Oh what a feeling? It depends what you’re looking for…
To describe this conundrum of a vehicle, think 60s muscle car performance, and noise but with shaky topsy-turvy handling. Punching the throttle to that glorious vinyl floor gives off an intoxicating V8 turbo diesel roar, but you’ll quickly learn to rapidly slow for corners!
Fuel economy isn’t too bad for a vehicle of this size; mine returned a respectable 11.5L/100kms. The wagon variant, however has only one 80L tank.
As a tow horse, this vehicle shines. That V8 has plenty of punch, even with weight on the back.
However, it’s on long drives where this vehicle begins to graunch: flat, poorly supportive seats quickly tire the driver, a wide transmission tunnel encroaches into the drivers footwell and the bouncy ride (courtesy of the overly stiff rear leaf springs), doesn’t help endear this vehicle. Further, a surprisingly small rear cargo compartment limits what you can carry.
Offroad, this truck does well enough. A long bonnet does limit visibility and can hinder wheel placement decisions. Plenty of torque off idle and immense power does encourage a ‘foot-to-the-floor‘ driving style when traction starts to be lost though!
Maintenance of this bohemouth is an important consideration for any potential owner: after 100,000 kms, you are likely to need to replace all eight of those expensive Bosch injectors. Many internet reports also abound of gearbox failures, as Toyota never up-rated the box with the introduction of the brawny V8. The body is also susceptible to rust, particularly inside the chassis rails and wheel arches.
In summary, an ideal but uncomfortable towing vehicle, a limited overlander and a mediocre offroader that’s expensive to buy and maintain.