Before the build
Other vehicles to consider
When it came time to replace the 100-series, the Land Cruiser 200 wasn't the only vehicle I considered. Here are the others, with some brief reasoning as to why they didn't find a home in my garage. No American or British vehicles came close to making the short list, primarily for reliability and parts availability reasons.
Toyota LandCruiser 76
The 76 shares the 200's fantastic 1VD-FTV V8 engine, albeit short a turbo and 45kW. But it was pretty quickly eliminated from my list because it didn't really improve on what I already had. It was less comfortable than my old 105, had less space, fewer safety features and had the same engine and gearbox. That's not to say the 76 wouldn't make a great tourer, but it wasn't the right vehicle for me.
I discounted the Prado for a few reasons. For my needs it's really too small. The
3.0 2.8 turbo-diesel propels the vehicle itself well enough, but it's underpowered compared to the 200 especially when towing. Finally, the LWB Prado has a towing capacity of only 2500kg. That's fine for a camper-trailer, but for anyone planning on towing a large off-road van, it just wouldn't cut it.
Nissan Patrol GU (Y61)
The GU is a good, almost bulletproof platform. But it's getting pretty long in the tooth and so suffers from vastly inferior dynamics and safety compared to the 200-series. The GU is much smaller inside as well, meaning either a roofrack or more gear in the trailer if I wanted to carry the same equipment as I would fit into a 200. By far the GU's biggest flaw however, is the lack of a decent turbo-diesel engine since the TD42 was retired.
Nissan Patrol Y62
Prior to release, the new Patrol held quite a lot of promise if you ignored the rumours that it wouldn't have a diesel engine option. Inexplicably though, Nissan did indeed release the vehicle without a diesel, despite having the excellent Nissan-Renault V9X TDV6 engine from the Navara/Pathfinder available to them. Even worse, they priced the premium-unleaded slurping Patrol several thousand dollars above the price of a turbo-diesel 200-series 'Cruiser. What were they thinking? is the term that comes to mind! The new Patrol seems to have been built with the huge American SUV market in mind, and has proven to be a sales disaster in Australia.
Update July 2016: In mid-2015, Nissan dropped the price of the Y62 by an incredible $25,000 across the range. This now makes the TI-spec Patrol around $20,000 cheaper than the GXL turbodiesel Land Cruiser. This marks a huge change in the value proposition of the two vehicles. If I were buying today, I would still likely opt for the 200 because I prefer the live rear axle and diesel engine. However, even with the thirsty petrol V8, the Y62 is now worth considering for many people, particularly if you're not towing.
Update February 2018: Despite the dramatic price cut, the Patrol remains highly unpopular in Australia, with the LandCruiser 200 outselling it by around 10-to-1. Unfortunately for Nissan, this vehicle class is widely used for towing large caravans, and with independent tests giving the TTD 200-series a 50% fuel economy advantage when towing a large van, Nissan will struggle to sell to that market while only offering the petrol V8.
While the Patrol's initial price advantage remains, there's enough resale data now to show that the initial saving is lost when the time comes to sell the vehicle.