Correction: Toyota 70 Series safety upgrades!
Toyota is aiming for 5-star safety for the 70 Series single cab, and offer improved safety for other models.
The 70 Series has been in production for some 30 years now and is mostly unchanged, and largely unchallenged as the heavy-duty ute of choice. But times move on, and regulations demand more and more safety features. Speculation has been that the 70 would be entirely replaced with a new vehicle better suited to the 21st century, but now Toyota has announced a major safety upgrade designed to deliver the car a 5-star ANCAP safety rating – well, at least the single cabs.
All 70s will be equipped with stability control, brake assist and cruise control. Single cabs will get five airbags (the current car has only two) – existing driver and front-seat passenger airbags plus the addition of two curtain-shield airbags and a driver’s knee airbag. Driver and front passenger airbags have been standard since 2009, and ABS was added in 2012. The Toyota release suggested the 70 Series would get seven airbags, this has now been corrected to five.
The updates are due to arrive in the second half of 2016 are designed to deliver the maximum 5-star ANCAP safety rating for the 70 Series single cab. Toyota’s press release referred to “significant upgrades” and we’ve confirmed that this only means these safety changes.
This 5-star focus is only about the single cab. The press release doesn’t mention the dual-cab ute, nor the wagon getting extra airbags.
We can also look forwards to improved off-road capability, because we have confirmed with Toyota that the 70 Series will have electronic traction control too. This will be a huge bonus for the 70’s already impressive offroad capability, and if the car also has the factory-fit cross-axle difflocks front and rear you get the best of both worlds, able to use traction control or lockers as the terrain demands.
Brake assist (also known as EBA, or electronic brake assist) is when the car detects you are making an emergency stop and assists by increasing the brake pressure for you.
Stability control is going to be useful as the 70 is not renowned for sharp handling…yes, plenty of people can handle it very nicely but coming into one after learning on anything else is a shock, so an electronic safety net is no bad idea.
The ANCAP test for 5-star safety does not involve a rollover. As a ute designed decades ago, 70s are not known for strong body pillars, so it’d still be wise to keep the rubber side down. Modern vehicles have extremely strong bodies, to the point where some question the need for rollcages.
Finally, the fact that Toyota has invested in the 70 means the replacement might be further away than we thought. We asked Toyota, and got this – “On the 30th Anniversary of this iconic and much loved vehicle, we are delighted to announce these plans and confirm that the LandCruiser 70-series will remain an important part of our local line-up.”