
    the latest sahara is the worst model yet, and i have had every model since 78,
    the latest sahara sucks dust like a $200 bomb,
    it also lets water in up through the drain holes in the doors and into the car through the speakers, i have never had these problems before even after driving through many km's of bonnet deep water, and living 130 klm from the nearest bitumen have never had the dust problem in any other model, also the fog lights keep falling out, there is no seat memory either, i would not reccomend this model to any one.
    • bushwaker says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      Now there s a man who uses it for what its built for. I agree with him on the dust and water issues 100%. A lot of people who are driving these trucks are no longer using them for offroad. A trip down the beach or gravel/dirt track now and again is not "Offroad."
    • Bear says,
      8 months ago
      1 like
      There is a seat memory setting in fact 3, the vehicle does not suck dust. Fog lights do not fall out of the bull bar fitted, which I suggest you would have being such a bushie and all... Best car I have ever owned, but I probably like the 100 series sahara better as the suspension settings were manualised for dampner and height. Sahara 2014 is a bit disappointing due to the change in active suspension levelling feature. But we love the steadfast road handling only offered in the Land Cruiser range. Unbelievable presence on the road, safe for country areas being a fair risk of having to put one wheel into the dirt when meeting another vehicle on single roads. Bloody love that I can afford for my wife and daughter to ride in this beast )& in comfort!! Lots of good additions especially the front seat aircon. Cheers, Bear
  • Philippe richard says,
    2 years ago
    Just buy a 2013 landcruiser and it can't read a DVD I hear the sound but I can't see the image
    Thank you for your hel
  • Dasha hall says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    smileAm on my 2nd GXL no problems at all uses a bit of oil but so what oil is cheap ,had 4 GU patrols previous, they were tough but rough as guts to ride in the cruiser is so quiet I can hear the digital clock with the 4.5 motor
  • Bartly Kelly says,
    1 year ago
    I'd dispute its credentials, 30 odd thousand in repairs!!!! Toyotas answer, oh well its out of warranty.. don't keep them past the warranty period. cheers
    • Jamie says,
      1 year ago
      Took my GXL 200 (134k on the clock) to dealer with eng light on, they said it needs injectors, they fit new injectors, eng light on again, took it back to them, after a week they ring to tell me engine has seized WTF? Claim no fault of their own. Cost me 20k for exchange engine. Should have done my research. Going back to 100series 1HDT
  • NEIL says,
    1 year ago
    You can only get a trip computer in the VX or SAHARA models. This sad FACT is never mentioned by the reviewers. WHY?
  • Kevin says,
    11 months ago
    1 like
    I have a 200 Series GLX TD from new 157K turbo needed to be replaced
    Dealer wanted 7K to repair so I found a 2nd Hand with 40k on it and had the local Mechanic do the job for a total of $1800 including a full service.
    Had quite a few warranty issues from steering wheel replacement(needs replacing again)now have 192K no more problems other than oil use.
  • Peer says,
    9 months ago
    1 like
    I just did a trip from Victoria to Broome WA and return.Most of the trip was on bitumen with just under 400 ks on dirt.The big 200 didnt miss a beat with 40 degrees plus outside for most of the trip. The climate control worked a treat.
    • Mr.Truth says,
      8 months ago
      U will find that 99.94% of the vehicles on the Aussie market would have the exact same result of your trip..
  • A says,
    8 months ago
    It looks horrible! The front end reminds me of a pig with lip stick!
  • Richard says,
    5 months ago
    Has any one noticed a significant drop in oil pressure at cruising speed after the vehicle has 140000kms. My oil pressure guage used to run just below the half way point now it's down to just below the quarter mark. The vehicle is regularly services and looked after.
    • JB says,
      3 months ago
      1 like
      My 2008 yr VDJ series now has 328,000 on the clock and no issues of any type. It tows 3.5 tonnes weekly and is the best 4WD i have ever owned.
      Interesting reading the rubbish scam material that is written here though.
      The oil pressure is ok as long as you are not using cheap oil.
      I have used CJ4 grade since new due to its low ash deposits but it is not cheap, $7.00 per litre.
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