The 70 Series is a family of Toyota Land Cruiser models produced since 1984. It replaced the 25-year-old 40 Series as the off-road model of the Land Cruiser lineup, while the contemporary 60 Series developed into more comfortable luxury SUVs starting with the 80 Series. Despite major changes in styling and numerous technological updates, the 70 Series was designed to retain the off-road capabilities and durability associated with the 40 Series.
Legendary is a much overused word but, in the case of the Land Cruiser 70 series, it is completely justified. 30 years on from its debut, the Land Cruiser 70 series can still claim to be the most rugged, most reliable vehicle for handling the harshest conditions and toughest situations which life can throw at it.
It is the standard fleet vehicle for many front-line agencies who demand the ultimate in dependability. Customers can trust this model to deliver unprecedented performance.
The 70-Series is one of the last uncivilised Landcruisers. That's not to put it down. It was simply designed to work hard. Built on a ladder frame, the 70-Series came in a range of models in short and long wheelbases with ute, hardtop and troop carrier body styles.
The 79 Series Single-Cab comes with a five-star ANCAP safety rating from assessment conducted in 2016. It’s the only version of the LandCruiser 70 to carry that rating.
This was based on a frontal offset crash rating of 14.75 out of 16 and a side impact score of 16 out of 16, while whiplash and pedestrian protection were rated Good and Marginal, respectively. The caveat here is this older 2016 assessment is less intensive than the current regime.
Standard safety equipment includes:
No active safety or convenience systems, such as autonomous emergency braking, lane support systems or a reversing camera, are fitted outside of the passive cruise control feature.
It’s also surprisingly comfy. The seating, the legroom and headroom, the control placement all makes for a likeable and fatigue-free place to spend long stints in the saddle. The bluff dash fascia, hardy surfaces, even the baseball bat-like gear shifter are all in comfortable reach and the materials used are utterly ideal for the sorts of tough, dirty, muddy environments the 70 Series was designed to tackle.
On that, the real head-scratcher is the seat trim: the GXL on which the 70th Anniversary is based, upgrades from vinyl to cloth, and yet our tester fits grey trim clearly sourced from a plastic cow. Toyota calls it “premium black upholstery” but it looks and feels just like grey vinyl. Ditto the supposed “leather” trimmed wheel, complete with kitschy ’80s fake wood (as also found in the new 300 Series).
Stowage is mix of small trays that look like an afterthought. Then you discover it works surprisingly well. Your phone slots neatly in the square holster below the air-con control, right by the front USB ports and the matted oddment cubbies are ideal for keys and small objects, while wallets fit neatly in the slim door bins.
Traction is impressive. The knobbly tyre tread provides good mechanical grip, even on the slippery mud, but it’s really the active traction control that’s the hero – plying the best from the rubber and directing torque to the wheels that demand it, cleanly and transparently. It’s a real boon in tight situations where the diff locks cause noticeable bind-up (tight turns) or where the locked rear axle wants to skip sideways when you don’t want it to.
Entry and breakover clearances are excellent and as the torque wave slowly and effortlessly forges the Toyota through the course, the only impact is the rear number plate assembly, which hangs ridiculously low. After one modestly challenging pass, the plate is a mangled mess.