Toyota Land Cruiser 70 1992

Have you ever wondered why new cars are produced? Yes, technologies change. Yes, it’s necessary to stimulate demand by offering new products to the consumer – all this is understandable. But are there car classes where the best is the enemy of the good? Yes. And today we’ll talk about why.

The SUV class was formed and developed to meet the needs of the military. The military needed a relatively light, but all-terrain vehicle, and the commanders were ready to pay for it. The resulting vehicles were almost always devoid of any comfort – even a field officer didn’t need comfort – but they had excellent off-road capabilities, simple design, and repairability at the level of “one soldier with a hammer.” The base created for the military inevitably moved to the civilian sector, where it found fans among residents of regions with complex road conditions, fishermen, hunters, and other enthusiasts of active recreation in areas far from federal highways.

In 1984, the Land Cruiser 70 series was released. It essentially consisted of many modifications, all having the number 70 in the body index. First, a version with a fully dependent suspension was released, that is, 2 solid axles and leaf springs both front and rear. A little later, the Japanese decided to give a little more comfort to those who needed something more than uncompromising off-road capability and made versions with coil spring suspension. Understand – the number of modifications was already quite large.

Next came the turn of the power unit that drives this formidable SUV. Usually, if you want to tell your friends about what engine can be installed in your car at the factory, your fingers on one hand are enough to list them. If you have a VAG, especially from the 80s-90s – I admit, you might need two hands. But if you want to talk about all the engines installed in the Land Cruiser 70 – be prepared to train your memory. Gasoline engines ranging from 2.2 to 3.4 liters, diesel engines from 2.2 to 4.2 liters, turbo diesels up to 4.5 liters in the most extreme version for Australia – believe me, it’s not worth listing all possible options, as it’s incredibly boring. Transmissions were both automatic and manual, which is logical for an SUV. The four-wheel drive was arranged according to the PartTime scheme: rigidly connectable drive to the front wheels without an inter-axle differential, with free-wheel hubs in the front hubs. Again, depending on the configuration, the car could be equipped with a DiffLock differential at the front and rear, or with an LSD lock at the rear.

But no matter which configuration you purchase – it will always be the ultimate SUV. A real fighter, ready to drive on any surface – within the limits permissible for a standard SUV, of course. This ability to move on rough terrain plus the legendary reliability of Toyota has made it one of the favorite vehicles of various armies in developing countries.

The interior of the car, although simple in finish, is generally made in the spirit of Toyota at that time. Simplicity and maximum reliability – the Japanese company was literally infused with this, not wasting time on various electronic dashboards, intricate switches, and oddly shaped cup holders. Nothing causes repulsion, all the buttons look albeit quaint, but “warm” and pleasant in our time. Especially the individual details like the air vents – remember how such things look in new Mercedes? Now you understand what inspired their designers, although Toyota might have seen this idea somewhere else too. Of course, there are few options, and in the sample that came to us for the photo session, the brightest option is the Nardi steering wheel. This couldn’t be bought from the dealer, but it looks quite harmonious here – in the spirit of the era, so to speak. But metal is visible throughout the perimeter of the interior – in those days, to simplify the fitting of linings and save on costs, not all metal was covered with plastic, and this was far from a Japanese “no-hau.”

This 1987 vehicle with a 1-HZ engine and a 5-speed manual transmission is indeed used as a daily car – and it’s quite something! It can drive where circumstances require, high suspension (vehicle with a lift kit for leaf springs) allows for a long-range view of the road. Can it be driven in the city? Definitely yes. Moreover, if you take a good look at its dimensions, you’ll find that it’s not much bigger, wider, or taller than many LUX-SUVs.

It seems we’ve only talked about the car’s advantages, but what about its disadvantages? After all, this product is for a very limited audience, but for them, it will be almost perfect. We don’t want to get into the eternal “holy wars” of LC, Pajero, Jeep, and other off-road vehicle enthusiasts, so we won’t give evaluative judgments, but. And this but – the fact that this car, discontinued in 2004, was brought back to the assembly line in 2014! Yes, only for the domestic market of Japan, yes, for quite a lot of money (at some point, the cost could be compared to a new Prado) and without significant modifications – but this is not a too common practice when the consumer loves a car so much that they achieved its re-release. Perhaps that’s why we, city dwellers, shouldn’t laugh at the continued production of UAZ “loaves” and “goats” – there are still places where it’s the cheapest way to get through.