Home Cars & Bikes Land Cruiser 70 gets Hilux’s 2.8 litre turbo-diesel engine

Land Cruiser 70 gets Hilux’s 2.8 litre turbo-diesel engine

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Toyota’s trusty mountain goat becomes young at heart and a self-shifter too. Here’s what you must know about the comprehensively updated stalwart.

Born in 1984, the Land Cruiser 70 Series, also known as the J70, is certainly long in the tooth. Yet, it has an army of die-hard fans. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is something they would say calmly if you ragged them about this model’s age.

Age is nothing but a number

They’d also tell you that – at the age of 40 – a half-decent human specimen is in its prime. If we’re looking to the animal kingdom, they have a point. 

Jonathan, a tortoise residing on St. Helena, is said to be 191 years old. That’s him on the left.

Then, speaking of long in the tooth, there’s the Greenland shark. These ocean dwellers reach an age of 250-500 years and only start breeding at the age of 150 years, give or take.

So, at the age of 40, Jonathan and a Greenland shark are mere whippersnappers. And, then we haven’t even discussed their longevity as species and how well they’ve adapted to their environments.

Cruiser enthusiasts know that many of the qualities above, including succesful evolution, are woven into the 70 Series’ DNA. Toughness of chassis and engine too.

Automatic for the people

Over the years, Toyota has employed a variety of engines to power the Land Cruiser 70 Series. They all had one thing in common, though: all were mated to manual transmissions. 

Now, the upgraded 2024 Land Cruiser 70 introduces the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine from the Hilux / Fortuner to its portfolio. Just as importantly, Toyota has coupled this engine to a six-speed automatic transmission, giving us the first ever self-shifting 70 Series.

The other engines remain on duty. These are the 4.0-litre petrol inline-six (in the single- and double-cab bakkies), the 4.2-litre diesel (no turbo) inline-six, and the 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8. All of them drive the wheels through the manual ’box, which has five forward ratios.

All shapes have the 2.8 GD-6 option

The Land Cruiser 70 Series offers three body shapes, namely single cab, double cab, and station wagon. All three are available with the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and automatic transmission.

Power output

Toyota South Africa says the new 2.8-litre four-cylinder powertrain has been proven over the years in a range of Toyota 4×4 models. In the 70 Series, as well as in most other products, it produces 150 kW at 3 400 rpm and 500 Nm from 1 600 to 2 800 rpm.

For context, the 4.5 V8 turbo-diesel engine makes 151 kW and 430 Nm, while the 4.0 V6 petrol produces 170 kW and 360 Nm. The 4.2 diesel six-cylinder brings up the rear with 96 kW and 285 Nm. Do note that the petrol engine is not available in the Station Wagons.

Toyota quotes the 4.5 V8 Station Wagon’s average fuel consumption as 11.9 ℓ/100 km and that of the newly introduced 2.8 four-cylinder as 9.8 ℓ/100 km. This is not what you will achieve in real life, but it does suggests a saving in diesel consumption of around 20 percent.

Toyota says it has made multiple mechanical changes to the engine to ensure optimal cooling and performance in tough conditions and under heavy towing loads. All models of the 70 Series’ maintain the series’ 3 500 kg (braked) towing capacity.

The Land Cruiser 70 Series range is still equipped with a part-time 4×4 system with low-range gearing, live axles and front coil suspension. The four-cylinder models add front and rear locking differentials for additional off-road traction.

Old-school muscle

The entire Land Cruiser 70 Series has received updated exterior styling. There’s a clear influence from previous generations of the series, like the circular headlights.

A new square grille with a black mesh pattern and ‘TOYOTA’ lettering sits above a three-slot cooling vent, also inspired by the 75 Series Land Cruiser. A small hood vent sitting above the grille is borrowed from the original 40 Series model.

“A wide bumper and black overfenders give the 70 Series a muscular stance and sense of stability, paired with dark grey metallic 16-inch alloy wheels,” Toyota enthuses.

The Station Wagon also wears a steel bumper, while the VX variant gets a premium Rockford Fosgate sound system.

Updated interior and more gadgets

All the 70 Series grades gain a new centre console consisting of a lidded centre storage box, cupholders, and multiple compartments for small item.

Station Wagon variants are made more functional with new second-row seats with 60:40 split-folding-functionality. Owners can tumble these forward to maximise cargo space. 

All variants powered by the 2.8 GD-6 engine are upholstered in durable grey fabric, while the Station Wagon VX grades gain leather upholstery.

Four-cylinder versions gain Downhill Assist Control (DAC) for steady, controlled off-road descents. This feature modulates the brakes to allow the Cruiser to safely navigate steep declines. The Station Wagon VX variant also gains a new reversing camera to make parking in tight spaces easier.

It’s interesting to note that, with this update, Toyota South Africa has also reintroducing the LC78 “Troop Carrier” Wagon (pictured below). It’s solely available with the 4.2-litre non-turbo diesel engine.

It saddens me that Toyota has failed to reintroduce the two-door convertible version of the 70 Series (image below). Maybe I’ll be lucky with the next update. 

Happy birthday, old youngtimer, and many happy returns.

Land Cruiser 70 Series range and pricing

Single Cab

  • LC79 4.0 Petrol S/C 5MT – R765 500
  • LC79 4.2 Diesel S/C 5MT – R829 000
  • LC79 4.5 Turbo-diesel V8 S/C 5MT – R956 200
  • LC79 2.8 GD-6 Turbo-diesel S/C 6AT – R917 100

Double Cab

  • LC79 4.0 Petrol D/C 5MT – R864 600 
  • LC79 4.2 Diesel D/C 5MT – R920 800 
  • LC79 4.5 Turbo-diesel V8 D/C 5MT – R1 039 200
  • LC79 2.8 GD-6 Turbo-diesel D/C 6AT – R1 009 000

Station Wagon

  • LC78 4.2 Diesel SW “Troopy” 5MT – R900 100
  • LC76 4.5 Turbo-diesel SW 5MT – R1 076 800
  • LC76 2.8 GD-6 Turbo-diesel SW 6AT – R999 900
  • LC 76 2.8 GD-6 VX Turbo-diesel SW 6AT – to be confirmed 

The Land Cruiser 70 Series has a 3-year/100 000km warranty and offers an optional 100 000 km service plan.

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