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Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series raises the bar

Pick of the crop: Toyota has lavished the most comprehensive upgrades on the single-cab LandCruiser 70 Series, which is the highest-selling body style.

Engine tweaks, stability control and spec upgrades modernise Toyota’s LandCruiser 70

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Toyota logo26 Oct 2016

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

UPDATED: 28/10/16TOYOTA has finally installed a suite of safety electronics to the rugged LandCruiser 70 Series range, along with engine tweaks claimed to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10.1 per cent and a handful of other minor improvements.

Single-cab variants receive more comprehensive upgrades as part of a re-engineering package that enabled the most popular 70 Series body style to achieve a maximum five-star ANCAP crash-test safety rating, up from three stars. The double-cab, wagon and troop carrier remain unrated.

The single-cab’s upgrade to five-star crashworthiness is the culmination of a five-year development and evaluation program undertaken in Australia by local Toyota engineers and their Japanese colleagues, including more than 100,000km of testing in the harshest conditions this country could throw at it, 70 per cent of which was off-road.

A larger, sturdier frame with thicker side rails, two new crossmembers and three that are re-engineered, provides increased torsional stiffness and supports 12 new or thickened body panels including the pillars, doors and floor.

The bonnet is also altered, with a power bulge helping to provide additional clearance above engine bay components and improve the vehicle’s pedestrian impact rating, although ANCAP handed down a ‘marginal’ rating in this category after its independent testing.

Inside the single-cab are five airbags comprising dual front, side curtains and one for the driver’s knee. There is also under-dash padding for the passenger and the steering linkage has been moved behind the front axle for additional safety.

Relocating the single-cab’s steering linkage has forced the adoption of a single 130-litre fuel tank, as fitted to the wagon and double-cab (troop carriers continue with two 90-litre tanks), but Toyota points out that improved fuel consumption helps to offset the reduced tank capacity. There are also new whiplash-reducing bucket seats attached to new mounting points, and upholstered for greater lateral and lumbar support.

Toyota says the engineering changes, supported by locally tuned recalibrated dampers, reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels as well as improving handling and stability without compromising ride comfort.

Although only the single-cab gets the engineering and airbag changes for now, equally critical to safety is the long-overdue addition of electronic stability control for all 70 Series variants as part of a technology upgrade also including traction control, hill-start assist, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution.

Furthermore, all models now get front seatbelt pretensioners and a front passenger seatbelt reminder.

The stability control disengages when low-range gearing is selected and Toyota claims the traction control, which operates in both high- and low-range but can be disabled for sand driving, eliminates the need for a limited-slip differential.

Also bringing the iconic Toyota mud-plugger into the 21st Century are wider single-piece 16-inch steel wheels with tubeless tyres for WorkMate variants, banishing the skinny old split-rim items and their inner tubes to the history books.

Cruise control is also now standard, as are auto-locking front hubs with manual ‘lock’ option, although air-conditioning remains a $2761 option along with $1500 for differential locks on the single-cab GX and double-cab WorkMate. Premium paint is $550.

Recognising that the 70 Series is one of the most accessorised vehicles sold in Australia, Toyota has also added a bank of 10 fuses to aid the safe connection of extra lights and other electrical gadgets.

Other under-bonnet changes have been wrought on the 151kW/430Nm 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel engine, which has gained piezo-electric injectors, a particulate filter and taller gearing in the five-speed manual’s second and fifth ratios.

The result is a 10.1 per cent drop in fuel consumption on the combined cycle, down to 10.7 litres of per 100 kilometres, plus reduced emissions.

Toyota says the changes also provide both greater responsiveness and more relaxed driving, while still being able to simultaneously carry maximum payload and tow its full 3500kg rated capacity.

In return for the enhancements, Toyota has upped dual-cab prices by $5500. Double-cab, troop carrier and wagon variants are now priced $3000 higher.

This translates into $62,490 plus on-road costs for the base Workmate, $64,490 for the mid-spec GX and $66,490 for the top-line GXL.

A WorkMate wagon is now $60,990 or $64,990 for the GXL and the troop carrier is $64,890 for the WorkMate and $67,990 for the GXL, while double-cabs now start at $64,990 for the WorkMate, rising to $68,990 for the GXL.

Capped-price servicing is available at $340 per pitstop for the first six maintenance intervals over three years or 60,000km.

Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the 70 Series update has “guaranteed the future” of the go-anywhere vehicle that is favoured by miners, farmers, off-road enthusiasts and grey nomads.

“Toyota Australia was determined to return their loyalty and, with the support of our parent company, devoted significant resources to ensure we and our dealers could continue to meet demand,” he said.

“The only alternative was to walk away from this model – and that was not an option.”

Mr Cramb added that Australians had almost one-in-five of all 70 Series LandCruisers sold around the world.

Sales of the 70 Series are up 7.7 to the end of September this year, with 5385 leaving showrooms. Toyota tends to shift around 8000 examples per year on average.

2016 Toyota 70 Series LandCruiser pricing*
Single cab-chassis
WorkMate$62,490
GX$64,490
GXL$66,490
Dual cab-chassis
WorkMate$64,990
GXL$68,990
Wagon
WorkMate$60,990
GXL$64,990
Troop carrier
WorkMate$64,890
GXL$67,990
*Excludes on-road costs

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