2023 Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series review: love it or loathe it, it's hard to beat

A silver toyota landcruiser 70 series parked on top of a small rocky mound in the bush

Toby Hagon

Posted February 16, 2023

The updated Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series is still more old than new, but one key upgrade adds to the appeal of the brand’s toughest, and most elusive, off-roader.

The updated Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series is a love-it-or-loathe it type of car.

Those who have loved previous models and have had aspirations to upgrade to the latest model will love it for its capability and toughness.

Then there will be those who are less convinced by its around-town manners.

The LandCruiser 70-Series is an acquired taste for those dreaming about puddle-splashing adventures, hard-core off-roading, towing heavy hauls, or carrying very heavy things in the back. If that’s your cup of tea, there’s very little that comes close.

No matter which side of the fence you find yourself sitting on, getting your hands on one is the hardest part. With many car dealerships no longer taking orders due to low supply, it's simply the car money can't buy. 

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A toyota landcruiser 70 series parked in the bush on a dirt road

Tight roads might not be enjoyable, but the 70-Series excels on rough bush tracks. Photo: Toby Hagon.

Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series pricing and features

What you get with the LandCruiser 70-Series is a big, old school four-wheel drive that can lift very heavy things and trudge over just about any terrain - and keep doing it for decades, possibly longer.

That’s the big appeal with the 70-Series for the many thousands of Aussies queuing to own them every year.

The 70 has now been reclassified as a light truck instead of a ute, in part because its load carrying ability has been increased.

It’s available in four body styles – dual-cab ute, four-door wagon, two-door Troop Carrier, and the single-cab ute tested here – with prices starting at $69,000 plus on-road costs (the utes are a grand or two more).

Buyers wanting a 70-Series usually aren’t interested in leather and tech, which is lucky because there’s none of either.

The basic WorkMate gets steel wheels and vinyl seats and floors so it can be easily washed out. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard across the range. The clock that was previously optional is now standard.

The single-cab GXL we tested ($74,650 plus on-road costs) steps things up with alloy wheels, cloth trim and carpet.

All models also get a CD player, so you can keep the tunes coming once you’re out of phone range – which is where a lot of these are used.

Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series safety equipment

Toyota reclassified the 70-Series to classify it as a light truck, one of the reasons it got bigger - and more obvious - side indicator repeater lenses. It meant the 70-Series also didn't have to meet tougher side impact protection regulations introduced last year.

Sure, it has dual front airbags and stability control. But only the single-cab ute gets side airbag protection (they were added for the mining fleets that buy so many of them).

But all models now come with autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian protection, the biggest change with this updated model.

The LandCruiser 70-Series doesn’t have an ANCAP safety rating.


Interior dash display of a toyota landcruiser 70 series

The 70-Series prioritises practicality over fashion for its interior displays. Photo: Toby Hagon.

Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series interiors and design

Sliding into the LandCruiser 70-Series is like being teleported back to the 1980s: hard grey plastics, old school analogue instruments and stiff slider controls for the ventilation system.

There are no buttons on the steering wheel, you’re adjusting the mirrors by physically pushing them and turning the headlights on manually.

It’s all simplicity and function over style, although like the utilitarian exterior it sort of works.

If the windows are up when you close the relatively lightweight doors then you’ll need to give it a good slam to overcome the change in air pressure.

Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series engine, specs, and fuel efficiency

There’s a 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel that has been part of the 70-Series package since 2008. It’s a solid, honest engine. But outputs are modest, at just 151kW and 430Nm (many other utes have more).

Combined with a five-speed manual gearbox it makes for leisurely acceleration. First gear is very short, to the point where you can often use second to start off.

Most of the engine’s work is done below 2,500rpm, where it casually grunts away to keep the LandCruiser muscling along.

It’s easy, effortless performance that won’t lift your hat off, but will get the job done.

At 100km/h on a freeway the engine is ticking over at 2,000rpm.

The claimed fuel consumption for the 70-Series is 10.7 litres per 100km. If you’ve loaded it up or are trudging around town then it’ll likely use more than that.

Fortunately there’s a sizeable 130-litre fuel tank (or 180 litres with the Troop Carrier), so it’s easy to get upwards of 1,000km between refills.


A silver toyota landcruiser parker by a rocky wall on a bush lined road

If you're into extreme off-roading, not many other cars stand up to the LandCruiser 70-Series. Photo: Toby Hagon.

Toyota LandCruiser 70-Series performance and handling

The LandCruiser 70 is big and old school. It’s heavy and has a high centre of gravity. Throw in slow-reacting steering and tyres designed to deal with rough tracks and it tends towards ponderous. The tighter the road, the less enjoyable it is.

Once the road opens up the mighty LandCruiser feels more at home and it settles nicely into a cruise.

Of course, the 70 has been designed to tackle serious off-road tracks. Once the terrain gets rough all that chunky hardware suddenly starts making more sense.

It fends off bumps and corrugations as though they’re a mere inconvenience. Over rocks or ridges or other technical off-road trails, it’s genuinely impressive. There’s excellent ground clearance and the suspension adapts to the surface.

In the GXL model we tested the triple locking differentials make for supreme traction.

It makes it one of the most capable 4WDs on the market - and one that feels more comfortable the tougher it gets.


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