It’s the oldest and most expensive vehicle amongst the best-selling 4WD utes but its year-on-year sales increase is the strongest
The LandCruiser 79 Series, complete with its then all-new 4.5-litre V8 diesel, arrived in 2007 and has never been more popular than it is now. In fact, in the first six months of 2018 it has sold almost as well as it did for the full 12 months of 2008. What’s more surprising is that its year-on-year sales increase to June 30 is better than any of the other best-selling utes with a 24 per cent increase, despite the fact that it’s the oldest and most expensive ute here.
In its 11-year history in Australia, two significant things have happened to the LC79. Firstly, in late 2012 the dual-cab model appeared, Australia being the first market to receive it off the back of what Toyota said was “demand from the booming mining sector and others”.
Then in late 2016, the 79 received a raft of updates, many of which came from meeting mandatory government safety and emission standards as well as industry safety demands.
First up, all models gained electronic stability control (and electronic traction control as a side benefit). Then to meet Euro 5 emission standards all models gained a diesel particulate filter and piezo injectors.
All variants also got locking hubs, cruise control and a new five-speed gearbox with a much-needed taller top gear as well as a taller second gear. To meet industry occupational health and safety demands for a five-star ANCAP safety rating, the single-cab model also gained curtain and driver’s knee airbags and thicker frame rails.
As ever the 79 is very truck-like to drive compared with others utes you’ll find amongst these best sellers and doesn’t offer much in the way of on-road civility in terms of handling, ride or noise refinement. All that is, however, forgiven when the 79 is asked to work hard carrying or towing a big load, or off road, where it is near unstoppable.
And the further you get from civilisation, the more the 79 makes sense. And if you do happen to be in the absolute middle of no-where it’s the only 4WD ute you really want.