The venerable Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is reportedly getting four-cylinder power once again, at least in Japan.
Best Car Web reports the LandCruiser 70 Series will return to the Japanese market with the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder found in models like the LandCruiser Prado.
As in the Prado, it will reportedly be mated with a six-speed automatic transmission.
“Toyota Australia is always evaluating opportunities to expand and improve our local line-up. We are aware of the speculation about the LandCruiser 70 Series,” said a spokesperson for Toyota Australia.
“While we cannot comment on our model plans, we can confirm we will continue offering a V8 engine with the 70 Series in the years ahead.”
The 70 Series was last seen in Japan from 2014-15, where it was reintroduced to celebrate its 30th anniversary. It could therefore return next year to celebrate the big 4-0.
While the 2.8-litre is down four whole cylinders on the Australian-market 70 Series’ 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8, its power output is essentially the same (150kW vs 151kW) and it produces more torque (500Nm vs 430Nm).
In addition to losing four cylinders, the revived Japanese-market 70 Series will reportedly lose a clutch pedal. Currently, the Australian-market 70 Series is offered exclusively with a five-speed manual.
The revival model will also reportedly adopt the round headlights seen on the recent 70th Anniversary special edition, and Best Car Web reports there thus far is no indication it will be offered as a ute.
The 70 Series is offered only in a limited number of markets, including Australia and New Zealand and various African markets like South Africa and Tanzania.
Locally, it’s offered as a wagon (76 Series), Troop Carrier (78 Series) and two- and four-door cab-chassis (79 Series).
Despite its advanced age and lack of modern features – or because of this, knowing its loyal and traditional customers – the 70 Series remains popular in Australia.
Toyota Australia paused new orders of the model in July 2022 and they’ll remain closed for months as yet as Toyota seeks to clear its order backlog amid limited production.
“LC70 stop-orders will continue for the first six months [of 2023] until such time as we see a better production outcome,” Toyota Australia vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations Sean Hanley told CarExpert earlier this month.
It means it’s unlikely customers will be free to place their orders until July at the earliest.
When we asked Mr Hanley last year why LandCruiser 70 production was falling so far short of demand – it isn’t exactly brimming with semiconductors, after all – he suggested huge demand played an even more substantial role.
“It’s capacity and volume…. I mean chips play a role, but it’s also capacity and demand,” Mr Hanley said, saying demand right now was “huge, it’s massive”.
“My belief is that all the different incentives that were around through COVID; massive booming agricultural returns right now, mining’s booming, everything that suits LandCruiser 70 is booming…
“And private. It’s had a bit of a surge in the private market too, just quietly. There are enthusiasts out there as well.”
Recently introduced updates for the 70 Series centred around the addition of more modern safety features, as well as a GVM upgrade that re-categorises it as a medium goods vehicle.
Updated models will continue to be imported to satisfy existing orders rather than going to new buyers.
In the meantime, expect the price of used LandCruiser 70s to stay high given the lack of competition. Australia is a top market for the evergreen, unchanging 4×4, particularly among mining fleets, primary producers and overlanders.
MORE: Everything Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series