Toyota LandCruiser LC70 Road Test, Review
Late 2016 saw Toyota update the ubiquitous LC70 series including the single cab chassis ute range.
We are testing the Toyota LC70 GX ute here and found that while the updates have improved the safety, comfort and ride of the long running ute, they don’t take away from its inherent qualities of ruggedness, robustness and workability.
From the outside the LC 70 has a bold grill, large bonnet bulge, high roofline and sides.
The front has single lights and bold wheel arches.
The particular GX vehicle we had was fitted with a robust genuine Toyota steel tray, alloy wheels, snorkel, under tray spare wheel carrier and tow bar.
Surprisingly for a single cab ute there is adequate internal room.
While there is no room for any storage of note, if you are clever you can fit a fair bit in in behind the seats and between them.
There is just enough leg room for my 190cm tall frame, plenty of headroom, even with a hat on and while it is a little cramped changing gears the height adjustable steering wheel allows more flexibility.
The Toyota LC70 GX ute is definitely old school in its interior. It looks like it could have come from the 80’s and actually has.
Even to the point of having a hand throttle/idle up button.
The seat is supportive but could do with some lumbar support.
While the steering geometry has improved it is still relatively a handful driving at speed on the freeway. It is heaps better than before though.
The dash has two larger dials, two smaller and provides a large amount of information.
There is a clock on the centre stack, a Bluetooth stereo and below are the slide controls for the AC.
The wind up windows are unusual these days but simple to adjust to unless you want to put down the passenger side window!
The driver’s winder can stick into the knee at times though and it is a little cramped winding them down.
There is excellent all round visibility.
Despite the improvements there are two key features that are missing. These are a reversing camera for safety and electronically adjustable external rear mirrors.
Manually adjustable external mirrors are a painful exercise.
The LC70 continues with the attributes that have made it such a versatile off-road vehicle – a tough box-section chassis with thicker, stronger, more rigid frame – side rails, simple part-time 4WD system with two-speed transfer, lockable hubs, excellent low-range gearing, long-range fuel tanks and excellent ground clearance.
These features, combined with ample approach, ramp-over and departure angles, enable the 70 Series vehicles to traverse rugged roads and obstacles that are beyond the capabilities of other vehicles with almost disdain for the terrain thanks in part to the powerful engine.
Today’s LandCruiser 70 Series models are powered by a 32-valve 4.5 litre V8 turbo-diesel engine with improved with Piezza electric injectors and an intercooler.
It delivers 151kW of power at 3400rpm and peak torque of 430Nm from just 1200rpm all the way to 3200rpm – a particularly flat torque curve.
The 2016 updates include a revised transmission ratio that improves driving comfort and economy.
The Toyota Landcruiser LC 70 Single Cab Ute is a mixed bag. Around town it is big, slow and cumbersome. On the freeway it cruises effortlessly but is loud, windy and using the Bluetooth is almost impossible.
However when you turn off the tar roads and head bush, either on the beach, dirt roads or on the farm, the LC70 excels almost unrivalled.
The low down torque delivery combined with low gearing means that it will gently putter along where needed. It is simply superb.
On the sand tracks and the beach the LC70 will putter along in 2nd gear totally unfazed.
The MY17 upgrade means that all models now get the safety electronics package of vehicle stability control; active traction control; hill-start assist control; brake assist; electronic brake-force distribution; cruise control, front seatbelt pre-tensioners; and front-passenger seatbelt warning.
The single cab-chassis also gets thicker, stronger, more rigid frame – side rails, three additional airbags– curtain-shield (two) and driver’s knee (one) making a total of five.
The result is the cab-chassis model has achieved a five star ANCAP safety rating.
In today’s market there really isn’t a direct competitor for the single cab LC 70 ute.
The LC 70 is extremely popular with buyers in mining, agriculture, construction, communications support and recreation industries.
The LC 70 has a rightly deserved unrivalled reputation for class-leading mechanical reliability and serious towing, load carrying and off-road performance.
If only they had electronic adjustment for the external rear view mirrors.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Toyota Landcruiser LC70 GX Single Cab Ute
- Engine: 4.5 litre V8 turbo-diesel 151kW and 430Nm
- Transmission: Five-speed MT (only)
- Warranty: Three years
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $64,490