Owner Review

1997 Toyota Landcruiser Gxl 40th Ann Le (4x4) Review

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Unfortunately I'm now no longer an owner of my 80 series Landcruiser. For around eight years the Landcruiser was a part of my life and I had no intentions of selling it, unfortunately sometimes things in life don't always go the way you've planned and my beloved 80 series was unfortunately destroyed in a high speed rollover.

You could say the Landcruiser in general has a bit of a cult following, and the 80 series is still highly regarded by many. For those of us who like to get away from the masses and get out touring the country the 80 series has a fantastic blend of comfort, simplicity, toughness and 4WD ability that so many look for in a 4WD so its reputation in well deserved.

My old 80 was a 40th anniversary model - a variant of the common midspec GXL. Most of the features where identical to the GXL, however the 40th had a different velour trim and different drivers seat, ABS brakes and driver and passenger airbags where optional (dont expect to find many of those on the secondhand market today) and alloy rims that where specific to the 40th. My 80 also featured the every reliable, but slow 1HZ engine - 4.2L of naturally aspirated diesel. It defiantly isn't an engine to be rushed anywhere, but it is one that will keep on chugging along all day, day after day after day.

Previous to this Landcruiser I owned a standard part time version. On road manners while driven in a normal unrushed manner you'd be hard pressed to pick the difference to the full time 4WD GXL. Where the difference is noted is on gravel roads. I much preferred the the full time 4WD on high speed gravel. Where the part time versions would step the tail end out over corrugations while going straight and get a little oversteery around the corners, the full time GXL just tracked nice and straight with no bad manners. It did have a tenancy more to understeer however compared to the part time 4WD versions. As an additional point, I did not notice any significant fuel consumption differences between part time and full time - both averaged around the 13-14L/100km.

Servicing presents no real issues, most of these are fairly basic 4WD's and nearly any Muppet can fix them. If proper servicing is taken out (not just a simple oil change of the engine every 5 or 10,000km) then you shouldn't run into any major dramas. They are tough 4WD's but neglect can kill them.

As one who has four kids to lug around I am one who uses the third row of seats on a daily basis, and this is one of the reasons why I didnt choose another 80 series to replace my written off one. The second row seating is a 50/50 split which in my case meant the kids who had to sit in the third row had to climb over the middle row seat backs as my middle row outer seating positions where utilized with kids seats so they couldn't be flipped up to allow easier access. There's much better options in the 4WD market now that have better access to the third row and are more comfortable as well, but I imagine the number of people who need to use that 3rd row on a daily basis is fairly small.