Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series Could Make Japanese Return

Japan has been deprived of the most legendary off-road vehicle it ever built. That might be about to change.

byLewin Day|
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Lewin Day
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The 70 Series Toyota Land Cruiser is a much-adored thing. It's a rugged, simple off-roader that has seen minimal changes since launching in 1984. Sadly for its country of origin, Japan hasn't had access to the model for a long time. That could all change, though, according to new rumors.

According to Japanese outlet BestCarWeb, the 70 Series could be coming back to the Japanese domestic market next year. The model ceased sales in Toyota's home country back in 2004, though a one-off special edition was sold in 2014 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The model has never gone out of production though, and it's still selling big-time in Australia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Reports suggest that for Japan, sales could begin as soon as Sept. 2023. It's only a rumor at this stage, but the timing checks out. 2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the storied 70 Series Land Cruiser. BestCarWeb states that it expects the model to be based on the current Australian wagon model, known as the LC76, citing the inclusion of the new-for-2023 automatic emergency braking system.

Notably, though, the outlet claims the Japanese model will feature the 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine currently featured in the Land Cruiser Prado, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That's quite different from the current Australian-delivered version, which features a 4.5-liter turbodiesel V8 with a five-speed manual.

The Drive reviewed the legendary 70 Series last year, and it lived up to its billing. The drivetrain has been updated over the years, and Toyota has routinely added new safety equipment where necessary. Overall, though, it sticks to the truth of the original 1984 model. It's still the same ladder-framed 4x4 with a classic four-wheel-drive system. It's even available as a manual, and it still starts with the turn of a key.

It's easy to see why everyone from outlaw militias to the UN can't get enough of the 70 Series Land Cruiser. In fact, the present model is in such high demand that Toyota Australia won't let you place an order until it works through the current massive backlog. Expect Japanese market models to be snapped up by eager off-road enthusiasts, and fashionistas who want something that everyone else doesn't have.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com

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