We didn’t hang on to the 2017 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute as long as we would have liked. It just really grew on us over our short 10-week stint.
In that time, we've reported on its chops as an urban warrior (not very good), we've tested its towing capabilities (excellent), and we've filled 'er up to gauge her load-lugging abilities (two thumbs up).
We've put her through some tough times too, managing, foolishly, at one point to strand her in some depeer-than-it-looked standing water where she suffered the ignominy of being rescued by a fully-loaded Foton Tunland, of all things.
And over that time, I’ve learnt something: these are purpose-made toilers, and what they lack in creature comforts, they make up for in out-and-out ability. These vehicles will handle more than you can throw at them, and that’s why they’ve got such a strong reputation from people in the know.
We’ve heard of Toyota LandCruiser models with more than 750,000km on the clock. That may seem insane, but it’s really testament to the long-term reliability of this workhorse.
But bear in mind if you’re thinking about buying one, it will require maintenance every 10,000 kilometres. That’s a helluva lot of services, especially if you plan to give Toyota $240 every time you do it. (Let’s be serious, though: most people will change the oil and filters themselves every 10,000km after the warranty period anyway).
If you sit back and think about it for a minute, you could easily come to the conclusion that the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is an overpriced thing considering what sort of comfort, safety and technology can be had elsewhere for less money. And the lack of an automatic – well, that is just not on for the vast majority of buyers.
But think a little longer and a little harder and the sheer aptitude and capability of the LandCruiser 70 Series ute presents itself with hard evidence.
It will go anywhere. It will do anything. It’ll ask you to be there with it the entire way, and it’ll need you to be in control of it: and that’s primarily what makes it such a likeable vehicle.
The V8 engine is a magical piece of mechanical engineering. It is robust and barely feels stressed even with more load than it should have in the tray. It does whatever you ask of it, and all while using just a touch more fuel than you would in a similarly priced dual-cab ute.
Over our time with the ute we averaged at 12.8 litres per 100 kilometres: that’s just 2.1L/100km more than the claimed average, and while its not what you’d call frugal per se, that type of fuel use is more than commendable for a vehicle with this capability.
In an age where utes in particular, are getting easier and easier to live with, while still remaining – and in some cases even becoming even more – capable of hard work, this thing is a hat-tip to times gone by. If we had a fit for purpose score, it would get a 10 out of 10. It is an ancient relic in some ways, but also a fond memory of the way things once were.
I know I’ll have plenty of fond memories of my time with it. It’s just so good at doing stuff.
And ever since I gave this thing back, I've wished I had more time with it.
Like just last weekend, when I had an Audi A5 in the driveway and realised I needed to take my lawnmower to get serviced... Okay, so that wouldn't have necessarily required the LandCruiser, but geez it would have added to the story of owning the thing.
Foibles aside, it's the vehicle most of my relatives and friends refer to when asking "have you still got that ute?" – partly because they probably want me to lend them a hand getting stuff from a hardware store, or perhaps to move house... but I'd put up with those types of requests if it meant having the 70 Series in my driveway.
2017 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute
- Odometer reading upon vehicle return: 6818km
- Travel over life of loan: 4801km
- Fuel consumption average over life of loan: 12.8L/100km
- Fuel cost over life of loan: $551.25
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