By Steve & Tamami Laser
How popular is the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series? Australians have bought more than 250,000 units during the past 30 years in single and double cab ute (pickup), and wagon and troop carrier body styles.
This versatile workhorse is an off-road legend with its tough box-section chassis, simple part-time 4WD system with two-speed transfer, lockable hubs, low-range gearing, long-range fuel tanks and excellent ground clearance.
Instead of putting this long-running truck out to pasture, Toyota Australia plans to release improved models in the fourth quarter of this year. Its engineers have subjected the Land Cruiser 70 Series upgrade to more than “100,000 km of testing” in some of the harshest conditions around Australia.
About 70 percent of the testing was conducted in off-road conditions, including everything from corrugated dirt roads to rugged cattle properties with severe washouts.
Toyota Australia says that local testing and evaluation, which focused on the best-selling single cab-chassis, will help make the new vehicle even stronger due to the adoption of a stiffer new frame with thicker side rails, while reducing vibration and reportedly improving handling and stability.
The Australian engineers have also tuned new safety features including vehicle stability and traction control for performance in areas where the vehicle is mostly used: dirt roads, rural properties and country highways.
All 70 Series variants will be equipped with new safety features including hill-start assist control, brake assist, electronic brake-force distribution and cruise control.
Toyota Australia projects that the single cab is expected to attract the maximum “five-star” (ANCAP) safety rating with five airbags, gaining curtain-shield airbags and a driver’s knee airbag in addition to the existing driver and front-passenger airbags.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the updates have been made possible by a substantial commitment of engineering resources and investment by the company in Japan and in Australia.
“The upgraded 70 Series Land Cruiser range builds on this iconic vehicle’s fit-for-purpose appeal with improvements that reinforce its heavy-duty abilities, durability and unapologetically rugged character,” he said. “At the same time, it receives important safety and emissions updates that are required by many customers, as well as regulators, to enable Toyota to continue selling the 70 Series in the Australian market.”
This video released by Toyota in Japan last year demonstrates the remarkably rugged chassis. The 30th Anniversary Edition of the Land Cruiser 70 was offered in Japan during 2014-2015. (video: Toyota)
The new range for Australia retains the 4.5-liter V8 turbo-diesel engine with common-rail direct injection and an intercooler, which the company says will be certified to the “Euro 5” emissions standard.
It will also be fitted with piezo injectors designed for better response at low engine speeds. The manual-only transmission is retained with revised gearing aimed at improving fuel economy and lowering noise, vibration and harshness.
Land Cruiser is Toyota’s longest-running nameplate with its origins going back to the BJ of 1951. The 4WD vehicle was renamed Land Cruiser in 1954. In Australia, one of the first Land Cruiser customers was construction magnate Sir Leslie Thiess, who bought several for use on the rugged construction trails of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.
For more information on the current Land Cruiser lineup Down Under visit Toyota Australia.
Note: The top three photos in this story show the 2016 Land Cruiser 70 GXL Cab Chassis fitted with an optional tray.
Models, features and specifications are for the Australia market and are subject to change without notice by the automaker.
News source and photos courtesy Toyota Australia Ltd. Video from Toyota Motor Corp.
Story © 2016 CarNichiWa.com