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Even if the US-market Land Cruiser is set to die, Toyota’s stalwart SUV will always have a place on the used market. But not just here; overseas, as well. And thanks to the 25-year import rule, these durable workhorses are trickling into the US, often at reasonable prices. This week’s Bring a Trailer bargain, a 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, is a case in point.

The Prado is a downsized but still off-road-rugged 70-Series Toyota Land Cruiser

A red-and-gray 1990 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
1990 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado | Toyota

While the Toyota Land Cruiser is a reliable long-lasting SUV no matter the generation, the 70-Series is in a class of its own. It has such a reputation that it’s still in production in certain countries. Sadly, while the US got the 60- and 80-Series Land Cruisers, we never got the 70-Series. This also means we never got the first version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.

Although Toyota offered the 70-Series Land Cruiser in several body styles—including a truck—the Prado isn’t exactly one of them, The Drive explains. Instead, the Prado is a smaller-scale version of the ‘full-size’ Land Cruiser, MotorTrend explains. But this isn’t like when Mitusbishi released the not-actually-a-Pajero Pajero Mini.

The Prado is essentially just a short-wheelbase 70-Series Land Cruiser, Hagerty reports. That means it has the same durable design and off-road features.

For example, it has solid front and rear axles, a body-on-frame chassis, and 4WD with a transfer case. It was also available with electronically-locking hubs, a pseudo–Sport Mode for the automatic transmission, and even electronically-adjustable suspension, Japanese Classics reports. And the 70-Series Land Cruiser has about 8” of ground clearance with approach/departure angles on par with a modern 4Runner TRD Pro, MT reports.

Essentially, the 70-Series Prado was a modernized version of the original FJ40, Car and Driver reports.

The 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado on Bring a Trailer

A black 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado on a lawn next to a tree
1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado | Bring a Trailer

In-period, Toyota offered the 70-Series Land Cruiser Prado with several gasoline and turbodiesel engines. The 1993 example currently listed on Bring a Trailer has a 2.4-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine rated at 95 hp and 177 lb-ft linked to a four-speed automatic. And, naturally, it has 4WD.

In addition to the suspension, hubs, and transmission modes, this 1993 Prado also has power windows and locks, fog lights, running boards, and a rear trailer hitch. The A/C is from the factory, as are the swing-open trunk doors. The Pioneer infotainment system, though, is from the aftermarket.

The gray-cloth front seats and black dashboard of a modified 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado front interior | Bring a Trailer

Admittedly, this 1993 Prado isn’t exactly factory fresh. It has some dings, scratches, and scrapes scattered around inside and out. And it has about 126,000 miles on the clock. However, Bring a Trailer notes that the diesel engine has been recently serviced. The current owner replaced the cylinder head, head gasket, water pump, timing belt, water temperature sensor, and turbocharger. And everything electronic still works.

It’s a forbidden fruit bargain of a classic off-road-capable SUV

As of this writing, this 1993 Prado is listed on Bring a Trailer at $8100 with three days left in the auction. Which, considering how much FJ40s can go for, is a genuine bargain price.

The rear 3/4 view of a black 1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in front of some colonial-style houses
1993 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado rear 3/4 | Bring a Trailer

Because Toyota didn’t offer the Prado here, market values are harder to come by. However, Prados have sold on Bring a Trailer in the past for significantly more. As have ‘regular’ 70-Series Land Cruisers on Cars and Bids. If you’re OK with right-hand drive, this Prado should make for a great off-roader that’ll stand out from the 4Runner crowd.

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