The ideal blokes' loo is blessed with a first-class selection of old Commando Picture Library war comics. A rattling good read...
My favourite scene involves a duel 'twixt a burly British sergeant and a Panzer tank. Our hero bungs a grenade 250 yards straight into the open turret of the Hun, which promptly explodes. "Ach," reads the speech bubble emanating from the fireball, "we are hit!"
Almost as daft, however, is a portrait - fuelled with all the mid-Sixties, politically incorrect xenophobia the artist could muster - of the face of a particularly miffed Japanese officer mid-shout. And for an accurate impression of his teeth, look no further than the grille of the new Land Cruiser.
Now I've long argued that, rather than relying on European or American styling cues, Japanese manufacturers should imbue their cars with more homespun references. But this wasn't exactly what I had in mind...
Inspired by the success of their lifestyle-4x4-dressed-as-trendy-trainer, the Rav4, Toyota have meted out the same shiny happy treatment to the Land Cruiser. No matter that the Land Cruiser has a more workmanlike role to fulfil in the product line-up, as evinced by the decision to stick with a separate ladder chassis, now 60 per cent stiffer than its predecessor.
Predictably, then, headlamp glazing stretches unfeasibly far up the bonnet; eyelids stretched wider than Alex, the Clockwork Orange anti-hero, undergoing therapy. Trouble is, Toyota seems to have spent the entire lighting budget here, and the stern clusters are almost apologetically small. A severe case of water on the knee aside, the huge 4x4 remains largely unremarkable in profile. And the rear view is only enlivened by optional spare wheel placement: hung under the loadspace or worn as a badge of off-road office on the side-hung tailgate.
On board, a raft of hand-me-downs from jostle with high quality, well screwed together finishes to create an interior far too luxurious to mud-plugging in.
A rake-and-reach adjustable helm creates a vastly improved driving position and there's acres of space in the second row. Also every five-door comes with a third tier that folds forwards, then sideways onto the loadspace walls.
Specification levels, rated LC2 to LC5, are prodigious, even at base level. All cabins offer extensive electrics, air-bags, aircon, alloys and a CD player - the upper grades further seducing with cruise control, electric seats, a sunroof and ever more sophisticated stereos and satnav. Yet it's in the undercarriage department that equipment variation and option becomes most apparent: HAC, A-TRC, VSC, ABS, EBD, BA, TEMS, DAC... Sounds like someone who's inadvertently inhaled a fruit fly. In reality, this raft of acronyms appended to the top spec Land Cruiser I drove equips it with the off-roading equivalent of belt, braces and a cummerbund.
All models boast permanent four-wheel drive, dual ratio gearboxes and a locking, Torsen limited slip diff; really all you need to hang out with those who eat logs and stuff their pillows with gravel. But Toyota has added Active Traction Control, Electronically Modulated Suspension, Hill-start Assist Control and Downhill Assist Control; largely variations on an independent wheel braking theme guaranteed to ensure the car's still game long after the tyres have thrown in the towel.
Save, then, for the odd piece of trim pinging free on an encouragingly severe off-road course, the Toyota will undoubtedly never whinge or burst, and will, in great comfort, take you places you'll never, ever want to go. You'll pay the price for this ability, however, on tarmac.
That, and a helm about as informative as President Tony's press office, I can accept. The ride is another matter. Fantastic on smooth surfaces courtesy of the ladder chassis' insulating qualities, the car's poise tumbles all too readily over undulations, body control disintegrating like that of man with a scorpion dropped down the back of his neck. Dialling in the stoutest of four damper settings which, along with air suspension astern comprise the Electronic Modulated Suspension system, does help stabilise the body more quickly during turn in, but seems to offer little relief to the car's St Vitus afflictions elsewhere.
Toyota cites its enviable reputation for ruggedness and reliability in some of the world's most hostile environments as justification for retaining this tarmac control-compromising construction. However, with electrics increasingly substituting for mechanical elasticity off-road, there is no getting over the burgeoning dominance of road manners in the SUV recipe book. And, Defender aside, the last off-roader off the ladder chassis is liable to be a very rotten egg indeed.