AUSTRALIA will be the first market in the world to get the newly-developed Toyota 70 Series LandCruiser Double Cab, on the back of insatiable demand from the mining sector.
The new bodystyle – which is the fourth member of the venerable 70-Series range alongside the Cab Chassis, Troop Carrier and Wagon – will hit showrooms from late September in two specification levels priced from $63,990 plus on-road costs.
All 70-Series models, including Workmate and GXL dual-cab variants (priced from $67,990 plus ORC), also receive various extra standard features as part of a production upgrade, but come at the cost of price increases across the range between $250 and $1350.
New features include an air-inlet snorkel on the A-pillar, improved seats, an in-dash multi function clock and a new audio system with Bluetooth, audio streaming and voice recognition.
Also new are the long-awaited anti-lock brakes, the first major safety improvement since driver and front-passenger airbags were added in 2009.
Despite these additions, the lack of stability control and side curtain airbags mean the 70-Series cannot attain a five-star ANCAP score, hurting its prospects as mining fleets adopt increasingly stringent safety requirements.
Mining giant BHP Billiton – a major Toyota client - recently mandated all it vehicles be five-star from 2013.
The current single cab-chassis 70-Series ute scores just three ANCAP stars.
Unlike with the 70-Series, Toyota Australia recently announced its plans to attain five ANCAP stars for the entire HiLux range by adding stability control and a full complement of airbags as part of a MY13 update.
As with the rest of the range, the dual cab is powered by a Euro 4-compliant common-rail direct-injection 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel engine used that produces 151kW of power at 3400rpm.
Toyota claims the diesel V8 has the flattest torque curve of any of its engines, with 430Nm generated between 1200 and 3200rpm.
The engine is matched to a standard five-speed manual gearbox and part-time four-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case.
Both dual-cab ute variants feature the same long-range 130-litre fuel tanks.
Toyota Australia's executive director of sales and marketing Matthew Callachor said mining companies and other regional and rural communities have been keenly awaiting the rugged dual-cab – the first time the decades-old 70-Series range has been available in this guise.
“The 70-Series is so popular for the really tough jobs that customers have been modifying the wagon version to provide the flexibility of a double-cab ute,” he said.
“The double cab will carry five adults as well as providing a one-tonne payload for their heavy gear, such as surveying equipment.
“For other customers, including farmers, the large cabin will allow the kids to ride along, while also offering the touring benefits of a dual-cab ute along with the legendary LandCruiser toughness.”
The 70-Series range has been available in various guises for several decades. The wagon version and the 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 were introduced as part of a major facelift in 2007.
Dual-cab Workmate variants come with 16-inch steel split rims, aluminium side steps, vinyl seat facings and floor coverings, black bumpers and the extra-cost option of diff locks.
The GXL version gains 16-inch alloy wheels, over-fender flares, remote central locking, differential locks, fog lamps, power windows, carpet and cloth seats.
Toyota Australia said customer loyalty on the 70-Series is “remarkably strong”, with most buyers replacing an existing 70-Series model. Their prevalence as work vehicles have even seen some examples fitted with rail arms to travel on train tracks.
The new addition should further bolster an already strong growth year for the 70-Series, with single-cab ute sales up 41.2 per cent year-to-date.
Toyota 70-Series LandCruiser pricing (plus on-roads):