Toyota's 37-year-old 70-Series Land Cruiser gets updated for 2022
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Australian motorists looking to explore the great outdoors in a new Toyota Land Cruiser have three options to choose from. One is the 70 series model introduced in 1984 and once sold in the United States. It's still being built, it's relatively popular Down Under, and will soon receive a number of updates to keep it going.
According to the Australian website Motoring, new safety regulations are the cause of the emerging changes. Starting November 2022, all new cars sold in Australia will have to meet stricter pole side impact rules, and older models are easier said than done. Lexus in particular will be discontinuing its CT and RC models to avoid costly modifications. Toyota's 70s series is in a different position: despite being 37 years old, it's very popular in Australia (around 10,000 units were sold in 2020 and annual sales are on track for a 10% increase over the year 2021), i.e. the business case for relatively expensive structural changes are easy to accomplish.
There are two ways the company can go. First, the safety enhancements introduced to the single-cabin model in 2016 (including a stronger frame and side curtain airbags) could seep through to the passenger-transportation variants. Second, Toyota could increase the model's gross vehicle mass (GVM) to make it exempt from the new standards. According to Motoring, it would be classified as a medium truck rather than a light truck.
Anyway, some things won't change. There is nothing to suggest that Toyota will emulate Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz by moving the Land Cruiser to luxury territory. There's a new full-size mockup for buyers looking for leather, big screens, adaptable-this and connected-that. Motoring added that the SUV will keep its 4.5-liter turbodiesel V8 rather than adopting Toyota's newer V6. It's a gem of an engine that reliably develops 202 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque. It turns the four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. According to Toyota, the average is around 22 miles per gallon, and some body styles are available with a 47.5-gallon fuel tank that unlocks a range of more than 1,000 miles.
Details on the next evolution of the 70s Land Cruiser will be released in the coming months. While it looks like it's celebrating its 40th birthday in style, it's not the oldest off-roader that's new to the market. This honor goes to the Lada Niva, which was presented in 1977 and has been in continuous production since then. It has been updated several times over its unusually long life cycle, but the end is near: its replacement has already been announced.
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