There’s a lot of talk about expensive utes nowadays, with dual-cab examples from Ford and VW pushing upwards of $70,000. But forget those dual-cab dreamers, ladies and gents, because this is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute – one of the most expensive workhorse trucks around.
Unless you’ve been living out the back of whoop-whoop, it doesn’t necessarily look like a million bucks (or maybe it does, if that’s exactly where you have been looking) but it’s closer to that price tag than any other workhorse vehicle on the market – particularly in flagship GXL trim as you see here.
This 79 Series, as the single- and dual-cab models are referred to, comes in at nearly that price – yep, it’s $66,490 plus on-road costs for what is, in essence, a bare bones work ute. Makes some of the other single-cab models on the market seem like cheapies.
But this isn’t just any work ute. Drive a few hundred kilometres inland from the Great Dividing Range and you’ll see more of these than Mazda 3s, or even Corollas or Camrys for that matter. That’s because these ‘Cruiser utes are made for hard work, and the latest update released in 2016 saw the Japanese brand add some much needed kit to keep the body-on-frame four-wheel-drive truck, SUV and Troopy models in favour with buyers.
We asked Toyota for the chance to spend a bit of quality time with the LandCruiser ute. A two-month loan with a vehicle that was designed to be put through hell on farms or in mines – yeah, we weren’t planning on doing much in either of those fields.
It took a couple of trips to the bush, and I was happy to call it mine over the time we had it in our Sydney garage – but we assumed it was never going to be challenged by anything we threw at in daily service.
Still, we couldn’t baulk at the chance to spend some time with one of the most venerable vehicles on the Australian market.
Before we get to how it drives – that’ll be covered off in the next few updates – let’s take a closer look at what this thing is, and what it’s designed for.
The highlights list includes cruise control, halogen headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, aluminium side-steps, tilt and reach adjustment for the steering wheel, and power windows. You miss out on the manual folding quarter windows – or 50:50 air-conditioning as its known. But, GET THIS, actual air-conditioning remains an optional extra at $2761.
Under the bonnet is a truly epic 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel engine, which can only be had mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Anyone who has driven one of these things in the past will attest to the notion five gears isn’t enough for this thing, and that a sixth ratio would make it a much more comfortable experience at highway speeds. But Toyota did tweak the final drive ratio with its substantial update late in 2016, and we’ll tell you about its highway nous a little later on.
We also plan to do some towing with it: the claimed capacity is at the benchmark 3.5-tonne level with a braked trailer (750kg without trailer brakes), and there is some excellent off-road cred by way of a proper low-range gear set, auto locking hubs (added as part of the 2017 model update) and standard differential locks in this spec.
Stay tuned for more on the 2017 Toyota LandCruiser GXL in the coming weeks as we take a deep dive into living with a real-life dinosaur.
2017 Toyota LandCruiser GXL
Click the Gallery tab above for more images of the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute by Sam Venn.