Toyota in Wonderland

I updated my vehicle last year.  It was a big mistake I think. But at 17 years old, my trusty 1998 Nissan Patrol was showing her age. A few niggly things like the cruise control not working, heater core leaking, electric windows failing. The safety issue of the third child sitting across the 50/50 seat split with no headrest and a lap only seat belt. The bulletproof 4.5L petrol motor was still chugging along happily, but this year was shaping up to be a big driving year with trips all over Queensland on the cards, so a safer an more comfortable chariot was all too appealing.

I have been fascinated by the frustrating world of Toyota, where a vehicle that cost $70,000 new in 2007 didn’t get even get a 12v socket in the cargo area, a trip computer, seat height adjustment or steering wheel controls like our little 2005 Mazda. I am surprised it even had carpets. Anyway, luckily I paid less than half the new price for my second hand Landbarge, as it is a strange mix of luxury and bargain basement design & build.  The 4.7L v8 is a sweet motor, despite a penchant for swilling petrol at an often alarming rate. A bit like having an adorable old aunt who can sing a baby off to sleep , before having a bourbon sculling competition with a group of bikies.

Pretty much the roughest terrain that the supposed “King off the Road” can handle without modification.

My biggest mistake was getting Toyota to fit a cargo barrier sight unseen, thinking it would be designed like every other cargo barrier I have seen…..Wrong!

In their infinite wisdom. Toyota has assumes we are all quite dull and create a strap system to stop the third row seats from being lowered while the cargo barrier is fitted. I mean, who would even consider that? The seats won’t even fold down if the straps were not there due to limited space anyway!


We love to go camping, so our car is always packed to the roof with gear. This cargo barrier limited the space so much, it was simply  impractical for camping.  Unlike the Patrol.

So while the Patrol has often graced the pages of 4wd Touring Australia in travel stories I have written, the Toyota has not. To get the Toyota off-road ready has proved more expensive than I thought, so is still in progress.

The Patrol in its element. This track would have probably broken the Toyota.

Complaints to Mike Carney Toyota fell on deaf ears. “No, that’s our approved cargo barrier” blah blah. Thanks for nothing guys. An expensive cargo barrier that was essentially useless for touring.


So I tried to sell the cargo barrier. I have had dozens and dozens of  responses to this ad on Gumtree and Facebook, but strangely enough, nobody wants to buy it? I can’t understand why?

This is what I wrote;

Sick of that cavernous cargo area in your Toyota 200 series?
Want the practical space reduced to such a small, impractical size that a decent fridge won’t fit anymore?
Want a cargo barrier design that makes you and your friends laugh at its ridiculousness every time you see it?

Then look no further. I have a genuine Toyota cargo barrier for sale.

Allegedly designed by drunk Toyota engineers at the Christmas party just to annoy their customers, this design takes everything tried and tested by other cargo barriers designs over many years and tosses it out of those noisy electric windows.

While almost every other design on the planet keeps their top mounts high and out of the way to avoid both the curtain airbags and the cargo, Toyota has decided that all long distance travellers will definitely leave the third row seats in place just in case they are away so long, they return with more children that they left with, and will not mind two intrusive diagonal steel straps projecting into the cargo area beside the folded seats.

Unfortunately I bought it sight unseen from Mike Carney Toyota in Townsville, who will not refund my money, stating that this barrier is fit for purpose.

Well I guess in their defence, it is fit for most people’s purpose…..because I understand that 90% of 200 series Landcruisers are purchased for the ability of that stonking great V8 engine to carry the upper middle class suburbanites around town in superb comfort to their hair dressing appointments in between coffee shop sojourns and kale purchases. And the cargo barrier indeed suits this purpose very well. One would not want a shopping bag full of Kale and Nespresso capsules flying through the air as one brakes heavily to prevent the immaculate colour-coded winch bar striking the private schooled child prodigy leaping from their Lexus at their daily advanced calculus tutoring session.

As much as I would love to keep it for the entertainment value , I would like to actually attempt take my Landcruiser on long trips and maybe (surprisingly?) even off-road, so I do need to acquire a proper, functional cargo barrier so I can carry more than a Corolla. So I must regrettably sell this masterpiece to pay for a real one..

So if you would like to purchase for yourself a copy of what is perhaps the worst ever cargo barrier design in the world (although it was a closely fought competition with old Jim’s homemade barrier constructed of old security screen, VB tins and chicken wire) then feel free to purchase this fine piece of railway engineering.

It will come with the bolts, but you may need to buy a mounting kit, as I have no idea exactly how it is fixed. I am surprised that they didn’t just use velcro, as they don’t seem to expect anyone to actually carry anything substantial in there.

It is fitted to my vehicle, but it hasn’t had any wear and tear as I CANNOT FIT ANYTHING IN THERE!

A suggestion from an internet forum was to turn it into a big BBQ grill. Not a bad idea. 🙂 If anyone out there has any more creative things I can do with this barrier that is useless as a cargo barrier, please post them here !

Since then, I have now modified the strap mounts so I can fit my fridge in there. I will eventually change it so the top mounts are attached to the roof, like every other manufacturer out there is happy to do.

I have left the  ad up though, to bring joy to those that read it. Coupled with the fact that after several months, a knock sensor died, the CD changer died, and the dealer gave me a mismatched spare wheel that the previous owner told them explicitly they wanted to keep, I am happy to continue to annoy whoever from Toyota could be bothered to read my ramblings.

Once the kids leave school in a few years, I might have some disposable income again, so will be looking for a new full size 4wd. So far, Toyota is off the shopping list.  Bring on another Patrol!





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