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Toyota hits the revision trail and revamps Land Cruiser

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Official pictures of the new Land Cruiser, which makes its world debut at this month's Paris motor show, have been released by Toyota.

The all-new sports utility vehicle, which replaces the Land Cruiser Colorado, will offer improved on-road capability as Toyota looks to compete against the new breed of SUVs like Volvo's new XC90 and BMW's X5, which have a more rewarding driving experience.

However, the company says this will not be at the expense of the vehicle's off-road ability - it retains the traditional 4x4 frame chassis and separate body construction for maximum rigidity and strength.

“We recognise that people have higher expectations of these vehicles' on-road dynamics. For many they are an alternative to an upmarket estate,” says a Toyota spokesman.

He adds that the company has improved perceived quality in the look and feel of the interior, which would be a major attraction for potential buyers. “It's much more car-like now.”

Toyota is confident the Land Cruiser will double the outgoing model's annual UK sales of 1300 units. It will be available in three and five-door body styles and two engine options.

The launch model, on sale in the UK from January, will be powered by Toyota's 3.0-litre D-4D common rail turbodiesel, carried over from the existing model. Available from March will be an all-new 4.0-litre V6 petrol unit, offering a top speed of 112mph and 0-62mph in 9.5 secs.

Prices will be announced later this year, but are expected to match the Land Rover Discovery (£21,995 to £34,490), making the Land Cruiser's starting price below the £23,800 Colorado.

Its bigger brother, the Amazon, gets a facelift next month, including new front bumper and redesigned grille. The 4.7-litre petrol V8 has a new five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission for better performance and fuel consumption. It also features a variable gear ratio steering system to improve feel and response.

A revised MR2 roadster goes on sale next month. Exterior changes are understood to be minimal, but standard equipment for the UK market will include vehicle stability control (VCS), traction control (TRC) and brake assist (BA).

During a busy month for Toyota dealers, a revised Celica coupe also becomes available in October. It features subtle exterior changes and more safety kit, including larger disc brakes, more responsive steering, as well as electronic stability, braking and traction controls.

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