2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute review (video)

Brett Davis

Yes, we know it is flawed in many ways. But in a world of electronic this and automated that, the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is a charmingly honest and relentlessly durable proposition that its buyers just can’t get enough of.

Literally, too. Toyota has had to put a stop on taking orders because it can’t keep up with the demand. Well, to be honest this is mainly due to ongoing parts shortages and other related factors. Toyota Australia sent out a notice in July to say it is not currently accepting orders and that it will provide further updates when it can. Even so, the local arm manages to sell around 1000 70 Series utes every month, and sometimes more during some months.

The vehicle we’re looking at here is the 70th Anniversary Edition. It’s easy to spot thanks to the black front bumper bar and front wheel arch flares, and the dark grey 16-inch alloy wheels. Extra bits and pieces are also found inside, denoting its status.

Toyota Australia offers four different body styles of the 70 Series, including wagon (76 Series), Troop Carrier (78 Series), and single- and dual-cab ute (79 Series). This single-cab version offers impressive payload (1225kg) and towing capacities (3500kg), but perhaps more importantly, the gross combination mass is a whopping 6900kg. Yep, just under 7 tonnes. There aren’t many utes or SUVs on the market that can match this.

You do have to pay a sizeable price for such capability though, with this single-cab special edition kicking off from $80,050. Dropping the special edition pack – likely all sold out anyway – and the price starts from $73,050 (excluding on-road costs).

2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series 70th Anniversary Edition – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8
Output: 151kW@3400rpm / 430Nm@1200-3200rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Drive type: Part-time RWD/4WD, front & rear diff locks
Wheels: F & R: 16×7.0, 265/70
ANCAP: Five stars
Kerb weight: 2175kg
Power-to-weight: 14.40:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 10.7L/100km
Economy during test: 12.2L/100km
Fuel capacity/Type: 130L/Diesel[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Power efficiency: 14.11kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 5.49 seconds*
0-100km/h: 13.69 seconds*
60-110km/h: 11.21 seconds*
1/4 mile: 19.07 seconds at 118.9km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.741g
100-0km/h braking: 3.41 seconds at 43.11 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.154g
Decibel at idle: 59*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 87*
Priced from: $80,050[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive on the day. Factory claims may be different

2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute – THE PACKAGE

We admire the 70 Series so much mainly because it’s like having an immaculately restored classic, only this is brand new and covered by Toyota’s factory five-year warranty. Being old-school however means this is very much a heavy duty vehicle, where durability and capability are put before luxury and creature comforts. It uses a proper ladder-frame chassis, for example, with live axle suspension front and rear.

The ground clearance is rated at 235mm, with a 33-degree approach angle and 27-degree departure angle. However, most of the low-hanging components are either rock-solid or covered by a thick protection plate. So, if it doesn’t quite clear obstacles, it’ll pulverise them and clear the path as it goes.

The uniquely-coloured alloy wheels are wrapped in 265/70 all-terrain tyres, hiding four-piston fixed-caliper brakes on the front, and single-piston floating calipers on the back. As you can imagine, grip on the dirt is great, even in boggy mud, with little compromise to on-road comfort and noise (for this style of vehicle). However, more serious off-road fans will obviously be looking to upgrade the tyres, as the standard tread pattern is fairly mild for hardcore terrain.

Inside, there’s nothing flash or flamboyant going on in here. It’s all about getting to work. Although, this special edition does come with a unique centre console, wood trimming on the dash, black upholstery, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The centre console is a very handy addition in particular, offering a pair of cup holders and twin charging ports, as well as a storage box with two more charging ports. Simple and basic by today’s standards, but such initiatives really boost this old machine’s everyday practicality.

Passenger comfort is decent, and the driving position is better than what is presented in some of the popular dual-cab diesel utes on the market at the moment. You get a great view of the surrounding traffic too thanks to tall and completely flat windows. Since this special edition is based on the GXL flagship, it does comes with power windows, central locking and keyless entry, but not keyless start.

There’s a touch-screen media interface on the dash running Toyota’s older operating system, with some apps such as radio and sat-nav. Unfortunately a rear-view camera is not standard on this single-cab model, but an update coming later this year is bringing in a decent boost in safety.

The GXL comes with carpet flooring while the lower grades feature a more durable plastic floor setup, perfect for really mucky conditions. Even so, the genuine Toyota thick rubber mats do a fantastic job of keeping the floor clean.

2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute – THE DRIVE

Under the bonnet you’ll find the trusty 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8. This is a single-turbo version of the old twin-turbo V8 found in the 200 Series. The on-paper specs are not impressive. Peak power is just 151kW, which is dismal for this size engine in 2022, and even the peak torque figure of 430Nm is near what you get in many 2.0L turbo four-cylinder petrol engines these days.

As you can probably assume though, Toyota employs a very conservative tune for the sake of absolute reliability. In fact, aftermarket tuners can unlock heaps more power and torque with relatively simple mods if you really need it. We’ve seen figures of around 800Nm with ECU tweaks and a freer-flowing exhaust. Some fans also like to lengthen the final drive ratio for improved highway gearing.

In standard form the LC70 is a beast to drive. Each gear is over in a matter of seconds, especially first gear. With all of that rotating mass of the eight cylinders it is often smoother to simply take off in second gear, particularly on a hill or if you’re already rolling.

Outright acceleration is obviously not this vehicle’s top priority, so expect to see 0-100km/h achieved in around 14 seconds. We scored a time of 13.69 seconds using a Vbox Sport, but it did not feel natural straining the engine to find the maximum performance. Neither was it comfortable as a passenger testing it.

Instead, it’s best to just cruise this machine and enjoy the surrounding scenery via those large windows and perched-up seating position. Toyota did revise the gearing for lower revs at highway speeds a few years ago, but you’ll still need around 2000rpm to maintain 100km/h. Despite its formidable character, you tend to enjoy this engine’s rugged nature, even if it’s not powerful. It chugs and churns like a trusty old train, giving you a sense of relentless trust wherever you go.

Off road, anything you throw at it is honestly a walk in the park. Well, that’s how it seems to us. It strides through or over pretty much anything. Even the low torque figure doesn’t really mean much in the bush, as the short gearing – and locking front and rear diffs – provides all the mechanical traction and force you could need. It is easily one of the very best factory off-road vehicles we have ever driven.

2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute – THE VIDEO

2022 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series ute – THE VERDICT

If you think this beast is too old and too unrefined for today’s market, well, frankly, it’s just not for you. But for the fans and farmers out there that genuinely depend on the 70 Series every day, often in extreme conditions, they won’t have it any other way. All we can say is enjoy this old girl while she lasts, because one day Toyota will inevitably have to retire it.

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Indestructible simplicity
– Unrivalled off-road capability
– Convenient centre console with 70th Anniversary special edition
– Classic styling
– Tried and trusted V8 powertrain
[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– Unrefined driving experience
– Long waiting list for orders
– Slow, unimpressive power/torque for this engine size
– Auto option would be nice[/column][end_columns]

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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