Amphibious Dutch SUV goes from mall to marina
Meant to echo the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Amphibicruiser combines off-road and on-water capabilities.
The 1980s-era Toyota Land Cruiser 70 is legendary for tackling almost any type of terrain. But after a company called Dutch Amfibious Transport (DAT) is done building its Amphibicruiser around a Land Cruiser engine, the vehicle can take to the water as well.
DAT is no stranger to producing amphibious vehicles. The Dutch company also builds the Amfibus that’s used to conduct land-and water tours around Rotterdam. But the Amphibicruiser — which was originally created as part of a fleet of self-driving, all-terrain vehicles commissioned by a safari park in Asia — is more for personal land/water transports as opposed to a hands-off experience.
DAT decided to develop the Amphibicruiser into a series of production vehicles and started customer delivery last October. According to the company, the craft can be piloted with very little training since the steering and controls work in the water as they do on land. And to get the Amphibicruiser in and out of the water requires only a gently sloped bank.
"We wanted it to be as solid on water as the Land Cruiser is on land,” DAT co-founder Dirk Jan de Jong told Gizmag.
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But you will need about $180,000 to buy the 2-door soft-top model, and $250,000 for a 4-door hardtop.
What that gets you is a custom stainless-steel vehicle with a 4.2-liter Toyota Land Cruiser engine that drives like a traditional 4x4 on land. Water is kept from entering the interior via inflatable seals, and with one press of button power is sent to a water jet instead of the wheels. And while the Amphibicruiser can hit highway speeds on land, it motors along at a more modest 8 mph on water.
The public’s fascination with amphibious vehicles has led to no shortage of land-water rides. But De Jong thinks we’re at a watershed moment for amphibious vehicles.
“The complexity of the technologies made it difficult . . . 10 years ago,” he said. “I think the time for the amphibious vehicle is now."
Like the Land Cruiser it aspires to be, the Amphibicruiser is built more for reliability and practicality than splash or speed. It eschews the sporty style of the Gibbs Aquada car that Richard Branson used to break the English Channel crossing record, and the high speed of the Quadski ATV, also manufactured by Gibbs, that can hit up to 45 mph or land or water.
With its ability to cross rivers, lakes, bays or even go in the ocean, DAT markets the Amphibicruiser as a fleet vehicle for the recreation industry, since it’s ideal for outfitters or even deep-pocketed camping and fishing enthusiasts. And it helps that the Amphibicruiser rides on the Land Cruiser’s legacy.
“We have a lot of enquiries for it, there’s a lot going to Dubai,” de Jong said. “They like it because it’s based on the Land Cruiser and they like the Toyota-spec vehicles.”
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