Revealed to the world in June, the new Toyota Land Cruiser has gone on sale in its home market of Japan today, available in five variants and two engine choices. Known as the 300 Series, the sixth generation of the luxury-oriented “wagon” version replaces the 200 Series, which has been kicking around since 2007.

As previously reported, the new Land Cruiser rides on a new ladder frame version (GA-F) of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Utilising the latest welding techniques, the chassis is 20% stiffer than before and contributes to improved collision safety, refinement and ride quality.

Together with the increased use of high-strength steel and an aluminium bonnet, roof and door panels, the new construction also makes the car some 200 kg lighter. The Land Cruiser boasts an improved weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity as well, as the powertrain has been positioned 70 mm rearward and 28 mm downward. Toyota says that revisions have made for a better ride and reduced emissions.

While the front double wishbones and rear solid axle remains, the suspension has been redesigned, with the rear dampers repositioned for a more comfortable ride and increased steering stability. The suspension arms have also been relocated for greater wheel articulation and a more stable body posture even under braking. The available adaptive dampers feature a new linear solenoid to improve ride and stability.

Despite the all-new design, the Land Cruiser still uses hydraulic power steering, albeit with an optional electric steering actuator (an electro-hydraulic system, essentially). This allows for the fitment of lane centring assist and delivers increased low-speed manoeuvrability, reduced off-road kickback and sharper steering. The brake-by-wire system is also claimed to ensure that braking is more linear.

Other off-road-friendly features include an optional Torsen rear limited-slip differential, a Multi Terrain Select system (now operational in high-range four-wheel-drive mode) with Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock settings, a 360-degree Multi Terrain Monitor with a Land Rover-style underfloor view and a dedicated off-road information display in the 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen.

Aside from the new underpinnings, the Land Cruiser also receives twin-turbocharged V6 engines that replace the old V8s. The V35A-FTS 3.5 litre petrol mill is derived from the Lexus LS 500 and makes 415 PS at 5,200 rpm and 650 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 3,600 rpm, while the F33A-FTV 3.3 litre diesel is all new and gets optimised combustion chambers, intake ports and injectors, plus two-stage variable geometry turbos.

The result is 309 PS at 4,000 rpm and a whopping 700 Nm between 1,600 and 2,600 rpm. Both engines are mated to a Direct Shift ten-speed automatic gearbox with a wider lock-up range, smaller gear steps and a broader ratio spread, providing a smoother drive, increased high-speed fuel efficiency and improved starting acceleration and off-road performance.

Land Cruiser owners are typically a traditionalist bunch, so even though the new model rides on a brand new platform, it shares the same overall length, wheelbase and approach, departure and breakover angles as the previous 200 Series, retaining the old car’s manoeuvrability and off-road performance.

The basic proportions have also been retained, with a cab-backwards profile, a tall positioning of the headlights and grille and bumpers that are designed to provide optimum ground clearance. Instead of the rather meek look of the outgoing model, however, the new car has quite an extroverted design, with a much more aggressive and angular appearance.

At the front, the slim headlights are joined together by a prominent U-shaped air intake that runs underneath the large grille, giving the car a Stormtrooper-like aesthetic – especially when combined with the new Precious White Pearl paint. The tall bonnet also features a noticeable central channel, claimed to improve pedestrian safety as well as outward visibility.

Moving to the side of the car, you’ll find prominent squared-off fender bulges and an upswept window line that give the car a more dynamic look. The wing mirror posts have also been moved to the doors to improve aerodynamics, while the rear end is equipped with trapezoidal taillights.

Inside, the Land Cruiser benefits from a redesigned cabin that features a modern freestanding centre touchscreen, analogue gauges for ultimate clarity, a curved centre console and a tall transmission tunnel. The interior is said to have been designed with off-roading in mind – the horizontal upper dashboard, for example, allows the driver to easily assess the body’s attitude even in extreme circumstances.

The intuitive grouping of all controls – including the drive modes, air-conditioning, infotainment and off-road data – also allows for easier operation when driving off-road, while a single dial is responsible for selecting the drive modes, hill descent control and Crawl Control low-speed cruise control. The latter is positioned so that it can be used while viewing the centre screen.

But the Land Cruiser is also a flagship, so it comes with all the creature comforts that you’d expect, such as heated and ventilated seats on the first and second row, a Lexus-style two-sided opening centre armrest, an optional cooler box, Panasonic’s nanoe air ioniser, multiple user preferences and a hands-free powered tailgate. There’s also a Toyota-first a fingerprint reader on the starter button to authenticate the driver.

The company has also revised the seating layout to increase comfort, luggage space and collision protection, pushing the front seats rearwards and revamping the structure and positioning of the second and third rows. Toyota has also added a power-folding and unfolding function for the rearmost seats.

The redesign has allowed the Land Cruiser to receive the latest Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assists, including pedestrian, cyclist and oncoming vehicle detection for the autonomous emergency braking, low-speed AEB, pedal misapplication control, a door opening warning and car-to-x communication.

Aside from the standard variants, the Land Cruiser is also being offered for the first time with a GR Sport model, inspired by the Dakar Rally. In fact, Toyota is planning to participate in the 2023 edition with an entry based on this version of the Land Cruiser.

Designed to deliver even greater off-road capability, the GR Sport is differentiated by the unique honeycomb grille with the “Toyota” script, as well as redesigned front and rear bumpers with an unpainted black finish for even better approach and departure angles and increased durability. There are also smaller 18-inch Mud Grey aluminium wheels and rear mud guards.

Inside, the GR Sport comes with exclusive black or red leather upholstery, GR seat embroidery, machined carbon-weave steering wheel and dashboard trim and a unique start-up trim; you also get GR-badged keys. But the changes are not just skin-deep, with the car also gaining the world’s first Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (E-KDSS), which adds electronic control to the hydraulic cross-linked anti-roll bars. The front axle also receives a locking differential to join the rear.

Pricing for the petrol-powered Land Cruiser ranges from 5,100,000 yen (RM196,700) for the base GX to 7,700,000 yen (RM297,000) for the GR Sport. The diesel models are limited to the range-topping ZX and GR Sport trims, priced at 7,600,000 yen (RM293,200) and 8,000,000 yen (RM308,600) respectively.