The oldest new ATV on the Australian market, out of reach of many interested buyers, has proven its worth as a heavy duty off-road vehicle. However, his main strength and attractiveness is also his main weakness.
I want you to sit down because this is not a cheap car. A regular single-cab 79 Series LandCruiser GXL sells for around $73,000 (excluding travel expenses), and this limited edition jack soars to just over $80,500.
In a sense, this is a moot point. Because Australians really can’t get enough of this LandCruiser. Faced with a huge number of orders, a growing waiting list and a blocked supply chain, Toyota stopped taking orders for a simple, old-fashioned and expensive car.
Despite the high markup, this limited-edition 70th anniversary model moves faster than a cat on a hot roof.
What does LandCruiser compete with today? Not much, really. Nissan used to offer a single cab variant of the old Y61 (or GU) Patrol and the old Defender Land Rover also had a few single cab options. The Mercedes-Benz G-Class – stunningly expensive – did not last long.
A wider range of 4×4 models – HiLux, Ranger, D-Max and BT-50 among others – offer single cab 4×4 models with large payloads. They are cheaper, more convenient, more modern and more adjustable. However, they are not considered as heavy and durable as this LandCruiser.
Perhaps the upcoming Ineos Grenadier can really compete with the LandCruiser 70 series.
Old-fashioned four-wheel drive – with an active front axle and other all-wheel drive equipment – has proven to be weak in modern times. However, Suzuki Jimny cannot be fully described as a workhorse. And it’s not a Jeep Wrangler or a Gladiator.
There isn’t much to say about the interior of the single-cab LandCruiser because (a) the interior is very basic, and (b) it ends very abruptly, right at the back of your head.
While the 70 Series LandCruiser’s dashboard is relatively new (at least in the last 20 years), the overall ergonomics are classic old-school all-wheel drive. If you love this piece, you may be overwhelmed by the excitement of nostalgia. If not, it just looks like a brand new, very old car. From an ergonomic point of view, the 70 series is not particularly suitable for long trips.
This 70th Anniversary model comes with some flash mods like a cup holder and a USB socket. Something is missing from the regular 70 series (except for the single USB point on the infotainment display).
The interior is further divided by some “premium” seat upholstery, a new steering wheel, and faux wood on the dashboard with “70th Anniversary” decals inlaid. Interestingly, Toyota simply slips faux-leather lever boots over standard vinyl boots that are easy to spot (especially on the handbrake).
Otherwise, it’s still the same story and experience from the late 2000s. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Behind the seats there is indeed a small amount of storage space for a small backpack or large bag.
The special edition LandCruiser features a relatively new (for the model) 6.1-inch infotainment display, something the 70-series LandCruiser has not seen in previous years. It’s now standard on all models, but it lacks features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and digital radio. However, it does have local navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and a CD player.
Back in 2016, Toyota worked hard to achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating for the 79-series LandCruiser, which included additional safety equipment and technology, as well as some structural changes. However, this five-star rating does not apply to the 79 Series double cab or any other variant.
That being said, a five-star ANCAP rating doesn’t mean LandCruiser is in the lead when it comes to safety certifications. It lacks advanced safety features such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.
Other 70-series Land Cruisers use dual front airbags only, while the single-cab 79 uses additional curtains and a driver’s knee airbag.
Service intervals for the 70 Series LandCruiser are 6 months and 10,000 km, requiring twice as many dealer visits as most other vehicles on the road.
This can be a problem for some due to the increase in cost and time spent at the dealership. However, those who have actually put the car into service can keep a close eye on their workhorse.
Based on comparative quotes from a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, New South Wales, the total premium for the LandCruiser 79 series was set at $2,246.69. Insurance estimates may vary depending on your location, driving history and personal circumstances.
It’s also worth noting that the above quote is for the GXL spec and not the more expensive and limited edition 70th Anniversary model.
While Toyota claims 10.7 liters per 100 kilometers, buyers shouldn’t expect to see a figure close to actual usage. While the engine is undeniably torquey, the low gearing in the five-speed transmission means you’ll need good throttle to keep this LandCruiser in motion.
On the highway, our 79 Series LandCruiser used a lot more than advertised. At worst it’s around 18L/100km due to the high RPM you see at high speeds. Having to drop to fourth to really rack your brains when overtaking—pedals soldered to the firewall feel like minutes—doesn’t help, of course.
In total, we’ve covered almost 6,000 kilometers (on and off road) on this LandCruiser, as well as the 300 Series LandCruiser, which currently consists of five parts.
On the other hand, and rather amusingly, the 79 Series manages to use less fuel off-road as it traverses the red sands of the Simpson Desert. That’s a good indicator of how happy this engine is: around 15L/100km in the desert when cruising at low rpm with plenty of torque.
With 130 liters of usable fuel, the LandCruiser Series 79 crossed the Simpson Desert with plenty of fuel.
Sliding into the somewhat cramped cabin of the 79th is like a time machine. It has a lot in common with LandCruisers from the 1980s and reminds me of my own Land Rover Defender in terms of ergonomics.
As soon as you turn that key to wake the 1VD-FTV 4.5-litre V8 diesel from its slumber – ticking loudly with a languid rumble – you will begin to forgive the machine many faults and shortcomings. The engine is large, has a nice octagonal format, and also makes a nice sound in its stock form.
You’d be forgiven for being disappointed to read the specs of this beloved engine when other utes models deliver more torque from engines that are less than twice the size. Its 151 kW at 3400 rpm is not much, and 430 Nm seems like a typo. Are you sure it’s more?
No. This is an engine presented in a completely relaxed and relaxed format. Although there is not much torque, you can use it in any rpm range: 1200-3200 rpm. At idle, the engine’s power (and low gearing) gives a strong sense of natural torque that nothing else can match.
In the first few gears – and they shifted quickly – the LandCruiser felt energized and responsive. However, this feeling will gradually wear off until you feel very sleepy on the highway.
Toyota tinkered a bit with the five-speed transmission a few years ago, but the engine still revs so high and nasty on the highway that it feels like it has little to offer. Fuel economy isn’t great, and you have to press the gas for a long time to pass on the highway.
It can use a different gear ratio, but it will also need extra high RPM to match the non-idling muscles.
The ride quality – stiff heavy-duty suspension like a truck – drops off a bit with the load on the side. While the weight of the camping gear, extra spare tire, and desert fluids was decent, I was still surprised by how much the rear suspension sagged.
SUV, that’s a different story. Not only does the suspension handle tough off-road tasks without breaking a sweat, the V8 goes from sloppy to perfect. With a low gear available throughout the rev range, a lockable differential and plenty of torque, you’ll be a great companion for low-speed desert cruising and the occasional stomp on the gas pedal.
The sagging rear suspension really draws attention in the desert, and some of the tray sag sometimes feels too close to the ground. The license plate holder, in particular, ended up in the line of fire, hitting the sand without enough clearance. But the bottom clearance is good, and the standard LandCruiser tows all the dunes and clay discs of the Simpson Desert without any problems.
Much of this LandCruiser’s appeal has nothing to do with how it looks on the show floor. More importantly, we are talking about the possibility of increasing performance through modifications and accessories. Even a softer track with some better tyres, a suspension lift and some extra protection will greatly improve an already capable stock product.
How far can you go? In this case, the sky (and your budget) is really the limit. In order to increase the power output, stretch the chassis and convert the coil, we can make extensive engine modifications.
Not to mention the fact that this LandCruiser 79 series performs poorly compared to the wider range of vehicles sold in Australia. It’s rough, old, and falls far behind other cars on important metrics like safety, refinement, performance, and functionality.
While ranking numbers aren’t exactly free, that doesn’t matter. Because this car competes with other models in the Australian market. This is a blunt weapon in a sharp world, doing its job with an uncompromising purpose, completely compromised.
Most people who buy this car don’t need it. They can save money and buy better things in a variety of ways. But you can also say any number of sports, luxury, and performance cars, as well as a plethora of SUVs.
Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, 4WDs and camping since 2013 and has been obsessed with anything longer than he can remember. Sam joined the CarAdvice/Drive team in 2018 as Off-Road Editor after breaking through Pat Cullinan’s Unsealed 4X4 and 4X4 Adventures.
DAP Pricing – Unless otherwise noted, all prices are listed as Manufacturer’s Suggested List Prices (MRLP), including GST, excluding options and travel expenses.
Post time: Sep-27-2022