FIRST DRIVE | Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series updated with retro styling and more frugal engine
The Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series enhanced for 2024 and beyond is on sale in South Africa.
The company’s longest-running model arrives on the market with a retro design facelift that harks back to the original car from 1960 with circular headlights and a clamshell bonnet.
It sports a deep recess just ahead of the windscreen, a stylistic touch that features on the 79 single and double cab bakkies and the 78 station wagon. For the first time, a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with a six-speed automatic transmission will be sold alongside the 4.2l and 4.5l V8 diesel and 4.0l petrol six-cylinder manual variants.
Cabin enhancements include a new centre console and a lidded centre storage box and small item compartments, including cup holders. Station wagons benefit from four USB ports as opposed to the two in the bakkies and 60:40 split-folding rear seats to increase cargo space. The functional but sparse cabins are upholstered in durable grey fabric.
The media launch started in the heart of Gauteng and we drove a double cab bakkie fitted with the new 150kW and 500Nm four-cylinder 2.8l GD-6 engine to the luxurious Lapalala game lodges near Vaalwater.
The oomph of the smaller motor, which is used in other Toyota models including the Hilux and Fortuner, feels well-suited to the iconic range, with refinement, lower running costs and the comfort and convenience of a self-shifting transmission the ultimate prizes. Toyota SA will introduce a manual version of the new GD-6 model sometime during the year.
The Land Cruiser 70 Series has never been counted among the most comfortable bakkies, especially on bad surfaces. Not this new model though. Toyota makes no mention of improvements to the ride quality but it felt cushier on the freeway and on the potholed back routes and gravel roads which zigzag past farms and inside the reserve.
Mountaineering is where this Land Cruiser is in its element. The ample departure and approach angles, and a 700mm wading depth in conjunction with a part-time 4x4 system with low-range gearing, downhill assist control, live axles, front coil suspension and rear locking differentials make it an apex off-roader.
The turf we drove on had rocky sections, river crossings and craggy descents that didn’t faze these land marauders for a moment. The role of the Land Cruiser 70 series compared to the cheaper Hilux bakkie is to be a status symbol and a farm owner’s ultimate 4x4, if not a heavy-duty lugger for industry.
The 78 station wagon, colloquially known as the "Troopie", is the more family-friendly version that accommodates four to five passengers and their luggage inside closed quarters. It’s just as capable on and off-road with a 3,500kg braked towing capacity, and the station wagon will debut a new VX specification with leather seats, a Rockford Fosgate sound system and a reversing camera.
The colour palette includes Ivory white, Satin silver metallic, Sand beige, Graphite grey metallic, Ruby metallic and Dark blue, while the 78 station wagon can be had in exclusive Attitude black and Avant-garde bronze.
It is offered with accessories such as bull bars, decals and a fridge. The latter item’s position in the cabin is yet to be finalised as it compromises leg and hand room, according to Glenn Crompton: vice-president of marketing at Toyota SA.
All Land Cruiser 70 Series models are offered with a three-year/100,000km warranty and an optional 100, 000km service plan. Additionally, they are also fitted with in-car Wi-Fi capability with a complimentary 25Gb and supplementary connect services.
LC79 4.0 Petrol S/C 5MT — R765,500
LC79 4.2 Diesel S/C 5MT — R829,000
LC79 4.5 Diesel V8 S/C 5MT — R956,200
LC79 2.8 GD-6 Diesel S/C 6AT — R917,100
LC79 4.0 Petrol D/C 5MT — R864,600
LC79 4.2 Diesel D/C 5MT — R920,800
LC79 4.5 Diesel V8 D/C 5MT — R1,039,200
LC79 2.8 GD-6 Diesel D/C 6AT — R1,009,000
LC78 4.2 Diesel SW 5MT — R900,100
LC76 4.5 Diesel SW 5MT — R1,076,800
LC76 2.8 GD-6 Diesel SW 6AT — R999,900
LC 76 2.8 GD-6 VX Diesel SW 6AT — TBC
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