Toyota gives 70 Series Landcruiser a shot in the arm

By: Matt Wood


Toyota's updated 70 Series Landcruiser lineup has been improved but it comes at a price

Toyota gives 70 Series Landcruiser a shot in the arm
The new 70 Series takes a plunge.

 

Contrary to rumours of its impending demise, Toyota’s 70 Series Landcruiser work horse has just copped a significant update that sees improved emissions, safety and fuel economy.

Single cab focus

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 fourby.

The LC79 accounts for 8,000 Australia sales a year across the line up. Unsurprisingly the 70 Series also accounts for 20 per cent of the global take up of the hard-edged worker.

To keep in sweet with mining fleets the single cab also now features five airbags and recently scored a 5-star ACCAP safety rating.

All LC79 Series variants benefit from the addition of Electronic Stability Control, which also features Hill Start Assist, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Automatic Traction Control. The addition of ATC has seen Toyota drop the limited slip diff from the range.

Other fleet friendly features are new 16-inch one piece steel rims which replace the split rims previously found on Workmate models, auto locking hub and a new fuse box to make the fitting of aftermarket accessories like telemetry easier and less invasive.

 

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New injectors and an after burner

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 new Euro 5 emissions a DPF with active regeneration has been added.

Keeping in mind concerns about an active afterburner underneath, the LC79 will not go into an automatic regeneration at low speeds off-road. The DPF itself is tucked up beside the transmission and protected by an addition cross member on the chassis.

New Piezo injectors have also been added to the V8. The local 100,000km testing regime of the LC also saw Toyota engineers test the injection system’s tolerance of varying quality Outback diesel.

Outside, the LC79 has a slightly new look with 12 new body panels. The bonnet has had a remodel with a larger, rounder intercooler bulge that is intended to be more pedestrian friendly.

 

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Longer legs

A couple of the traditional 70 Series bug bears have been tackled, the main one being gearing.

The outgoing model 5-speed transmission was very low geared and saw the tacho needle dancing on 2,500rpm at 100km/h.

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

Now the big fourby sits on about 1,900rpm at 100km/h which sees Toyota now 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 but strangely air-con, a $2,700 dealer fit option, is not.

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

The biggest selling model, the single cab-chassis has seen the bulk of development however, 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.

The 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 1,200kg and a tow capacity of 3,500kg. Wading depth remains at 700mm.  

 

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On and off the 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 8 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 1,900rpm 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 automatic traction control 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 that 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 $5,500 more while the other variants have seen a price rise of $3,000 on what was already an expensive truck.

It’s become a better truck, but it’s also become serious financial proposition. But then again, now it’s also got the heavy 4x4 ute niche all to itself.

 

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2017 Toyota Landcruiser LC79 Pricing (MRRP Quoted)

Workmate Wagon: $60,990

GXL Wagon: $64,990

Workmate Troop Carrier: $64,890

GXL Troop Carrier: $67,990

Workmate Dual Cab Chassis (less tray): $64,990

GXL Dual Cab Chassis (less tray): $68,990

Workmate Single Cab Chassis (less tray): $62,490

GX Single Cab Chassis (less tray): $64,490

GXL Single Cab Chassis (less tray): $66,490

 

 

 

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