The Toyota Land Cruiser has been around in one form or another for 60 years now. Remarkably, the 70 series has been in production for half that time and you can still buy it today.
Now, the Land Cruiser range is a little confusing, so a bit of explanation first. At the top of the tree sits the 200 series, a vast thing that was available in the UK until recently, loaded with all the bells and whistles. Below that is the – completely unrelated – 150, which we still get in the UK. It has a loyal following here among those who need something ultra-rugged, hugely capable off-road and with a big towing capacity, but that’s easier to live with than a Land Rover Defender.
Let’s keep the Land Rover comparison going: the 200 is equivalent to the Range Rover, the 150 to the Discovery and the 70 to the sadly-departed Defender. It is the utilitarian, go-anywhere, do-anything workhorse of the Land Cruiser range.
And just like the Defender, the 70 series hasn’t changed much since it was launched in 1984. The styling has been facelifted a couple of times, but it’s still instantly recognisable. And it still has solid axles, though the front suspension was changed to coil springs in 1999.
Engine choice has been switched around over the years; the current range includes six-cylinder petrol and diesel units and – in certain markets – the same whopping-great 4.5-litre V8 diesel found in the 200. 202bhp and 317lb/ft may not sound like much from such a big engine, but it’s plenty in a chassis originally designed to handle about half that.
If you want one in the UK – particularly the V8 – the best plan would be to import it from Australia. We’d go for a stripped-out troop carrier in desert beige.
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By Graham King