Glorious Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4 RV ready to leave 2020 behind
The merging of two of the toughest "cruisers" on dry land is officially complete. Australian off-road RV builder EarthCruiser has completed its Toyota Land Cruiser "Extreme" (XTR). The new expedition rig combines the off-road capability and dependability of Toyota's world-renowned Land Cruiser 79 Series with a roomy, breezy three-sleeper composite living module built to support adventures that need not end. State-of-the-art digital technologies make it EarthCruiser's most advanced camper yet.
Back when we first heard word of the XTR during the initial pandemic-shutdown days of April, it was an absolute blast of fresh air – just the right product at just the right time. We hadn't even reached the "Summer of the RV" in the Northern Hemisphere yet, but it was already becoming quite clear that motorhomes and camping trailers would be the ticket to finding freedom and sanity through a cycle of illness, lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions.
And what type of RV could possibly be better for really getting away than a compact, maneuverable camper truck built atop one of the world's greatest go-anywhere 4x4 platforms? The XTR looked then like extreme social distancing and boundless travel freedom incarnate, and it still looks that way today. Its strong first impression was enough to earn it a place as one of our favorite truck campers of 2020.
The XTR250 is now complete and ready for order, and EarthCruiser has provided a much more comprehensive look than the few exterior mockups it had last go-around. The first thing to notice when looking at the complete XTR250 is the higher full-length pop-top that uses stout, vertical actuator lifts instead of the scissor lift EarthCruiser showed previously. The roof rises at the push of a button located just inside the entry door. The wraparound fabric below the roof includes far more screen windows, increasing ventilation and natural light.
The first step inside the XTR250's interior reveals EarthCruiser has remained true to the floor plan it showed earlier in the year, starting with the deconstructed wet bath right inside the doorway. This is an EarthCruiser staple designed to let muddied, bloodied adventurers clean off immediately upon entering, before tracking wilderness debris all over the living room.
The floor drain is positioned like a welcome mat, and a lower cubicle wall folds out from the side to surround the drain, revealing the slide-out toilet in the process. A wraparound shower curtain drops down out of a ceiling hatch, hooking up with that lower wall to finish off the shower stall. It's a pretty clever design that adds full wet bath capabilities to the XTR without eating up any permanent floor space.
Opposite the entryway, the L-shaped kitchen fills up the corner, packing an induction cooktop, sink, plenty of countertop and an under-counter fridge/freezer. XTR campers dine just forward from there, on a dual-bench dinette that converts over to a single bed. The 138 x 195-cm (54 x 76-in) double bed inside the alcove completes the three-person sleeping layout, making the XTR250 a nice option for small families or couples who occasionally venture out with guests. The top bed is accessed using a step that retracts away into the pillar next to the dining bench.
Between its simple, utilitarian Land Cruiser 79 base and its breezy pop-up camper design, the XTR250 looks like a rugged, low-tech vehicle. However, EarthCruiser has worked to make the model its most advanced build ever, turning it into a miniature smart home.
The brain of the XTR is the available FinScan command touchscreen over the driver-side dining bench. It delivers fast, one-stop control and monitoring of features all around the motorhome. Much like the Mercedes MBAC system, this one ties into the cockpit using a second FinScan touchscreen in the headliner to extend motorhome control to the cab.
In addition to the overhead FinScan touchscreen, EarthCruiser can upgrade the cab with an available infotainment touchscreen with preloaded Hema overland mapping and premium audio. Other available tech includes a 4G modem, cellular booster and reverse camera system.
Power for all the electronic and electric goodies comes stored in a 450-Ah lithium battery pack charged via 270 watts of solar (upgradeable to 540 watts), vehicle alternator and onboard battery charger. A 3,000-watt inverter distributes AC power out to the outdoor 240-V slide-out BBQ grill and other AC-hungry motorhome amenities.
XTR250 equipment and capacities include a diesel cabin heater, continuous hot water, outdoor shower, 80-L fresh water tank (upgradeable to 250 L), drinking water tap with filtration system, and optional air conditioner. Storage is available throughout in a series of exterior lockers and interior cabinets and cubbies.
The XTR250 can be built atop a Land Cruiser 79 Series pickup chassis with either single or dual cab. The truck's 202 hp and 317 lb-ft (430 Nm) of torque are delivered by the 4.5-liter turbo-diesel V8 engine and five-speed manual or available six-speed automatic.
EarthCruiser doesn't merely leave well enough alone with the Land Cruiser, adding in a modified suspension with parabolic rear springs and Bilstein shocks, beefing up the differential and clutch, and snapping on a snorkel. An upsized brake booster increases power at the front and rear ventilated discs by 30 percent, stopping the Black Bear Mud Terrain 285/75 R16 tires more confidently. Buyers can even add in optional portal axles for some real high-riding, ground-clearing fun.
EarthCruiser doesn't list pricing information, but the company estimated a base price of AU$240,000 (approx. US$183,000) when we spoke with it back in April. We've reached out to them to see if that's changed and will update if they provide revised pricing info. EarthCruiser is taking orders now and estimates build time at six to eight weeks.
Sadly, Toyota does not sell the Land Cruiser 79 Series in the US, so EarthCruiser won't be offering XTR250s through its US branch. EarthCruiser US is working on an American-market alcove truck camper, however. The US$275,000 Terranova shows a roof design similar to the XTR250 and will be compatible with popular US trucks like the 2020+ Ford F-350, Chevy Silverado 3500 and Ram 3500. Features similar to the XTR include a 400-Ah lithium battery, standard solar charging and stow-away toilet. We'll learn more about that one in 2021, when it's set to launch.
Source: EarthCruiser Australia