For funky-cool old-school looks and a different off-road vibe we wish the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 pickup truck and variants was sold in the US. A stripped down throwback, the Land Cruiser 70 does well in Australia and other pickup-friendly locals. Why not the US, too?
The Roots Of The FJ40
In the early 1980s after Toyota stopped producing the FJ40, it created two different replacements, the FJ60 and FJ70. We got the FJ60, but not the more utilitarian FJ70. After all of these years Toyota still finds it has plenty of customers for the FJ70.
Spartan as it is the 70 has all of the comforts of other new pickups like standard air conditioning, Bluetooth, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control. It’s also got side impact guards, a collapsible steering column, and twin airbags, which leads us to think it would meet US safety specs? If that is true we’re surprised Toyota doesn’t send a few boatloads of these stateside to see how they fare.
The pickup version comes in either a single-cab or double-cab body. If you’re liking the general idea of a new stripper workhorse but would prefer an SUV, the Land Cruiser 70 also comes as a wagon called Work Mate, or the GXL troop carrier. Toyota has a lot of variety engineered into the 70.
Land Cruiser 70 Troop Carrier
The troop carrier is quite the interesting SUV. It’s a two-door, but has a raised roof and “five seats.” We are told that means five rows of seats. That’s a lot of passenger accommodations. The odd thing is that the wagon comes as a four-door, but the troop carrier is only a two-door. Toyota didn’t go the easy way out by just lengthening the wagon, it has created a completely different body for the troop carrier. But only two doors with a liftgate in the rear.
Specifications and accessories carry over all of the models. The specifications also make us think Toyota should send this here. The 4.5-liter turbodiesel supplies a tad over 200 hp with 317 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity is 7700 lbs. So it’s got plenty of grunt.
Lots Of 70 Options And Accessories
With four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission, it is all business. It can also be ordered with those aluminum cargo trays for the back, right from Toyota. No need to have them custommade.
Running lights, tow hitches, brush guards, even a sun visor for over the windshield like in the days of yore is all available. Optional canvas seat covers help you to keep it nice for maybe the next owner? If you want them the Land Cruiser 70 has them.
With solid front and rear axles maybe Toyota feels this is not suited for city driving? Maybe the US customer has shown something a little more rugged won’t sell. Ride quality is said to be firm with just a bit of tire noise. Fifth gear is overdriven so at least some consideration has been given to highway driving.
Over 1.3 Million Sold Globally
In all global sales are over 1.3 million sold. Over 250,000 have found buyers in Australia alone. It’s stayed in this basic configuration for over three decades while continuing to accept upgrades and technology updates well. It’s also sold in the Middle East, South America, and Africa.
Maybe someday, with a possible revised version Toyota may look to the US to increase sales?