In a nail-biting finish, the durable Toyota workhorse finished a solitary vote ahead of the uber-comfortable and capable Volkswagen Amarok V6 (300 points to 299 respectively) to claim the award presented at the Virgin Australia Supercar Championship-sponsored Australian Motoring Awards.
Following an exhaustive test route – from Rob Emmins’ Melbourne 4x4 Training and Proving Ground to the varying undulations of the Victorian High Country – each vehicle was hammered to find its on- and off-road strengths and weaknesses.
All eight experienced judges compared each of the 4X4OTY finalists against a set list of criteria: value for money, breaking new ground (new tech or features), how well it is designed and built, how practical it is in the bush (what aftermarket enhancements are available) and doing the job it’s designed for.
When all was said and done, the scores were tallied (out of 400) and the Land Cruiser scraped through by the barest of margins.
While the Land Cruiser mightn’t raise the bar in terms of technology, safety or refinement, it’s still one of the most durable and capable vehicles on the market thanks in part to its brilliant V8 donk.
“Without doubt the best 4x4 in the group,” judge Matt Raudonikis said. Following the same sentiment, fellow judge Dean Mellor added: “It is without a doubt one of the most capable bush tourers on the market.”
Stay tuned tomorrow to read the full review and watch the video of 2017’s winning 4x4 of the Year. For complete coverage of the event, pick up a copy of the March edition of 4X4 Australia, in stores February 2.
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