Toyota Land Cruiser 100 was introduced in 1998 to replace the wildly popular Land Cruiser 80.
By this time the name Land Cruiser had earned a strong reputation worldwide for its high performance on bad roads, maneuverability, durability; and as one of the most reliable 4x4s available it had been selected by the United Nations procurement, as well as domestically and overseas for rescue operations, as a relay vehicle for satellite broadcasting, and as a prestige SUV.
For the wagon version a new 2UZ-FE-type V8 gasoline engine was developed, with 32 valves, a piston displacement of 4,663cc, 235PS and 43.0kgm in the specs. For the van model also a new 1HD-FTE-type diesel engine was developed, a 24-valve in-line 6-cylinder engine with a piston displacement of 4,163cc, an output of 205PS and 44.0kgm of torque. Both of these new engines were state-of-the-art power units engineered for low fuel consumption and low emissions.
The front suspension was a double wishbone type independent suspension, and with rack and pinion steering, the Land Cruiser 100 was designed to feel more like a passenger car than its heavy-duty predecessors. To further improve riding comfort and steering stability, hydraulic vehicle height adjustment (AHC) and Skyhook TEMS in the suspension were also made available as options, clearly aiming at improved performance on paved roads.
The interior was luxurious of course, with air-conditioning and an audio system befitting a luxury car.
In 1999, well-received systems like Active TRC (Traction Control System) and the vehicle stability system VSC were added to the 90-series Prado. Then in 2000, along with minor changes and improvements introduced, for theft prevention an engine immobilizer system and other security systems were added to all grades as standard equipment.
Though the Land Cruiser 100 continues to evolve on the path of the passenger car, there are still users overseas who drive it off-road. To meet these needs such as in Australia and other rugged environments, Toyota has created a Land Cruiser 105-series with rigid coil springs in the suspension. No matter how much it takes on the aura of luxury, the Land Cruiser is never far from its roots as an off-road vehicle.
The Land Cruiser 100-series has not only reached the top of the Land Cruiser series, but has actually come to represent the pinnacle of all off-road 4×4 vehicles, and is outfit with a full range of high-level mechanisms. Among these is AHC & Skyhook TEMS, truly the King of 4×4 systems. AHC stands for Active Height Control, which enables you to maintain a constant height of the vehicle, regardless of the load or number of passengers you are carrying. When driving off-road on ground with rough spots, the vehicle height can be raised to prevent the underside of the car from hitting or scraping the ground.
The Skyhook TEMS mechanism electronically adjusts the damping force of the shock absorbers appropriately according to ground conditions, and this system both makes for a more comfortable ride and improves handling stability. A soft suspension makes a more comfortable ride, but the problem is that it also tends to increase instability and feels unsettled. Stiff suspension settings provide more stability, but make the ride also feel stiff and unpleasant. Skyhook TEMS overcomes these respective limitations and gives you the best of both worlds.
The addition of a 2UZ-FE-type V8 gasoline engine was just right for a luxury 4×4. This engine was a scaled
up version of the 4-liter V8 1UZ-FE-type engine that Toyota used in its luxury passenger model the Celsior (known overseas as the Lexus LS400). For its installation in the Land Cruiser 100-series its aluminum alloy cylinder block was made more durable by using a steel compound. Moreover, the brake system was tuned, and the engine was modified to give it higher performance in the mid- to low rpm range, befitting the heavy body that the engine had to move.
For the diesel engine in the series, the 1HD-FT-type that had been used in the 80-series was given refinements, and a high-pressure compact electronically controlled direct-injection fuel pump and intercooler were added. Thus the 1HD-FTE-type engine was created, with improvements in power, fuel consumption, and emissions. Along with the direct-injection fuel pump, the injection nozzle was improved, which resulted in greatly reduced noise and vibration. The 2H-type engine had been used in the 60-series. This was the original predecessor of the 1HD-FTE-type engine that carried the Land Cruiser diesel engine into the next century.
The transfer lever extending from the center console is about the only thing that tells you this Land Cruiser 100 is a serious 4×4 and not a passenger car. It also has more luxury outfittings than the 80-series did. It comes with an option for a DVD navigation system with EMV (Electro Multi Vision) in the center panel.
The upper luxury grade comes with an option for genuine leather seats. The 100-series does not have overfenders, but the wide body means more space on the inside as well.
The chassis of the 100-series has independent suspension in the front, and a completely different structure from the 80-series with built-in collision safety features. However, the 100-series made for the Australian market (105) has rigid coil springs in both front and back, and uses the same chassis from the 80-series.
The double wishbone type front suspension is designed to improve both riding comfort and handling stability. The wheel stroke is not large, but the suspension has durability on a par with the rigid type.
The rear suspension is a 5-link rigid coil structure like that of the 80-series. Improvements in the position of the links made the ride more comfortable. There is also an option for differential lock on the rear axle.
The 4.7-liter V8 2UZ-FE-type gasoline engine is a scaled up version of the 1UZ-FE-type engine used for the Celsior (LS400). It boosts the most powerful engine specs of the entire line to date, with a maximum output of 235PS/4,800rpm, and a maximum torque of 43kgm/3,600rpm.
The 1HD-FT-type engine from the 80-series was upgraded to an electronically controlled 1HD-FTE-type, a turbo diesel engine with mostly improvements on emissions. It produces an output of 205PS/3,400rpm and a torque of 44kgm/1,800rpm.