In the world of 4WD Wagons Toyota LC70 Wagon GXL reigns supreme.
Recently upgraded, the GXL wagon remains a robust, solid 4WD that has few peers.
From the outside the LC70 Wagon GXL looks exactly like it should for what it is designed for.
A utilitarian workhorse that would last forever.
It has a bold grill, snorkel, high roofline and sides, and the front has single lights, lower fog lights and bold wheel arches.
Inside the LC 76 Wagon GXL is more spacious than expected.
There is enough leg room for my 190cm tall frame, plenty of headroom, even with a hat on and while it is a little cramped changing gears the height adjustable steering wheel allows more flexibility.
Rear seats are adequate again with plenty of head and shoulder room and adequate knee and leg room.
The boot is cavernous and the barn rear doors allow ease of use, but take some getting used to.
The dash looks like my old HJ 60 series Sahara LandCruiser.
It is improved obviously but I swear the AC controls are straight out of the parts bin from those days. The seat is supportive but could do with some lumbar support.
The steering wheel actually feels pretty good in the hands and allows good feedback. It is however totally devoid of any controls.
The dash has two larger dials, four smaller and provides a large amount of information.
There is a clock on the centre stack, a Bluetooth stereo and below are the slide controls for the AC. Like my old HJ 60 Sahara there is a hand throttle/idle up button.
Apart from some missing features the LC70 reminds you that you really don’t need some of the fancy things that are in vehicles as the older versions still work.
The addition of electric windows is a bonus and the much needed cruise control means that I won’t have to drive with a stick on the accelerator in future on long trips.
This could be a short section as the LC70 GXL Wagon isn’t exactly laden with features.
Recent improvements have seen some important features added such as
- Electric windows
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Auto locking front hubs (with a manual lock facility)
- Active traction control (A-TRC)
- Height and reach adjustable steering wheel
- Cruise Control
However the story here is about what the LC70 Dual Cab doesn’t have as features that are really missed.
- No electronic external mirror adjustment (yes, manual mirrors that can be bumped daily in car parks etc.)
- No steering wheel controls
- Only one cup holder and virtually nowhere to put items other than in the centre console.
- No rear window demister
- No DTE facility
- No reverse camera
Drive and Engine
Today’s LandCruiser 76 Wagon GXL models are powered by a 32-valve 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel engine with common-rail direct injection and an intercooler.
It delivers 151kW/430Nm.
The torque curve or flat line allows you to drive in fifth gear all the way from 50kmh up to 120kmh. You can idle and pull away at 50kmh without chugging or problem.
The taller fifth gear doesn’t seem to affect the lower responsiveness but significantly improves higher speed economy.
It makes cruising more relaxed, especially with the new cruise control, quitter, more economical etc.
On road and around town it feels like a sumo wrestler trying to buy clothes at Supre’.
It is big, cumbersome, has an atrocious turning circle and simply is out of place and long distance cruising is something only masochists enjoy.
However the dual personality comes to the fore when you turn off the tar roads and head bush, either on dirt roads or on the farm.
Here the LC 76 is like a male lion, king of the beasts.
It is here that the LC 76 excels.
The low down torque delivery combined with low gearing means that it will gently putter along where needed. It is simply superb. It is unmatched by any other 4WD currently.
While the Cab Chassis LC70 receives a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, the Wagon didn’t get all the upgrades and so isn’t afforded the same rating. However
It does however have improved safety features. These include:
- Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
- Side door impact protection beams
- Energy-absorbing steering column
- Door ajar warning lamp
- Driver seatbelt warning lamp
- Driver and front passenger airbags
- Brake Assist
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- Active Traction Control (A-TRAC)
- Front seatbelt pre-tensioners and
- Front-passenger seatbelt warning.
- 4WD ability and Robustness
- Torque and power
- Load and towing capacity
Not So Good Bits:
- Lacks all the LC70 series upgrades
- Turning circle
- Manual external mirrors
The Toyota Landcruiser LC 76 Wagon GXL is a mixed bag. In many ways it is an icon from a bygone time like a 70’s rock star that simply won’t die.
The LC70 Wagon GXL has a rightly deserved unrivalled reputation for class-leading mechanical reliability and serious towing, load carrying and off-road performance.
It is easily upgraded with a plethora of factory or aftermarket accessories to make it even more unstoppable in the bush.
As I said the LC70 Wagon GXL is a mixed bag, hopeless around tight inner city streets, not really designed for fast highway cruising but simply unmatched off road.
It has many faults and I love it.
There really is nothing like it left on the market today.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota LC70 GXL Wagon
- Engine: 4.5L V8 TD 151kW/430Nm,
- Transmission: Five-speed Manual Dual Range 4WD
- Safety: 3 Star ANCAP
- Origin: Japan
- Warranty: Three years/100,00okms
- Price: from $72,270