A tip-to-toe up­grade has given Toy­ota’s ageless 70 se­ries ‘ute’ a new lease on life. NZ4WD mag­a­zine edi­tor Ross Mackay ex­plains why.


Sat­is­fied ex­ist­ing own­ers might have grum­bled into their ‘milk-and-two-sug­ars’ Nescafe, but there was noth­ing for it; loom­ing safety re­quire­ments meant Toy­ota’s 70-se­ries Land Cruiser needed work, plenty of work.

So much work, in fact, that for sev­eral months last year you couldn’t buy one for love nor money, de­spite Toy­ota New Zealand or­der­ing up large be­fore the old model went off­line.

The good news is that the wait has been worth­while, the new’un not only now thor­oughly up­rated and ( the sin­gle-cab model any­way) five-star ANCAP com­pli­ant, but also, on the strength of the launch drive on and off road, a far more prac­ti­cal not to men­tion ( be­lieve it or not) com­pli­ant and com­fort­able propo­si­tion.

As the first sig­nif­i­cant round of changes the Land Cruiser 70 Se­ries has seen in two years, the 2017 model meets EURO 5 emis­sion reg­u­la­tions with the in­tro­duc­tion of a Diesel Par­tic­u­late Fil­ter ( DPF) and adopts Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity Con­trol ( VSC), Ac­tive Trac­tion Con­trol (A-TRC), Elec­tronic Brake-force Dis­tri­bu­tion ( EBD), Hill-start As­sist Con­trol ( HAC), Brake As­sist ( BA) and re­vers­ing cam­era across the five vari­ant line-up.

Sin­gles and dou­bles

Start­ing from $ 75,780, the Land Cruiser 70 Se­ries has both sin­gle and dou­ble cab vari­ants avail­able in LT and LX grades. The Troop Car­rier now adopts the Wagon name and is avail­able as an LT grade; the ul­ti­mate blank can­vas with two seats and van-like cargo space.

The up­graded model re­tains Toy­ota’s leg­endary 151kW/ 430Nm 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel en­gine but fea­tures im­prove­ments in per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency due to the new piezo in­jec­tors. Com­bined CO2 emis­sions are down to 281g/km along­side com­bined fuel con­sump­tion re­duc­tions of be­tween eight and 10 per­cent de­crease from the out­go­ing model.

Sin­gle cab mod­els also get bet­ter range

cour­tesy a close to 50 per­cent in­crease in fuel ca­pac­ity from 90 to 130 litres, while the LT Wagon con­tin­ues with two 90 litre fuel tanks.

In­side the re­vamped 70 Se­ries, the days of vinyl bench seats and a twin-dial ra­dio/ cas­sette player have gone the way of the Ark, a 6.1” dis­play au­dio unit with Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, CD player and USB port stan­dard and the dis­play dou­bling as a large cen­trally-placed mon­i­tor for the re­vers­ing cam­era. Cruise con­trol is also now stan­dard.

Tougher, safer

Sin­gle cab vari­ants re­ceive ad­di­tional en­hance­ments to im­prove the struc­tural in­tegrity of the cabin and a chas­sis that is larger and stiffer. Side cur­tain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag, ad­justable seat belt an­chors with pre-ten­sion­ers and an Emer­gency Stop Sig­nal ( ESS) complete the sin­gle cab’s safety fea­ture over­haul for 2017, re­sult­ing in the max­i­mum 5-star ANCAP rat­ing.

Fur­ther im­prove­ments across the range in­clude Dual Au­to­matic Lock­ing Hubs ( D-ALH) in place of man­ual hubs, and the pre­vi­ous High Coun­try Pack op­tion with front and rear diff locks has be­come stan­dard.

Ea­gled-eyed brochure-fiends might also notice that the old split rim steel wheel de­sign has been re­placed by a sin­gle piece, 16 in. dia. de­sign, which, with taller sec­ond and fifth gear ra­tios con­trib­ute to a smoother, qui­eter ride on seal and gravel plus the im­proved fuel econ­omy.

Un­der­stand­ably, the sweep­ing changes and fu­ture-proof­ing has come at some cost re­sult­ing in a mod­est price rise across the five-model line-up.

Those prices are:

Land Cruiser 70 LT Sin­gle Cab $ 75,780 Land Cruiser 70 LT Dou­ble Cab $ 79,380 Land Cruiser 70 LX Sin­gle Cab $ 81,980 Land Cruiser 70 LX Dou­ble Cab $ 85,580 Land Cruiser 70 LT Wagon $ 84,980

Toy­ota’s 70-Se­ries Land Cruiser is back on the mar­ket af­ter a ma­jor up­grade.

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