TOYOTA’S 70 Series dates back more than 30 years, and this latest round of significant updates is the first in four years.
Many are a result of mandatory emissions compliance and industry safety demands. All variants get a new five-speed manual gearbox that brings a much-welcome taller top gear as well as a taller second gear. All models also get auto-locking hubs, cruise control, and electronic stability and traction control.
Single Cab models then get additional curtain and driver’s knee airbags and thicker frame rails, among other changes, which results in five-star ANCAP safety compliance.
Euro 5 emissions compliance changes for the 4.5-litre V8 diesel run to piezo injectors and a diesel particulate filter, which combine with the new gearbox to lower the fuel use by around 10 per cent – not an insignificant result.
For 4X4OTY we tested the LC79 GXL Double Cab. The cheaper WorkMate has 16-inch one-piece steel wheels and vinyl seats, while the lockers become a $1500 option. Toyota offers five genuine-accessory trays for the Double Cab with either headboard or under-tray mounted spare wheels. Prices range from $2325 for a basic alloy tray with headboard spare to $6088 for the heavy duty tray with under-mount spare.
The winner of the coveted 4X4 of the Year award will be announced at the Australian Motoring Awards (AMAs) on February 1.
The AMAs, to be held at Crown Casino in Melbourne, will also present the WhichCar Style award, the MOTOR Performance Car of the Year and the Wheels Car of the Year awards.
2017’s strong field of 4X4OTY contenders includes: Haval H9, Holden Colorado, Holden Trailblazer, Mercedes-Benz G300, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Land Cruiser 79 Series and the Volkswagen Amarok V6.