The big, shiny full-sized SUV is the kind of car that some Filipinos might associate with big politicians—congressmen, mayor, senators, the whole cabinet. Some followers of Top Gear Philippines' Facebook page certainly believe so. On October 23, the popular car page posted a link to their article about the launch of the refreshed Land Cruiser with the caption "Perfect timing for the 2016 elections," alluding to that type of car's perceived popularity with politicos:
The post led to a number of comments echoing the political slant of the Facebook post. Here are seven of those biting (and funny) remarks:
On the other hand, a number of commenters pointed out that just because a person drives a Land Cruiser doesn't automatically mean he's a "buwaya" as the comments above seem to say. Some also praised the car's high reliability and topnotch engineering.
What these big SUVs seem to have is a perception problem. Based on specs and looks, a gearhead—offroaders especially—won't find it hard to find something to love about the car under the spotlight here, the Land Cruiser. Unfortunately, these same features seem to attract a certain kind of politician too, hence the resulting social commentary seen on Top Gear's page.
Go past the car's political associations, however, and you'll see quite the marvelous product of Toyota engineering.
We saw it with our own eyes last October 22, when this year's refreshed model was officially launched at a media gathering at The Society Lounge in Makati. There the new Land Cruiser 200 premium variant (P4,845,000) and its tech features were highlighted. These include vehicle stability control (to keep the car from skidding); active traction control (which enhances traction by managing power distribution to the four wheels); multi-terrain select (which regulates wheel spin according to the type of terrain to prevent your car from getting stuck); and CRAWL control (which is a mode you can turn on to give the car control over the speed so that the driver can focus on the steering wheel when offroad.)
Performance-wise, it's powered by a massive 4.5-liter V8 engine capable of 232hp, and is fitted with a kind of body that allows it to cruise any type of landscape short of the moon's face with ease. It also comes with a take-your-breath-away P4,422,000 price tag—though for what it offers, the sum seems largely justifiable.
Outside, the car has more aggressive-looking headlights, standout taillights, and thick silver strips for a bolder-looking grille. Topgear.com.ph also says that it's bigger than ever. Simply put, you feel like you're getting what you're paying for with the prestigious Land Cruiser.
Have a look: