If you’re moderately familiar with the Toyota Land Cruiser lineup, you probably know most of the models: There’s the current version, which came out in 2008, called the “200.” There’s the prior model, the “100,” and the earlier versions — the 80 Series, the FJ60/62 and the famed FJ40. You may also know the FJ55, the predecessor to the 60-Series model, which is affectionately referred to as the “Iron Pig.”
What you may not know is that there’s a Land Cruiser that skipped North America and found its way into foreign markets. It’s the 70 Series Land Cruiser, and it’s the most utilitarian, bare-bones Cruiser of all. It’s not sold in North America, even though many people would be interested in it.
The basic overview of the 70 Series is this: When the FJ40 ended production in the early 1980s, Toyota split the Land Cruiser world into two models — the 60 Series and the 70 Series. North America got the FJ60, but the 70 was considered too utilitarian for our needs, so it never came here. Now, 30 years later, it’s still on sale as the “workhorse” Land Cruiser, even as the Land Cruiser has grown more expensive and more luxurious in its other forms.
Of course, the 70 Series has been updated considerably since 1984, but it’s never been fully redesigned — meaning it uses the same basic architecture now as it did back then. It’s mostly on sale in countries with needs for an ultra-utilitarian vehicle, like Australia, the Middle East, South America, Africa and other places where the “luxury” Land Cruiser wouldn’t be enough to satisfy demand.
In Australia, where the 70 Series Land Cruiser is sold with the tagline “Still powerful – still indestructible,” the model is offered as an SUV or as a pickup truck, which uses the SUV body until the end of the front doors and features a flat bed after that. It’s sold in three versions — the base-level Workmate, the mid-level GX and the upscale GXL, and a snorkel is available from the factory. The sole engine in Australia is a 4.5-liter turbodiesel 6-cylinder, which puts out 205 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque, though other engines are offered elsewhere.
And that’s the gist of the 70 Series Land Cruiser — the utilitarian, workhorse Land Cruiser that’s been an object of desire for anyone who misses the old-school, bare-bones version of Toyota’s legendary SUV.