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TOYOTA LAND CRUISER 70 SERIES

The timeless saga of the revered Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series is poised to embark on its next chapter, marked by the introduction of a new powertrain option to the iconic 4×4. This rejuvenated iteration boasts fresh styling, upgraded technology, and enhanced specifications, reaffirming its status as a rugged and capable off-road marvel.

The legend of the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series spans 73 years since the first Toyota BJ conquered Mount Fuji, Japan, in 1952, becoming the first commercially available vehicle to do so. Since then, successive series of Land Cruisers have made their appearance, each building on the strengths of its forebears, and each becoming legendary in the process.

In South Africa, the Land Cruiser nameplate symbolises accomplishment like few others can claim. Both a status symbol and an unrivalled workhorse, the Land Cruiser 70 Series continues as one of Toyota’s most successful vehicles, and is showing no hint of slowing down just yet, despite the original form of the now updated model being almost 17 years old in South Africa.

The newly enhanced 70 Series range – comprising the 76 and 78 Station Wagon and the iconic 79 Single and Double Cab bakkies – caters to a diverse array of customers seeking a resilient and capable 4×4 experience. 

BENEATH THE SURFACE

While the Land Cruiser 70 Series has received a few cosmetic enhancements over the years, until now, the line-up has been predominantly powered by a 4.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol in-line-six (for the single and double cabs), a 4.2-litre naturally aspirated diesel, and a 4.5-litre turbodiesel V8, all coupled with manual transmissions. However, the upgraded Land Cruiser introduces the 2.8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, a debutante in the 70 Series lineage. 

The entire spectrum of body styles now offers this proven four-cylinder that is renowned for its reliability, and that already features in many Toyota 4×4 models, such as the Hilux, Fortuner, and Prado, delivering an impressive 150 kW at 3,400 rpm and 500 Nm between 1,600-2,800 rpm. As a welcome bonus, the 2.8-litre engine boasts a welcome improvement in fuel consumption over the older powertrains. 

According to Glenn Crompton, Vice President of Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), “the addition of a new powertrain will not only broaden the appeal of the 70 Series to a broader audience, but will also give our customers the power of choice between the torque-rich four-cylinder automatic and the tried-and-true manual V8 across all 70 Series body styles, providing a wide range of alternatives for buyers.”

A slew of mechanical enhancements have been incorporated into the engine specifically for the 70 Series, ensuring optimal cooling and performance even in the most demanding conditions and under substantial towing loads, with all models retaining a robust 3,500 kg braked towing capacity. Retaining its robust off-road capabilities, the Land Cruiser 70 Series line-up continues to feature a part-time 4×4 system with low-range, live axles, and front coil suspension. The four-cylinder variants further elevate off-road prowess with the inclusion of front and rear locking differentials for unparalleled traction.

ALL UP IN THE GRILLE

The refreshed Land Cruiser 70 Series, spanning the 4.0-litre petrol, 4.2-litre, and 4.5-litre diesel models in both bakkie and station wagon configurations, instantly captivates with its updated exterior styling, paying homage to the lineage of Land Cruiser predecessors. A redesigned square grille with a black mesh pattern and prominent “TOYOTA” lettering sits atop a three-slot cooling vent reminiscent of the 75 Series Land Cruiser, while a hood vent above the grille draws inspiration from the original 40 Series model. The imposing stance of the 70 Series is further accentuated by a broad bumper and sleek black overfenders, complemented by dark grey metallic 16” alloy wheels.

The Station Wagon variant boasts a sturdy steel bumper, while, for the first time, a range-topping VX derivative distinguishes itself with the inclusion of a Rockford Fosgate sound system and several luxury enhancements, including additional soundproofing and an optional powered cooler between the front seats. 

Moreover, all grades of the 70 Series receive a revamped centre console featuring a lidded storage box, cupholder, and multiple small-item compartments. Station Wagon variants offer enhanced functionality with new second-row seats featuring 60:40 split-folding functionality, which can be easily tumbled forward to maximise cargo space. Although the change to a split-folding rear seat set-up is a welcome change to the Station Wagon, rear legroom remains deceptively tight for a vehicle of this size. All versions are upholstered in durable grey fabric, with VX upholstered in sumptuous leather.

MORE TECH

In line with its upgraded powerplant, four-cylinder variants are equipped with Downhill Assist Control (DAC), ensuring steady and controlled descents during off-road escapades by automatically modulating the brakes to navigate steep declines safely. The Station Wagon VX variant is enhanced with a new reversing camera, facilitating hassle-free parking in confined spaces. Additionally, the LC70 maintains its classic colour palette, featuring Ivory White, Satin Silver Metallic, Sand Beige, Graphite Grey Metallic, Ruby Metallic, and Dark Blue hues. The LC78 Wagon variant makes a comeback, offered exclusively in Attitude Black and Avant-Garde Bronze.

LAST WORD

The Land Cruiser 70 Series epitomises durability, reliability, and unwavering performance, fortified by Toyota’s commitment to quality and innovation. With its latest iteration, boasting a new powertrain, updated aesthetics, and advanced technology, the legacy of the Land Cruiser 70 Series continues to thrive, catering to the diverse needs of adventurers and enthusiasts alike. Backed by a three-year/100,000 km warranty and an optional 100,000 km service plan, the Land Cruiser 70 Series stands as a testament to Toyota’s enduring legacy in the off-road realm.

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © TOYOTA SOUTH AFRICA

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