Being an avid Toyota Land Cruiser enthusiast and owner, he gives us a tour of the Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in South Lake City, Utah. “That one looks a lot like a Hummer, but I assure you, it is not a Hummer” – Chris reassures us.
It’s a product of the early 1990s Japanese Bubble economy. However, it was produced in many small quantities, for Japan only. Around 3,000 were made and like the Hummer H1, the Mega Cruiser was based on military transport. In this case, it was the BXD-10 Mega Cruiser – a bare-bone military version of the car. Just as the HUMVEE served the American Army, the BXD-10 served the Japanese Defense Force.
Toyota saw a potential appeal to the general public and produced the civilian version, dubbed the BXD-20 Mega Cruiser.
It did not prove very popular due to heavy taxation, due to Japan’s strict dimension and road tax regulations. Only 149 Civilian Mega Cruisers were built.
The big 4X4 was intended to be a testbed for future 4X4 tech that would eventually be put into other Toyota models, like the Land Cruiser.
Unlike the Hummer, the front hood doesn’t feature vents and is made of fiberglass. The front bumper centerpiece is metal, while the side extensions are plastic. The three windshield washers later made an appearance on the FJ Cruiser.
It’s powered by a 4.1-liter 15B-FTE inline-four turbodiesel, making 153 horsepower and 282 pound-feet (382 Nm). It’s mated to a four-speed Aisin automatic gearbox.
|Engine||4.1-liter 15B-FTE inline-four turbodiesel|
|Transmission||four-speed Aisin automatic|
|Weight||6,283 pounds (2,850 kg)|
The Mega Cruiser features more clever engineering, such as front and rear independent suspension, inboard brakes, and portal axles. Unlike the Hummer, the Mega Cruiser has four-wheel steering. A secondary steering rack allows the rear wheels to spin in the opposite direction, during low-speed maneuvering, in order to improve turning radius.
Inside, it’s a typical 1990s Toyota, featuring many bits from the 80-series Land Cruiser. The gear-shift knob, the transfer-case knob, the window switches, and many others came straight from there. In addition, you get a wide transmission tunnel and a shallow dashboard, just like in the Hummer. However, the second row can easily seat four people – something the Hummer cannot do.
In addition to the massive cargo area, the Mega Cruiser also has a retractable rear side step and a bespoke roof rack that was optional.
In addition, two rooftops were available – a standard and an optional high roof.
The biggest road-legal right-hand-drive car ever made. Chris describes the oddity of sitting as far to the right as possible while retraining your brain. As someone who has experienced that, let me tell you, it takes some getting used to.
“It can get you up to highway speeds, but it’ll take a minute…literally”. By the way, the curb weight is a staggering 6,283 pounds (2,850 kg). Of course, no one would dare complain about your “leisurely pace”, as you can easily run them over.
More refined than a Hummer. This might surprise you, but the civilian Mega Cruiser feels more like a Toyota than a clunky military vehicle. It feels solid.
In conclusion, Chris says “This thing, while bizarre and unique by any standard, was completely passable as a means of everyday transportation”.
Of course, check out the video, if you want to see the Mega Cruiser in action, and if you happen to be near the Land Cruiser museum, have a peek. Do you think the Toyota Mega Cruiser is more awesome than the Hummer H1?
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