One of the rumors coming from the Tokyo Auto Salon is that the Land Cruiser 70-series might, once again, get a re-release in Japan. Though the workhorse is still being sold in Australia and some areas of South America, it hasn’t been available in Japan since 2015 when it briefly returned to the market for 12 months. Thanks to its no-nonsense, go-anywhere ruggedness in a decidedly un-luxurious package, the 70-series is widely considered to be the truest spiritual successor to the original Land Cruiser.
The J70 was originally introduced in 1984 and carried on for two decades, until 2004. It proved so popular that in 2014 Japan re-introduced it for sale in its home market just in time for its 30th anniversary. Its time back was brief, however, just 12 months, as a 2015 Japanese law mandated that every new car sold had to come standard with traction control.
According to Best Car, Japan might be due for another Land Cruiser 70-series revival. But how does a vehicle, now even 10 years older than it was when it was outlawed the first time, meet modern safety standards? As it turns out, it’s being updated for the Australian market (it’s still a perennial best-seller down under) and will come with new side impact protection to keep it up to date with new car rules.
Back in 2014 the revived J70 came with a 1GR 4.0-liter gasoline V6 mated to a 5-speed manual. This time around, it’s rumored to have a torquey 2.8-liter 1GD inline-four turbodiesel matched with a 6-speed automatic. It’s also said to have round headlights and an old school Helvetica “TOYOTA” on the grille instead of the tri-oval logo. If the rumor proves true it would appear on the market in late 2023, just in time for the 40th anniversary of the original.
I saw a lot of these out in the Middle East when I was on assignment over there last year. These vehicles are super tough and have solid front / axles. I got to see some of these in action out in the dunes too, and they take a good beating. I had a chance to drive the LC79 truck with the V8 turbodiesel along with 5-speed transmission, it’d be so cool if these were imported to the States.
Unlikely it will see North America. Toyota would have to spend a ton of money to federalize a vehicle that was never imported, and with the current market, Toyota would be better off bringing back the FJ Cruiser.
These images show the 70th Anniversary model that was released here in Australia back in 2021. Even more, the wagon variant pictured is the rarest anniversary model as said by toyota.com.au
“Just 600 examples of the 70th Anniversary LandCruiser will be produced – 320 double cabs, 200 single cabs and 80 wagons – available in three colours, French Vanilla, Merlot Red and Sandy Taupe1.”
When the model went to this wide body design in 2007, it was only offered in Australia with the 4.5L single-turbo V8 diesel 1VD-FTE mated to a 5 speed transmission.