2007 LandCruiser 70 Series GXL Wagon - review
Test Model: LC76 4 Door 5 seat GXL wagon with a five-speed manual transmission and 4.5-litre turbocharged V8 diesel.
Recommended Retail Price: $57,490
• Air Conditioning - $2640 (a necessity, but not what I would call a bargain and probably should be standard in the GXL)
• Diff Locks - $2735 (again, a must if you are using the vehicle in tough country but seems like an expensive option)
Price as Tested: $62,865
Where it sits: With kit such as floor carpet, remote central locking, power windows and power antenna, the GXL wagon is the Rolls-Royce of the series, but surprisingly, not the most expensive model. The famed Troop Carrier tops out the range.
• Cab Chassis (LC79) 2-seat – Workmate ($53,490) GX ($55,490) GXL ($56,490)
• Wagon (LC76) 5-seat –Workmate ($53,990) GXL ($57,490)
• Troop Carrier (LC78) – Workmate (three-seat $58,890) Workmate (11-seat $59,990) GXL ($61,490)
You don’t mess with a LandCruiser 70 Series. When it comes to hard core mechanical workhorses, this is one of the heavyweight contenders.
Talk about staying the course. From the moment the US government asked Toyota to build one-hundred Willys-spec vehicles, in the form of the Jeep BJ in 1950, Toyota has been in the off road business.
Hanji Umehara, the technical director at Toyota, liked the name Land Rover too (who wouldn’t). He was desperate for a brand name, which sounded no less capable than the British marque. He came up with “Land Cruiser” and the rest as they say, is history.
Oddly enough though, for someone so concerned with getting the off-road image right and holding Jeep and land Rover in such high regard, it comes as a surprise, that both the Jeep BJ and the second generation 20 Series were without low-range!
Toyota finally got the message in 1960, when the 40 Series hit town with a larger 3.9-litre engine and low range was introduced as a LandCruiser staple.
In 1981 things were going very well for Toyota and LandCruiser sales topped the one million mark.
The 70 Series was introduced in 1984, with a range that included a soft-top, hardtop, utility, cab chassis and the famed troop carrier, which was probably adopted from the original US army Jeep, which had inward facing rear seats.
This latest 76 Series may have electric windows and air conditioning but believe me, it is still a hard core workhorse for the farm or better still, construction.
When I told him that under the bonnet was a spanking new 4.5 litre V8 turbo-diesel, it was as though Christmas had come early. The guy was in heaven. If I was I rich man, I would have handed the keys and registration papers over to him in flash, just to see the look on his face!
It’s by no means a quiet engine but it sure does pull. The Euro IV-compliant donk is a sophisticated unit. The 32-valve V8 puts out a not too shabby 151kW at 3400rpm and peak torque of 430Nm at 1200rpm. Pulling and climbing are what this vehicle does best!
My point is, if your wife or partner wants to drive this glammed up workhorse, give her the keys! (I don't mean to be chauvinistic – really!)
And that’s the real advantage of this five-seat wagon body. One day you’re out in the sticks or down in an open cut mine, the next day you’re heading into town in your best threads for a royal feed at the local Chinese.
It’s not exactly slow either. I can’t find any 0-100km/h times in the press kit, but the 76 Series is more than capable of keeping up with city drivers in a hurry.
And don’t worry about the fact that you can only get a V8 engine in the 76 Series. While power and torque might be up against the old straight six, fuel consumption has gone down, at least marginally, to 11.9 litres/100km (combined).
Steering is hydraulic power assisted and for a large vehicle I found the turning circle at 12.6m more than manageable in suburbia. Reverse parallel parking was also nothing to fret about.
I can’t tell you why, but I like the metal glove box. It has that "this will never break" feel about it. Let’s hope Toyota never resorts to plastic. The die-hards won’t buy it for that reason alone.
It’s tall yes, but there’s a grab handle for each door, along with decent width aluminium side steps, to make entry and exit not so difficult.
With its hard-core workhorse reputation, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of ride quality. The word harsh, would have best described my expectations, given the rigid live axle set up, front and rear.
The LandCruiser 70 Series has been dragged, kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century and has fought well to retain its ‘hard as nails’ DNA.
By: Anthony Crawford