The 2017 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series update launched this week is the biggest running change to the iconic off-roader in its decades-long history.
With a nameplate dating back to 1954 and a body shape to 1985, the secret to keeping rusted-on regional owners and business clients happy is slow, steady progression. Toyota has had to modernise to a degree, but changing the formula was "not an option".
Thus, the looks aren’t changed. But under the body there have been some updates, all tested over 100,000km of torturous driving in the Australia outback over the past few years. The program based here also saw regular visits from global bosses to talk to buyers.
The newly updated LandCruiser 70 Series — particularly the top-selling cab-chassis ute — is quieter, better-equipped, stronger, more efficient and safer (the two-door now has a five-star ANCAP rating, the other three bodies aren’t tested, still, and won't match up given they lack the extra airbags on the two-door, as detailed below).
However, prices are also up, by between $3000 and $5500.
What’s new? All versions now get 21st century technology such as stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution trickled down from the 200 Series. They also get cruise control, suitable for the fact most 70 Series do extensive highway work.
Toyota’s engineers believe the active traction control (A-TRC) alleviates the need for a limited-slip rear differential (LSD) by performing the same function. The system automatically adjusts for the transfer range selected, so it can be used in H2, H4 and L4 ranges, though a cut-off switch deactivates both the ESC and A-TRC for specific environments, such as deep sand.
Other additions include auto-locking front hubs with a manual lock option, a new fuse box and battery terminal location, seatbelt pre-tensioners and warning light, and new tray options.
The top-selling single cabs get most of the changes. Few markets bar Australia (globally, number four by sales with around 7500 units annually) wanted any updates, so Toyota claims it had to rationalise costs and focus its R&D to this version most of all.
These additions include a new five-star ANCAP rating to open up more fleet opportunities with government and big business, a thicker and stronger frame with new side rails and more cross-members, new panels including a taller bonnet, a relocated steering link behind the front axle, a 130-litre fuel tank (single, no sub) and new Australian-developed chassis tune.
All bodies get the same 130L fuel tank, except the Troopie which retains two 90L tanks.
There’s also five airbags (curtains, driver’s knee and dual-front), dash padding and new seats. In all models, vinyl floors and seats are standard though GXL versions get cloth, electric windows, alloys and more exterior chrome. You still have winding windows.
Air conditioning remains a dealer-fit option at a staggering $2700. The take-up rate is almost 100 per cent.
All Workmate and GXL (Troop Carrier) models get wider single-piece 6Jx16 steel wheels on wider tubeless 225/95 16C tyres. All models still have rigid live axle suspension both front and rear. Most models get a standard snorkel, though wading depth is a maximum of 700mm.
The 1VD-FTV 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine is now Euro 5 compliant, guaranteeing its future for years to come.
The addition of Piezo injectors makes it more efficient, while the maximum towing capacity remains 3.5 tonnes even with the payload of 1200kg maxed-out.
Outputs are 151kW at 2400rpm and 430Nm between 1200 and 3200rpm, while fuel economy is cut by up to 1.2 litres per 100km to 10.2L/100km. The standard five-speed manual gearbox has taller second and final ratios to make cruising more pleasant and reduce NVH.
Exterior colours for the troop carrier are French Vanilla, Sandy Taupe and Midnight Blue. The other body styles are also available in Silver Pearl, Graphite, Merlot Red and Vintage Gold. All bar white are $550.
You can obviously still buy an array of accessories for specific uses such as light bars, cargo box, fire extinguishers, yellow stickers, LED work lamps, auxiliary batteries, wheel chocks and battery isolator switches etc.
LandCruiser is the longest running nameplate in Toyota’s history, being used since 1954. The company has sold 260,000 70 Series since 1985, almost 20 per cent of the world supply. Oceania is the third biggest region globally after the Middle East and Africa.
The other options are diff locks at $1500 (on single cab GX and double cab WorkMate).
Service intervals are a modest 10,000km, capped at $340 per visit at current rates.
2017 Toyota LandCruiser 70 pricing (plus on-road costs)
WorkMate $62,490 (+$5500)
GX $64,490 (+$5500)
GXL $66,490 (+$5500)
WorkMate $64,990 (+$3000)
GXL $68,990 (+$3000)
WorkMate $60,990 (+$3000)
GXL $64,990 (+$3000)
WorkMate $64,890 (+$3000)
GXL $67,990 (+$3000)