4x4

2017 Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series offroad review

Why would you buy an LC79?

To buy an LC79 dualcab GXL you’ll need $68,990 for the vehicle, $2761 for the aircon and anywhere between $5000 and $15,000 for the service body, as a basic tray isn’t going to suit for offroading. In other words, the vehicle is about $71,500 plus onroads, followed by more money to do something with the back. A total spend of $100k is very easily achieved if you’re going to set up an LC70 for touring, and then owners slot in a six-speed auto, portals, fix the rear track or add an overdrive, so some LC70 builds are up towards $150k.

That is a huge amount of money for any ute. The basic LC79 is more than a Ranger PX2 Wildtrak (about $65k driveaway), and way more than a HiLux SR5 ($62k driveaway). And this for a manual 5-speed, with an old engine, poor fuel economy, still questionable safety, a dated interior, very few convenience features, not even world-class offroad capability, and Toyota couldn’t even be bothered to make the front and rear axles the same track or fit proper interior lights. In fact, they have done the bare minimum to keep the vehicle alive.

So why on earth would anyone bother with the LC70?

Because it is the most reliable outback heavy-duty workhorse ute you can buy, bar none.

The design is old, but because of that it’s been proven, proven and proven again. Toyota know how to build reliable offroaders, and the LC70 epitomises all that knowledge. The lack of mod-cons is an attraction to the buyers too, it’s less to go wrong. The live axles, leaf springs and part-time 4WD system are all old, but simple and reliable. Toyota said in their press release that “We have also checked the diesel particulate filter is well protected and we found there are no issues for it or the new piezo injectors resulting from local fuel in the outback” which are words you want to hear and won’t find in any other ute press release.

There is your reason to buy an LC70, if you prize dependable reliability and ability to get the hard jobs done above all else – above things like comfort, safety and convenience.

Owners of LC70s will look you in the eye and ask how much you value your adaptive cruise control or electric mirrors when your vehicle is throwing a computer fault halfway along the Birdsville Track. And they have a point. They will also talk about resale. In 20 years time, people will still want the LC70. That shiny new ute? Won’t be worth a fraction of the LC70’s value, so yes you pay a lot now, but you have a vehicle for the ages, with timeless looks and reliability. And many of the features the LC70 is missing can be added easily enough, for example reversing cameras, interior lights, better seats. It’s harder to engineer in basic load-carrying reliability.

If you want to understand more then read our story on why this reader switched from a Discovery 3 to an LC79.

Further reading

One thing not engineered well are the mudflaps which the bush deleted for us. Not that many owners would care about such things.


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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper