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All Hail The King Of The Namib

Shhh! Do you hear that? That deep, thunder-like growl rolling across the Namib desert? Can you see where it’s coming from? No? Is it coming at you from all sides? Yes? Well, chances are that you are likely in the belly of the beast. Or, rather, stuck behind the wheel of (or at the very least a passenger in) the new Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Namib. Yes, that’s right, a car named after the spectacular Namibian landscape.

Land Cruiser afficionados might think they know what to expect from this latest iteration, and for the most part they would be correct. Over the decades Toyota has made very few mechanical changes to its Land Cruiser range. Although there has been increases in power output and safety features, the 4.5L behemoth V8-engine is like that old friend who hasn’t changed a day over the years. Previous editions of the Land Cruiser had a lot in common: they chugged fuel like someone who hasn’t had anything to drink for days, they treated off-road driving conditions like it was a flat piece of tar road, driving on a tar road (especially in urban traffic) felt like sitting on one of those automated rodeo bulls, and describing one’s appearance is like kissing your sister (or brother) – the less said about it, the better!

However, because the Namib is such a special place, it calls for some special treatment. Toyota made some changes that might not be readily visible if you take a quick look at the car. Closer inspection will reveal that the tyres are slightly bigger than usual. The new Cooper off-road tyres (Discoverer S/T Maxx) allows for additional deflation due to its increased air volume. Driving on tar roads, you’ll experience another change. The addition of an aftermarket suspension kit smooths out the expected bumpy ride with its greater ability to absorb the shocks of the road. The interior is also slightly different. The seats are made of sturdier material that won’t wear out as quickly. The cooling system as also been improved with air vents near the center-console. Keeping that area cool means drinks and other temperature sensitive items don’t go to waste. Keep in mind as well that the majority of Land Cruisers in Namibia are used the farming, mining and tourism industries – in other words, lots of time spent in cars, in the sun…hot, thirsty work.

One thing you will not find in the Namib Land Cruiser (or any other Land Cruiser for that matter) is any type of off-road driving assistance. Off-road driving with a Land Cruiser is an exercise in self-application and learning from past experiences. If you feel you might require some technological assistance with traversing difficult terrain, then you had best look elsewhere in the market for a 4x4 that is willing to sacrifice some of its power and muscle for comfort and finesse.

If you feel like this car is speaking your personal language, and you don’t mind choosing between Ivory White and Sandy Beige, then make an appointment with your bank manager. A double-cab Namib will cost you N$930 000, or NS860 000 for a single-cab. Also, Toyota South Africa is only manufacturing a limited run – the first batch of 60 were sold out by January 2020 – with TSA promising to produce a few more units later in the year. Chances are good they’ll be going like hot cakes at the bazaar.

Should the price be a deterrent, but you still want to have the Land Cruiser experience, you can find an older model on the second hand market. These cars are built to last, so much so that there is now a different reason to own one. As mentioned in a previous article there is a company in Namibia that specialises in converting Land Cruisers into Electronic Vehicles. Getting an older model now might save you some money, but also set you up nicely for when the time comes to switch over from fossil fuels to electricity.

See you in the Namib!

Published on 19.08.2020 by NamCars.net

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