I like big things; big houses, big cars and bigger bakkies. The Land Cruiser 79 is one of those “Big” things. From the outside, it’s huge and fitting it into your average parking spot at the mall can be a little bit of a mission. Thankfully, the Land Cruiser is completely out of its habitat in the city. You see, this hugely popular, never-say-die legend of Toyota is extremely tough and, as most owners of the previous model will tell you, practically indestructible; perfect for our South African conditions.
At the heart of the beast you will find a 4.5l 32 valve v8 turbo diesel, which is slightly de-tuned from the larger Land Cruiser 200 model. It still makes a healthy 151kw at 3400 Rpm and 430 Nm from as low as 1200 Rpm. To say that it will just chug up a hill is an understatement. It really loves to be lugged down low and driven in the torque curve. This new model produces 55kw and 145nm more than the naturally aspirated straight six 4.2l diesel.
Driving the Cruiser is a rather interesting affair. From the outside, everything looks agricultural and it’s only until you step inside – (yes, you literally have to step as the enormous ground clearance makes you sit up high) you note that the Cruiser does have a few nice options as standard.
There is an in-dash Multimedia unit, which is also found on the previous generation Prado, which has been loaded with navigation and also features a Bluetooth telephone connection to your cellphone. It also has the normal things like cruise control, power steering and electric windows all round.
Take it off road and this is where the rugged Land Cruiser belongs. It stops for nothing and once you engage the manual hubs, you really know that the games have begun. The live axles give impressive articulation over any obstacles and the diff lock is there to put your mind at ease, especially when things hit the fan. Fitted standard is a roof snorkel and a decent wading depth of 700mm. The approach and departure angles are 33 and 27 degrees.
The large fuel tank of 130l should give you some assurance when hitting the long road, but let’s be honest, with the aerodynamics of a brick and weighing 2.2 tons, anything over 120kph is going to be heavy on the pocket and with that we had about 800km on the tank of fuel, something which could probably jump up to 1000km, if you drop your speeds a little. The 70 series is also an ambitious towwer and will tow up to 3500kg braked.
The Land Cruiser 70 series is by far one of the toughest pick-ups available on the market and perfect for overland excursions. Just remember the 50ppm diesel requirement and the 10 000km service intervals.
A three year 100 000km warranty and a ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme, is standard.
Land Cruiser 76 Station Wagon 4.5 V8 D – R587 500
Land Cruiser 79 Single Cab 4.5 V8 D – R527 000
Land Cruiser 79 Double Cab 4.5 V8 D – R567 600