Toyota has shot down rumors that claim the iconic 70-Series Land Cruiser is about to follow the Land Rover Defender to the pantheon of automotive history. Instead, the company has boldly announced plans to invest in the 32-year old off-roader to ensure that it can remain a part of its lineup for as long as possible.
“It’s an indefinite member of the Toyota family, it’s a crucial and much-loved vehicle in Australia,” Stephen Coughlan, a spokesman for Toyota’s Australian division, revealed in a recent interview with website Motoring.
Coughlan revealed that an updated 70-Series Cruiser built on a brand new ladder frame will be shown to the public before the end of the year. The off-roader’s rugged design hasn’t evolved much since it was introduced in 1984, and Toyota isn’t about to make tweaks to it now. However, it will receive an updated version of the current model’s 4.5-liter turbodiesel V8 engine that will comply with the stricter Euro 5 emissions norms scheduled to come into effect in Australia starting in November. New fuel injectors, a particulate filter, and a redesigned manual transmission will further lower emissions while improving gas mileage.
Toyota is also fitting the single-cab model with side curtain airbags as well as a driver’s knee airbag. The truck is consequently expected to receive a five-star safety rating, which is remarkable for a 32-year old design. Other additions include electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist, and cruise control. Interestingly, the longer variants of the 70-Series will likely retain a three-star safety rating.
The updated Toyota 70-Series Land Cruiser will make its official debut in the coming weeks, and it will go on sale shortly after in Australia. And while it sounds like the 70-Series would do an admirable job of filling the void left by the Land Rover Defender, Toyota currently has no plans of selling the truck on the Old Continent. Similarly, it stands virtually no chance of returning to the United States, where it hasn’t been offered since the 1980s.
Note: Toyota Land Cruiser 30th Anniversary Edition pictured.