It’s no big surprise that the new Toyota Land Cruiser would not only be a hit with off-road fans, because its design is definitely a hit. The clear references to the impressive history of the Japanese paired with off-road attributes and contemporary technology are currently more popular than ever. The German market will initially only receive 1,000 vehicles and this quota was exhausted faster than expected. When the digital order books opened at 8 a.m. on December 21st, they were closed after just 30 minutes. Sold out. Long faces on those who shortly afterwards ended up on the waiting list.

The success of the new Toyota Land Cruiser is not surprising, because not only does the look present a real off-road vehicle to the viewer, but the classic ladder frame construction also proves that the off-roader is a real pleasure to drive, especially off the beaten track. In conjunction with the new GA-F platform, which is intended to offer significantly better off-road mobility compared to the previous generation, the new frame is 50 percent stiffer and the combined body and frame rigidity is 30 percent higher. The so-called Crawl Control, an electronic limited-slip differential and the combination of multi-terrain and panoramic monitors are intended to ensure appropriate off-road qualities so that the driver can keep a clear view, especially in difficult terrain. The higher model variants offer additional features, including decoupling front stabilizer bars, which allow the driver to change the setting of the front stabilizer bar to improve handling on uneven roads while ensuring greater comfort. Depending on the market, the customer can choose between a 204 hp common rail diesel or a gasoline engine with a power range between 160 and 330 hp – also with hybrid technology.

But the new Toyota Land Cruiser is not the only modern off-road vehicle that is currently enjoying great popularity. Things have been no different with the Mercedes G-Class for many years, which has been repeatedly excluded from the order lists. The waiting times for particularly popular model variants are sometimes just under two years. And the Mercedes website also currently provides the following information: “The availability of the G-Class is currently limited. Due to production capacity, orders have also been temporarily stopped. You can get ongoing, up-to-date information from your local Mercedes-Benz dealer.” Even in the basic version of the moderately equipped G 400d, the Mercedes G-Class is anything but a bargain with a starting price of 118,256 euros. The 310 kW / 421 hp G 500 costs at least 130,200 euros and the particularly popular Mercedes AMG G63 with its 430 kW / 585 hp V8 twin turbo is at least 187,250 euros and is also a luxury model. The Mercedes G-Class also quickly became a legend after its presentation 45 years ago – equally popular with farmers, the army and the rich and beautiful – especially because of its indestructible image and angular design. The Mercedes G-Class will come onto the market as an electric model for the first time in 2024 and many interested parties can hardly wait.

The Land Rover Defender also benefits from its unique history, rumbling over hill and dale in the same league as the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mercedes G-Class. Even if the current generation has nothing in common with the old Defender, the narrow model – regardless of whether it has a short, normal or long wheelbase – appeals to those customers who are not looking for a soft crossover. The Defender is currently playing as a short 90s version with off-road desires and a decades-long history that began in 1948 and continues to this day. The Land Rover Defender no longer has anything technical in common with the aluminum squared timber of past decades and has long been using the latest technology. If desired, there are high-tech diesel, plug-in hybrids or a charismatic V8 petrol engine with 525 hp – for more than 120,000 euros. The Defender has also long since said goodbye to its ancestors in terms of price.

This also applies to the Ineos Grenadier as the legitimate successor to the original Defender. The car looks pretty much like the Land Rover Defender did 50 years ago: angular and rustic, practical in some ways, a little quirky in others. The British multimillionaire Jim Ratcliffe made his dream come true. Because the old Defender no longer existed and Land Rover didn’t want to sell him the discontinued production, Ratcliffe decided to build his own off-roader – the Ineos Grenadier. And because Ratcliffe didn’t build his fortune with the chemical giant Ineos through bad decisions, he first carefully examined whether there was a market for it. And lo and behold: it exists. For institutional buyers, but also for private customers.

The engines – whether diesel or petrol – come from BMW. Three liter displacement – as a diesel with 249 hp, as a petrol engine with 286 hp – ensures progress that drivers of classic off-road vehicles never dared to dream of. The German drive unit also does a perfect job in the Ineos. Whether you prefer diesel or petrol is entirely a matter of personal preference. “In Germany the distribution is currently almost exactly 50:50,” confirms Ineos European boss Klaus Hartmann. The substructure is befittingly rustic. It largely comes from Magna Steyr and therefore exactly from the people who once taught the Mercedes G to climb. And because good climbing properties were at the top of Ineos’ to-do list, the Grenadier doesn’t show any weaknesses. Its rigid axles allow for wild twists thanks to spring travel of almost 60 centimeters. Ground clearance, water resistance and what else – the off-roader built in the former Smart factory in Hambach achieves top values ​​everywhere. Three differential locks, a reduction gear and even more nice extras catapult it into the top line of the wish lists of adventurers and hermits. Ineos has now decided to put electric motors in its models – but that doesn’t change the rustic charm – fortunately.