Avatar photo

By Mark Jones

Road Test Editor

You want a Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series because you want one

New engine and specification upgrade give this old school SUV a few modern touches.

There is nothing I am going to say to you that will convince you to buy a Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series.

Just as there is nothing I could say to you that I will say to you to stop you from buying one either. It’s that simple. You won’t care how good or bad it is, or how much it costs. You either want one or you don’t!

The title of the official press release goes along the lines of “Iconic Land Cruiser 70 Series range receives an upgrade: New powertrain, retro styling and advanced technology”.

But when I spent 30 minutes trying to find the non-existent buttons to adjust the exterior mirrors, I realised that The Citizen Motoring‘s week in the family-orientated 76 Station Wagon in base LX spec was going to be more much tongue-in-cheek than a serious ”nuts and bolts” review.

I mean it is 2024, and here I am lying across the front seats trying to reach the passenger door mirror to poke and prod it into place.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series puts on a new face

Land Cruiser 70 Series gets new engine

That done, you are finally ready to put the (physical) key in the ignition and fire up the new to the range 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that has done duty in the Hilux and Fortuner for years now.

It produces 150 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque which is enough for any job. And despite this being the new sweet spot between the lethargic 96 kW / 285 Nm 4.2-litre naturally aspirated diesel and the equally powerful 151 kW, less torquey 430 Nm, 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel, I think there will still be hard core buyers will opt for the V8. Just because they can of course.

Land Cruiser 76
The Land Cruiser 76 Station Wagon features additional external garnishing in VX spec. Picture: Toyota

But what they won’t get when doing this, is the easy shifting the six-speed auto box, which is also new and exclusive to these 2.8-litre models. I loved the convenience. But then again, the only time I have to farm with a cow is when it appears on my plate. Sorry vegans, I know this is offensive, but I don’t think you are the target demographic for a Land Cruiser 70 Series anyway. Real farmers are less likely to admit to enjoying have a car change gears for them.

ALSO READ: Toyota Land Cruiser 79 solidified as an icon time cannot break

More frugal than before

I would also like to think there will be a noticeable fuel saving when going for the 2.8 over the 4.5. But I can’t even begin to tell you how much diesel I used in our 76 Station Wagon. The only on-board computer giving out fuel consumption data would be the one in your laptop bag, and I never had the vehicle long enough to have to refill it.

As before, the Land Cruiser 70 Series range has a part-time 4×4 system with low-range gearing that requires actually moving and activating gear levers. It also features durable live axles and front coil suspension, and front and rear locking differentials, exclusive to the 2.8-litre models, for what is renowned to offer the ultimate off-road traction.

This is where the Land Cruiser 70 Series should remain; off-road. Because on-road you realise that the steering is connected to the wheels with gently heated spaghetti so slow and indirect is the response to any input by the driver.

ALSO READ: New Land Cruiser Prado: What we know about SA model so far

Land Cruiser 76
Toyota offers a dealer fitted cooler box. Picture: Toyota

Old dog learns new tricks

And if you don’t manage to stop bouncing around long enough to push the tiny + volume button on the small infotainment screen while on the move, you at least have the wind noise blowing through the cabin to keep you entertained.

What you do get is a new centre console consisting of a lidded centre storage box, cupholder and multiple small item compartments. My 76 Station Wagon had new second-row seats with 60:40 split-folding-functionality that you can tumble forward to maximise cargo space. Which was all that I was ever going to lug around because my family felt it was best if me and my “Fred Flintstone car” spent a lot of alone time together.

The Toyota Land Cruiser 76 2.8 GD-6 Diesel LX Station Wagon retails for a suggested R999 900, and comes with a three-year / 100 000km warranty and the offer of an optional 100 000 km service plan.

Read more on these topics

Road Tests SUV Toyota Land Cruiser