Toy­ota 70 Se­ries LandCruiser

The Toy­ota 70 Se­ries LandCruiser has been up­dated, con­trary to ru­mours of its im­pend­ing demise. Matt Wood gives it its first drive

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Toy­ota’s 70 Se­ries LandCruiser work­horse has just copped a sig­nif­i­cant up­date that sees im­proved emis­sions, safety and fuel econ­omy.

With 60 per cent of the 70’s sales go­ing to busi­ness buy­ers, the bulk of the up­date fo­cuses on the sin­gle-cab LC79, while other im­prove­ments have trick­led into the rest of the range.

The sin­gle-cab chas­sis now sits on a sub­stan­tially big­ger and stiffer frame with ad­di­tional cross mem­bers, which has also seen a softer state of sus­pen­sion tune for the fleet four-by.

The LC79 ac­counts for 8000 Aus­tralian sales a year across the line-up. To keep it sweet with mining fleets, the sin­gle cab also now fea­tures five airbags and re­cently scored a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

All LC79 Se­ries vari­ants ben­e­fit from the ad­di­tion of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol (ESC), which also fea­tures hill-start as­sist, brake as­sist, elec­tronic brake force dis­tri­bu­tion, and au­to­matic trac­tion con­trol (ATC). The ad­di­tion of ATC has seen Toy­ota drop the lim­ited slip diff from the range.

The much-loved 4.5-litre 1VD turbo-diesel EGR V8 still pro­vides power for the Cruiser at the same 151kW/430Nm rat­ings as be­fore. But to keep it in line with new Euro 5 emis­sions, a DPF with ac­tive re­gen­er­a­tion has been added. Out­side, the LC79 has a slightly new look with 12 new body pan­els.

LONGER LEGS

A cou­ple of the tra­di­tional 70 se­ries bug­bears have been tack­led, the main one be­ing gear­ing. The out­go­ing 5-speed trans­mis­sion was very low geared and saw the tacho nee­dle danc­ing on 2500rpm at 100km/h.

Ex­pec­ta­tions that the Cruiser may get a 6-speed didn’t come to fruition, how­ever, though the five-slot ‘box has had the gear ra­tios for 2nd and 5th re­vised.

The big four-by sits on about 1900rpm at 100km/h, which sees Toy­ota claim a com­bined fuel fig­ure for the bent-eight oiler of 10.7L/100km com­bined, and 9.4L/100km for the high­way. Cruise con­trol is now stan­dard kit across the range. Strangely, air-con, a $2700 dealer-fit op­tion, is not.

The LC79 re­vamp bud­get, how­ever, didn’t stretch to ad­dress the nar­rower wheel track of the rear axle. That will, no doubt, keep the af­ter­mar­ket happy.

The big­gest-sell­ing model, the sin­gle-cab chas­sis, has seen the bulk of de­vel­op­ment, but the range still con­sists of the dual-cab chas­sis, wagon and Troopy. Work­mate and GXL are the only vari­ants of each again ex­cept­ing the sin­gle cab, which now has a mid-range GX vari­ant.

Toy­ota’s unique sta­tus on the Aussie mar­ket as the only ute that can carry max­i­mum load while tow­ing max­i­mum weight con­tin­ues, even though the truck has got­ten a lit­tle heav­ier with the new kit on board. This gives the sin­gle cab a pay­load of 1200kg and a tow ca­pac­ity of 3500kg. Wad­ing depth re­mains at 700mm.

ON AND OFF ROAD

In to­day’s SUV-clogged mar­ket, I find it com­fort­ing that the 70 Se­ries still ex­ists. No doubt, when pre­sented with tight­en­ing emis­sions and safety de­mands, it could well have gone the way of the Dodo or the De­fender. In­stead, it now has the heavy 4x4 ute mar­ket all to it­self with the de­par­ture of the Nis­san Y61 Pa­trol cab chas­sis.

As you’d ex­pect, it’s still a no-non­sense work truck from the driver’s seat. But the re­cent up­date is very ap­par­ent once you flick the key and get mov­ing. NVH has im­proved keep­ing the big eight-iron a lit­tle sub­dued, but on the black top the changes in gear­ing make a huge dif­fer­ence.

Pre­vi­ously, I’d been in the habit of skip shift­ing the old ‘box. Now, it’s a smoother pro­gres­sion through the cogs. And the Cruiser is much hap­pier on the high­way than it has been in the past, with the rev counter show­ing 1900rpm at 100km/h.

The softer sus­pen­sion tune of the sin­gle cab also makes it slightly less jit­tery when un­laden on the open road.

The in­te­rior is still the same old fa­mil­iar of­fice, but the view has changed slightly over the more im­pos­ing bon­net bulge.

The LC has a for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion as bush trans­port and, as such, still pow­ers down a dirt road hap­pily. The main dif­fer­ence is the ESC cut­ting in if you try and flick the tail out on a cor­ner. Spoil­sports.

But it’s the LandCruiser’s off-road cred that has set it apart from most. And it’s still got the goods in that depart­ment – in fact, the ad­di­tion of ATC has im­proved it.

Walk­ing the Cruiser up some pretty gnarly ob­sta­cles was quite a re­laxed ex­pe­ri­ence. The ATC cuts in and lim­its wheel spin, and some feath­er­ing of the throt­tle keeps it climb­ing in a rather civilised fash­ion rather than roar­ing, clam­ber­ing and spit­ting rocks along the way.

Some may say the up­date soft­ens the tough old bush bus. How­ever, from the driver’s seat, it still feels like the ven­er­a­ble work­horse of old. Just with some smoother edges.

But it’s the pric­ing that pri­vate buy­ers may find hard to swal­low. The sin­gle-cab chas­sis now costs $5500 more, while the other vari­ants have seen a price rise of $3000 on what was al­ready an ex­pen­sive truck.

1: The Toy­ota LC79 now has a slightly smoother face, ac­tive re­gen EGR sys­tem and sta­bil­ity con­trol across the range

2: Most of the ma­jor im­prove­ments have been made to the fleet-friendly sin­gle-cab chas­sis which now has a thicker chas­sis, re­vised sus­pen­sion tune and more airbags

3: It may be pretty Spar­tan but the LC79 has al­ways been a pretty handy off-road work truck

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