Toyota's hard-working Land Cruiser 70 Series range has had a 2013 model-year update, which sees the addition of a new Double Cab version, and the adoption of ABS on all models, and a raft of other improvements across the range.
The new body style — which is the fourth member of the venerable 70-Series range alongside the existing (albeit subtly revised) Single Cab, Station Wagon and Wagon (aka troop carrier) — have already hit local showrooms.
"If you want the world's toughest 4WD, for work, towing, or extensive off-road travel, this is it," says Kerry Roodt, Toyota South Africa's General Manager of Marketing Communications.
The newest member of the Land Cruiser 70 family was borne out of a real need to have a vehicle that combines the carrying capacity of a pick-up with the flexibility of a double cab.
"The Double Cab will carry five adults in comfort without sacrificing the one-ton payload (920kg for the diesel and 1005kg for the petrol model) or the Land Cruiser’s legendary toughness — in short, it delivers go-anywhere carrying capacity in style," says Roodt.
A 4.2-litre diesel engine is available across the range. It delivers 96kW at 3800rpm while offering 285Nm from 2200rpm. There's also the option of the 4.0-litre petrol powerplant on the Land Cruiser 79 Single Cab and Double Cab. Power comes in at 170kW at 5600rpm and torque at 360Nm at 3800rpm.
All models come standard with a differential lock, five-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive system with hardy low-range transfer box for staggering off-road ability. The new ABS braking system operates when the vehicle is in H2 and H4 modes (except when differential locks are engaged). As before, brakes are ventilated discs at the front but all 70-series models now have rear disc brakes too. While on the subject of safety, driver and front passenger airbags are standard across the board and the characteristic extended front bumper prevents unnecessary airbag response during hard-core off-roading.
Suspension is the proven combination of live axles front and rear with coil springs at the front and leaf springs bringing up the rear. The latter rigid axle rear suspension ensures that occupants are always comfortable.
Also worth noting is the ground clearance — the 76 Station Wagon boasts a ground clearance of 230mm, while the Land Cruiser 78 Wagon and 79 Pick-up variants are 235mm above the ground, allowing the vehicle to tackle any off-road condition.
Naturally prized more as a tough workhorse, there's nevertheless a healthy dollop of retro appeal going on here as well. Spec levels are also not purely utilitarian — along with the indestructibility are more than just a few niceties. For example, all models get power steering, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, air conditioning, electric windows, electric mirrors and a 12V accessory connector. And now, they all come with remote central locking.
In keeping with its role as a people carrier (for up to five people), the 76 Station Wagon is the most extravagantly equipped, boasting such interior extras as carpeted flooring, on-board SatNav, and stereo system incorporating a CD player and an auxiliary USB port. Aesthetically the most refined of the 70 "quads", the 76 is adorned with combination colour-coded and chromed accoutrements (bumpers, grille, over fenders), aluminium side steps and 16-inch alloys. For the 2013 model, a 130-litre fuel tank replaces the 90-litre unit and a spare wheel cover is added to the standard package.
Next up is the hardy three-door 78 Wagon. This never-say-die trooper is equipped with twin 90-litre fuel tanks (total 180-litre capacity) and is now distinguished by twin front fog lamps.
Then come the 79s — first up in Single Cab guise. Not quite as ascetically functional as the 78, these models are now "pimped" with colour-coded and chromed exterior trim, front fog lamps and colour-matched over-fenders. Like their 78 siblings, the 79 Single Cabs boast a combined fuel capacity of 180 litres.
New kids on the block — the 79 Double Cabs — are cosmetically differentiated from their Single Cab stable-mates by the addition of two rear doors, as well as the deletion of over-fenders and 16-inch alloys (available as an option). Move indoors, however, and they gain extra kit in the form of on-board SatNav, a stereo system and USB port. The Double Cabs are equipped with a 130-litre fuel tank.
Land Cruiser 76 Station Wagon (4.2 Diesel): R506 700
Land Cruiser 78 Wagon (4.2 Diesel): R484 000
Land Cruiser 79 Pick-Up Single Cab (4.0 Petrol): R417 900
Land Cruiser 79 Pick-Up Single Cab (4.2 Diesel): R444 800
Land Cruiser 79 Pick-Up Double Cab (4.0 Petrol): R463 900
Land Cruiser 79 Pick-Up Double Cab (4.2 Diesel): R487 000
All new Land Cruiser 70 Series models come with Toyota's three-year or 100 000km warranty.