Here in the United States, the coolest Toyota Land Cruiser you can buy new is the 200-Series Heritage Edition. This version of the mighty 4x4 has nice wheels, some decorative treatments inside, and black leather seats. The United Arab Emirates has its own version, with a manual transmission and cloth(!) interior.
My lukewarm take on leather seats is that they’re a false luxury. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and not conducive to driving shirtless. Who doesn’t love a nice cruise, windows down, breeze rustling chest hair, left arm getting a nice tan all the way up to your shoulder for once... But try that with leather and you’re going to have to peel yourself off your seat like an old decal on your back window. The indignity!
Anyway, public partial nudity isn’t big in Arab culture so my complaint was probably not a driving force behind the decision to put cloth seats in Toyota’s UAE version of the Heritage Edition Land Cruiser.
But they do look really cool and comfortable and fit better with the classic Cruiser ethos of utilitarianism. The Arabian Heritage Land Cruiser’s other features of significance are also sweet: Factory air compressor, excellent retro-looking stripes, and two engine options: a 4.0-liter V6 with a manual transmission or a 4.6-liter V8 with a six-speed automatic. The U.S.-market 200-Series only runs one engine: Toyota’s ubiquitous and robust, but thirsty, 5.7-liter V8. And of course, all U.S.-spec cars are two-pedal autos.
We also only get one Cruiser tailgate option stateside: Horizontal splitting. As you can see in these pictures, the UAE truck has barn doors on the back with a swing-out rear tire carrier. I’m sorry that the pictures are a little fuzzy; these are straight from the Toyota.ae website but they appear to be scans of a printed brochure. Huh.
I’m not sure how many readers we have in the UAE, but if you’re one of them, the V6 lists at AED 169,900 (about $46,250) and the V8 starts at AED 224,900 (about $61,250). Both cheaper than the U.S. truck, which will sting you a hair under $90,000.
Hat tip to the Facebook group Every Car Is Better With Steel Wheels!