In Summary
  • Many aspire to owning a “V8” Land Cruiser as a symbol of actualisation, but would you know, the Tahoe is actually more comfortable. Part of it is its construction, part of it is its image.

  • That floaty, disconnected feel that compromises drivability gives a boost to comfort levels. In a Land Cruiser, it feels like you are in a motor vehicle.

Baraza,

First, thank you for your educative column, which has been an eye-opener to many aspiring car buyers. I have a number of questions.

Compare the 2018/2019 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2018/2019 Toyota Land Cruiser V8 in terms of their base model prices, availability of the Tahoe spare parts here in Kenya, handling, reliability and comfort.

With a budget of Sh10 million, would it be weird to buy a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser J70 series, five-door troop carrier (a vehicle I love so much) as a private car instead of a Land Rover Discovery 3 or 4, a vehicle I believe is better than the Land Cruiser in almost every aspect apart from being one of the vehicles with very low reliability indexes and high maintenance costs? What about a Volkswagen Touareg or a BMW X5 or a Range Rover Sport.

I miss the tough look of the Land Rover Discovery 3 and 4. It was so commanding. The new Land Rover Discovery looks more like a sedan than a proper large-size SUV: Why do you think Jaguar Land Rover Inc is making every Land Rover model look like a Range Rover. Isn't that too monotonous?

James, Busia

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser. PHOTO | COURTESY

Hello James,

1. Since the Chevrolet Tahoe is a USDM (United States Domestic Market) vehicle, I will give the price in dollars. The Tahoe starts at about $48,000 (about Sh5 million) for the newest entry-level model, which is a 5.3-litre Vortec petrol V8 in basic LS spec with 355hp and a six-speed semiautomatic. There is a more expensive 6.2 V8 that costs $65,700. In comparison, the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 V8 costs about $88,000 (about Sh9.2 million) in Heritage Edition spec, but this comes with a lot of retro badging and BBS wheels along with a market-specific 381hp 5.7-litre petrol V8 mated to an eight-speed auto and not the 4.5-litre twin turbo diesel V8 that is sold locally, or the more common 4.6-litre petrol V8 that is imported by a lot of rich people. Please note that the LC200 costs somewhere between Sh20 million and Sh25 million for a zero-mileage, non-Heritage example, so you can use that as a yardstick to translate the Tahoe’s dollar costing into more familiar currency.

Spares: Well, don’t expect to find any Tahoe spares around here for obvious reasons (USDM), so the internet is your friend. Happy trawling. I need not talk about Toyota spares, they are ubiquitous to the point you may find them on sale at a kiosk in the Northern Frontier District. Again, stating the obvious here...

Handling: This is an interesting one because I have not driven a Tahoe but I have ridden in one a few times. It loses out in drivability to the Land Cruiser though it has 2WD as an available option because while the 2WD may handle better in real life, the platform (which it shares with the Cadillac Escalade) is engineered to provide a floaty, disconnected feedback compared to the Land Cruiser. Not that the Land Cruiser is a Lotus Elise in nature, it too is an over-servoed, over-damped, overweight steel sculpture, but the Tahoe is slightly worse in this regard. The Tahoe wins, but only because of the 2WD and only for drivers with above-average talent.

(Now that we are stating the obvious, the Chevrolet Tahoe will hang up its boots long before the Toyota Land Cruiser even starts breathing heavily when both are taken off the tarmacadam.)

Reliability: Toyota Land Cruisers are often used in guerilla warfare and humanitarian missions. Chevrolet Tahoes are not. Go figure.

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