Toyota's new LandCruiser 70 series ute continues the company's tradition of producing tough, reliable vehicles.
Story By Ian Glover
You don’t get a reputation for producing bulletproof, completely reliable vehicles and hold it for more than 30 years without there being some substance behind the legend. Think country cachet and you’ll instinctively think Toyota. Over decades, Toyota’s Australian arm has aggressively nurtured rural awareness of the brand, sponsoring country events – most high profile being the Tamworth Country Music Festival – and forming alliances with country singers like Lee Kernaghan. Most importantly, however, they have not lost sight of the fact that that product needs to be relevant. Reliability, load-carrying capacity and the ability to do the job all day every day remained critical engineering imperatives.
The company’s latest rural offering is the 4.5-litre V8 turbo LandCruiser 70 Series, with a common rail diesel developing 151kW of power at 3400rpm and 430Nm of torque from a creditably low 1200rpm on.
Despite rounding off the edges and sculpting the bonnet with a massive air scoop, the V8 70 Series is still unmistakably a workhorse (overbonnet visibility on and off-road has not been sacrificed). It still has decidedly military lines – even though the front end has been extensively restyled, complete with partial chrome front bumper, chrome radiator grille and fog lights set into the bumper on our GXL (topline) test vehicle – a good thing considering the target market. There are three model variants: the base-spec Workmate, GX – which gains 16-inch alloy wheels, mudguard flares and wide front guards – and the GXL, which also gets aluminium side steps, a front door arm rest, power radio antenna, bucket seats, carpet, keyless entry and central locking, power windows and a plethora of storage boxes for essentials like bits of wire, rifle shells, pliers and electrical tape.
Even with the GXL, traditional four-wheel-drive values have been retained. Ground clearance is excellent (235 millimetres for the Workmate, 220mm for the sportier models), front and rear mudflaps are a decent size, and there are some really useful inclusions for both the man on the land and recreational users. An example is an ‘idle-up’ button which pushes revs up from 500–1200 rpm – just what you need when you’re winching, or reinflating tyres with a half-decent compressor. Another is the genuine one tonne-plus payload capacity and a stump-pulling low ratio of 44:1. However, the choice of freewheeling (manually-locking) front hubs seems somewhat of an anachronism. The vehicle also retains part-time 4WD, but seating is definitely up in the comfort stakes compared with earlier models. Another nice touch is the protective frame around the tail lights, which hang down from the tray and would otherwise be vulnerable to damage.
This story excerpt is from Issue #53
Outback Magazine: June/July 2007