While the full-size Land Cruiser was busy rubbing shoulders with the stealth wealth set from Bangkok to Montauk and the Prado was fulfilling a light-duty role, their smaller, ruggedized sibling was doing the world’s hard work without complaint. It’s done such an effective job that while five generations of comfort-oriented full-size Cruiser have been offered since 1984, the J70 has been going strong with just one generation. For the first time in 15 years, the iconic 70 series Land Cruiser has been updated once again, and although we still aren’t able to buy it for road use in North America, it’s going back on sale in its home market of Japan having proved itself to be a legend.
Up front, the new 70 series Land Cruiser gets round LED headlights and a mesh upper grille, bringing the 70 series Land Cruiser in-line with its new American counterpart while throwing things back to the original front clip. The separate fender-mounted indicator units are another lovely retro touch [Editor’s Note: Seriously, I love to see non-integrated indicator units in the modern era! They’re fantastic! – JT] , and even the channel running down the center of the hood is a throwback to OG 70 series models. I guess what’s old is really new again, right?
It’s a similar deal with the interior, evolutionary rather than revolutionary while paying tribute to heritage. The updated steering wheel is sure to be appreciated, and the same goes for the 6.7-inch infotainment screen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Although the modern connectivity on deck brings the 70 Series Land Cruiser into the 2020s, the new gauge cluster with squircle dials feels straight out of the ‘80s in the best way possible, all while integrating a tiny 4.2-inch digital display for powertrain information.
Speaking of powertrain stuff, a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel mated to a six-speed automatic transmission comes fitted as standard equipment, pumping out a reasonable 201 horsepower and a strong 368 lb.-ft. of torque. If you want a manual gearbox, you’ll have to step up to the 4.5-liter turbodiesel V8 which curiously makes 52 fewer lb.-ft. of torque than the four-banger but 1.341 more horsepower. Those figures don’t sound brilliant for a V8, but the 1VD-FTV is a relatively understressed engine, so don’t be surprised if it lasts basically forever.
With an impressive production run coming up on 40 years, the 70 series Toyota Land Cruiser isn’t exactly the paragon of refinement. You won’t find Greenwich, Conn. types running errands in these things, but that’s what the full-size Land Cruisers are for. If the 70 series is good enough for mining, winning wars, and going wherever the U.N. needs it to go, chances are it’ll be good enough for whatever you throw at it. If that isn’t enough, here’s an Australian proverb: “If you want to go into the bush, take a Land Rover. If you want to get out of the bush, take a Land Cruiser.”
(Photo credits: Toyota)
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