"Taking on Namibia in the Toyota Land Cruiser"
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Taking on Namibia in the Toyota Land Cruiser
The Wilis Jeep has got a lot to answer for an [INAUDIBLE] motive terms, when that car was being shipped off by the American military all across the world, inspired a new type of vehicle.
And in the UK, we got the Land Rover, and from that, the Defender And in Japan, Toyota gave us the land cruiser and it's been going since 1951.
It's Toyota's longest running model and it's been refreshed, so, went to go out to drive it.
And where are you going to drive it?
Somewhere challenging, somewhere exotic.
Something that's going to push the car.
So we're like, the Namibia.
So it's too long, long flights to get there.
First, to South Africa, and then another jump over to Namibia.
Namibia's a country on the west coast of Africa.
It's used to be part of South Africa.
It's an amazing place.
I've been there once before, and it was an incredible experience.
I'm so glad to be going back.
And I already knew that The environment there is challenging for a car.
There are paved roads, but if you wanna go anywhere interesting, you're gonna be driving on dirt, on rocks, through river beds.
If it's wet enough in mud and water, so there's enough there to challenge a car.
What's great about the Land Cruisers that where's everyone else is creating issue.
These are people are never gonna get their cars muddy.
The Land Cruisers still that wheel original spirit of a 4x4 really there's this element to it and there's comfort to it but this car gets sold and droves to NGOs and the United Nations.
It might not be as popular in the UK But all across the world in developing nations you see tons of these things just going anywhere they need to.
So there maybe was a prefect place to go and test the car.
The car we had out there was a 2.8 liter diesel, 4 cylinder with 177 horsepower and 331 [UNKNOWN] pounds of torque.
It is a body on chassis construction which is now a 11 percent stiffer.
There's double wishbone suspension at the front Four links set up at the rear.
There's a center locking differential and a lockable rear differential.
After two flights to get there through, it would seem that my luggage had not caught up with me so I was there wearing the clothes that I had been wearing in an overnight Flight to Namibia.
Doesn't necessarily put you in the best mindset to get anything done that day, but we jump straight in the car and head out to the coast.
A sandy beach is a great, first test of any off-road capable car.
You quickly catch how anything that is pretending to have off-road capability and are those not the most challenging environment?
If you don't know what you're doing, you are going to get stuck.
And the thing about the Namibian Coast is you're in Africa.
You think of that as a, especially southern Africa, as a warm deserty place.
And the desert does stretch our as far as the eye can see.
But it is a stormy coast with gray stormy skies, wind racing in off the coast, and choppy seas.
And just it felt such an invigorating place to drive a car.
It was amazing fun, and we drove downwards called the skeleton coast to the shipwreck of a fishing trolled that crashed off from the coast ten years ago.
And it just felt like this perfect summing up of what the car can do.
This place, Namibia, it can swallow ships whole and destroy these huge vessels.
But the Land Cruiser can just plow through.
Now the rest of the day was just getting to our campsite where we go to enjoy sleeping on the coast and it was cold.
I was expecting Africa at the height of their summer.
To be a hot place, but it was pretty chilly.
Poor me, I know.
But after a nice night around the campfire, keeping warm, having a drink or two, we were set up for the next day.
Then the next day, after some very nice people went out and bought me some clean clothes and underwear, and some toothpaste, We were set up for a proper day of off-roading.
Our first trip took us to a seal colony.
It's not necessarily the best test of the car, but it was interesting to know exactly the full breadth of locations that we could be taken to.
After a very Noisy and smelly session getting to know some very passive aggressive seals, it was time to really hit the road, or rather, get off road.
Over time the the terrain got less and less like a road and it became harder and harder to distinguish between what was road and what was simply the rest of the desert.
And as all signs of civilization Faded out into nothing.
We are presenting car with more and more challenging environments.
The terrain got more and more rocky.and gravelly and it ascended into absolutely mountain climbing with a car.
There are a bunch of different off road futures that the car has to enable, to make it easier for you to be able to drive off road And as much as I like taking something with no driver aids and challenging myself as a driver to really push your car.
In a practical sense, if you are actually using this as a tool to get essential supplies to somewhere, we guarantee you can get to your destination.
These systems can help you achieve things you might not be able to do on your own.
The crawl control that the car is featured with is like off road cruise control, you can dial in the speed from a dial on the console and it will figure out the traction.
You literally just point it in the direction you want to go and it will spin the wheels carefully, trying to find traction and as if by magic it's actual technical witchcraft it get you up that hill.
We've come so far with driver aids now and it's not just all focused on Moto A and self breaking and autonomous driving.
This is a incredibly complicated, off road traction finding system that got us ups some incredibly tricky environments.
We spent hours climbing over rocks and going through river beds, dry and wet, through sand and gravel.
And nothing we threw at the Land Cruiser could hold it back.
There were some other people who got stuck.
You still need a modicum of driving ability, and I'm happy to say that I didn't get stuck, I promise.
But it was refreshing to have an off-road car that was genuinely focused on off-roading, rather than something that pays lip service to it.
Namibia is a brilliant testing ground for an off-road car.
There's every conceivable type of environment to push the car to its limits.
From the baking heat to Namib desert where we encountered temperatures as high as 40 degrees to the, Almost freezing cold coast where the air was damp with the sea spray being whipped up around us.
From rocky inclines, where one wrong turn could put you down a cliff, down to mile long straights down featureless desert plateaus.
The country is as raw and as untouched as you can imagine in places.
And without a car that can get you safely in and out of these areas, you'd be absolutely screwed.
And quite quickly we realized that the Land Cruiser genuinely was a. The car that we could entrust ourselves to.
Looks-wise, Land Cruiser is not my cup of tea.
And although it has some nice refreshing elements to the design, around the back end and the light clusters, it's not the most attractive car on the road.
It's not going to be troubling your Cayennes, your Bentaygas, or even your Q7s in the looks department And on the interior, the features, there's plenty of them, but they are all focused towards it being a capable off-road car.
This is really a tool of a car, and what it's good at, it's excellent at.
It's not opposing vehicle, it is a doing car.
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