It's Toyota's longest-running nameplate.
The life cycle of a new vehicle doesn't deviate too drastically, especially among mainstream manufacturers. A newly released model will typically stay on the market for around eight or so years, including at least one major facelift and a bunch of other smaller upgrades along the way. But every now and again, a car comes along that is so purpose-built, its demand never wanes. Enter the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series, which well over 30 years later, remains on sale in Australia.
It suddenly makes the more comfort-oriented Land Cruiser 200 Series - currently sold in America - seem incredibly modern, despite the 200 also having an extended shelf life of over a decade. The 70, though, was introduced way back in 1984 and its tough-as-nails construction makes it the perfect tool with which to conquer the harsh Australian outback.
Over the years, Toyota has updated the Land Cruiser 70 but fundamentally, it hasn't drastically changed from the vehicle you could buy at a time when Wham, Phil Collins, and Tina Turner were still topping the music charts. Its heavy-duty suspension and ladder-frame construction are virtually indestructible and, coupled with Toyota's habit for building engines that don't know when to quit, it's little wonder that it remains so popular.
Currently, the truck is sold in single-cab, double-cab, wagon, and Troop Carrier varieties Down Under. All versions are powered by a 4.5-liter turbodiesel engine generating 202 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque, allied to a five-speed manual gearbox. It's the first V8 turbodiesel engine produced by the Japanese marque and has serviced the Land Cruiser 70 in Australia for the last 13 years. Decades prior, the model line made use of engines as small as 2.0-liters in capacity.
Inside and outside, the blocky Land Cruiser 70 can't hide its age, but there's something inherently endearing about this straightforward truck. The shallow dashboard is typical of vehicles designed in that era, as are the wafer-thin doors, the slider controls for the ventilation system, and the sea of hard plastics. Airbags and ABS brakes have thankfully found their way into the 70 Series through the years, but that's about it, really.
It's not only in Australia where the 70 Series lives on, as it's still being marketed in the Middle East, too. A few years ago, to celebrate the 70 Series' 30th anniversary, Toyota re-released the model in Japan for one year, despite production having initially ceased there in 2004. The throwback Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series is a true legend and, at 36 years and counting, it remains to be seen when its story will end.