Launched in 1984 and still manufactured today, the 70 Series Toyota Land Cruiser is an indestructible off-roader that has reached legendary status in its almost four decades of service.
From the Sahara Desert to the Australian outback, you can, according to a report by autoevolution, find it roaming freely on some of the most unforgiving terrains on this planet.
The Land Cruiser started life after the end of World War 2 as a military utility vehicle heavily inspired by the American Jeep. Its iconic nameplate was also influenced by an off-roading legend, the British-built Land Rover.
Nevertheless, it managed to become just as popular throughout the years as the aforementioned 4x4s, thanks to its bulletproof reliability and unparalleled off-road capability.
A significant contributor to the rise in popularity of Land Cruisers is the 70 Series. Introduced in 1984, it continues to be produced in many markets 37 years later.
Toyota developed it as a replacement for another iconic generation, the 40 Series, and it quickly became one of the world’s most popular off-road workhorses.
The new models retained their predecessor’s simple body-on-frame construction, and their design became a bit more angular. From a mechanical point of view, Toyota upgraded them to become even more durable and capable of tackling unforgiving terrain.
With a rugged body fitted onto a bombproof frame, these vehicles feature extremely durable solid axles, beefy ball joints, control arms, bump stops, bushings, and shocks, making them unbelievably durable and reliable.
Due to emission standards, Toyota never officially marketed the 70 Series in the U.S. or Europe, although enthusiasts imported and customized some of them, making them road legal in those markets.
However, in other parts of the world like Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, or the Arabian Peninsula, the 70 Series was a major success, being sold in various wheelbases and body styles.
In 1999, the series got its first major overhaul that featured a coil-spring live front axle replacing the old leaf spring version, longer leaf springs on the rear, or 5-bolt wheels.
Eight years later, the facelifted version began production. Apart from the modified front end, the chassis was also overhauled to make room for the new 1VD-FTV 4.5-liter turbodiesel V8. This engine was initially available only for the Australian market, where the model still reigns supreme.
The 4.0L 1GR-FE straight-six was added to the lineup in 2009 in markets where gas-powered Land Cruisers were available, replacing the durable 4.5-liter 1FZ/1FZ-E.
With modern upgrades such as airbags, ABS, active traction control, or even a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, the 70 Series is still produced today for markets such as Africa, the Middle East, or Australia. In these regions, it continues to be the weapon of choice for off-road enthusiasts or those looking for an extremely capable and reliable work truck.
This generation of the Land Cruiser became so popular because of its high build quality, rugged simplicity, excellent off-road capability, unparalleled reliability, and low cost.
Although the reasons are obvious, it’s a shame that the 70 Series never made it to the U.S., a market set to say goodbye to the modern version of the Land Cruiser as Toyota announced it would discontinue the model after the 2021 model year.