As with many wonderful things these days, COVID had a hand in delaying the media launch of the Land Cruiser 79 70th Anniversary Edition, due to happen in December 2021. Very few things can stop a Land Cruiser, however, and as such, dealerships have had stock of the ‘Cruiser since then, with the media launch having taken place this past week in the Hartbeespoort area.
The 70th Edition marks 70 years since the launch of the BJ in 1951, which ultimately became the Land Cruiser. The Land Cruiser has been an icon of dependable motoring for well over half a century, and while different variations on the theme have been introduced over the decades, little has changed in terms of what the Land Cruiser offers. That’s not to say that nothing has changed at all – the most notable are of advancement would be the powertrains – but the reason someone bought a Land Cruiser in the 1970s would likely be very similar to the reason why someone would buy one in 2022.
To honour this, Toyota has introduced a special 70th Anniversary Edition of the legendary model, replete with 70-year emblem affixed to the exterior and embroidered onto the cotton canvas seat covers. The Toyota ellipse on the grille has been replaced by prominent ‘TOYOTA’ lettering, similar to the Hilux GR-S and Land Cruiser GR-S, various other exterior options feature including a tubular rear step bumper with detachable towbar, inner load-bed protector, 3mm rubberised load bed, tubular front steel bumper and integrated winch preparation. Those with a penchant for “cruising” will likely be pretty au fait with the Land Cruiser range, consisting of the 76 Station Wagon, the 78 Wagon aka “Troopy” – back after popular demand – and the 79, available in both single- and double-cab guises. The 70th Anniversary Edition is, however, only available as either a 79 single-cab or 79 double-cab.
There are certain people on this Earth who lust after a ‘Cruiser more than any Italian thoroughbred or British wafter. Purch yourself behind the Land Cruiser’s grey steering wheel and upright dashboard and it’s easy to see why. There’s a genuine charm and appeal to an interior that is technically really quite old, yet brand new having only recently rolled off the production line. You really do get a sense of Toyota having perfected the ‘Cruiser much in the same way that Porsche has perfected the 911 over the course of its 60-years of continued development. It’s a genuine time warp cabin, for all the good reasons, and now you can connect your phone to it, too, via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Land Cruiser 76 is remarkably easy to drive, the relatively light steering and beefy 4,5-litre V8 turbodiesel motor helping the 2,2-tonne bakkie feel quite light on its feet. 151 kW and 430 N.m proved ample and at no point does the ’76 feel underpowered. In fact, you get the sense that you could tow pretty much anything, including the biggest Jurgens caravan you can find, however an additional gear would be welcomed for highway ‘Cruising with 120 km/h proving to be a rather noisy experience at around 2 600 rpm. Having said that, it is very unlikely that those who purchase one of these will have much reason to or any intention of travelling faster than 100 km/h, so in that case, bravo Toyota, for knowing your market.
A 235 mm ground clearance and a 700-mm wading depth ensure that the Land Cruiser will indeed go absolutely anywhere one points it and the myriad locking differentials and low-range transmission will make sure that you don’t get stuck while doing that. Those familiar with off-roading in modern vehicles will enjoy the act of having to manually lock the differentials via the dashboard mounted knob and engage low range using the “other” gear knob. It’s all rather novel and makes one question complex electronic systems with simplified buttons and knobs when you consider how effective and simple the Land Cruiser’s systems are to engage.
Pricing and Model Line-up
The Land Cruiser 70th Anniversary Edition is offered exclusively in Ivory White or Sand Beige with the model range as follows;
Land Cruiser 79 Single-Cab 4,5 Diesel V8 70th Anniversary Edition – R898 600
Land Cruiser 79 Double-Cab 4,5 Diesel V8 70th Anniversary Edition – R952 500
A 3-year 100 000 km warranty is included in the purchase price with various service packages available from Toyota dealerships at an additional cost.