There was an update to the LC 70 Series in late 2016, mainly for the Ute, but the LC 78 series also benefited from improvements.
The LC 78 comes in two models, a two seat Workmate and the GXL we are reviewing here today.
Popular with mining operations, construction, agriculture, communications support, for conversion to a camper or anywhere in remote regions where transporting people and gear in rugged conditions is necessary.
It’s often called by a number of names: Troopcarrier, Troopie, Troop Carrier or LandCruiser Camper and less well known LC 78.
The Troop Carrier is a large boxy, practical shape that exudes robustness and a utilitarian presence. It is designed exactly for its purpose. A utilitarian workhorse that would last forever. It has a bold grill, snorkel, extended rear, very high roofline and sides. The front has single lights, lower fog lights and bold wheel arches. It is essentially a large box on wheels.
The interior reflects purposeful design. There have been some concessions to modern design and safety, such as the plastic instrument surrounds, a central stack and some airbags, but that’s it.
Front seats are adequate with basic adjustments, but do have good support for the hips and thoracic region but lack good lumbar support. Plenty of head room though.
The floors are functional carpet with rubber mats and the boot is hose out rubber, the doors are metal trim with some panels, and the arm rests are well placed. Roof lining is under the roof support struts that are visible. There are two grab handles for making getting in and out easier.
The steering wheel, which has adjustment for both height and reach adjustment, is basic, with no controls on it. 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. The Bluetooth isn’t that good though.
The addition of electric windows is a bonus as is the much needed cruise control.
Visibility is pretty good, with thin ‘A’ pillars, courtesy of no airbags. For such a huge vehicle, storage areas are minimal. There are slim door pockets, only one cup/bottle holder, the centre console is a pocket with some square compartments in front that can double as cup holders at a pinch. The glove box is adequate.
Access to the rear seats is by a simple slide forward of the passenger seat. There is only a lap seat belt for the middle passenger as well. The boot is cavernous and the barn rear doors allow ease of use and are split 60/40 opening wide to allow easy loading. It is interesting though there are no tie down points in the boot area. The floor is a simple rubber mat over bare metal.
This will be a very small section, as the LC 78 doesn’t have many features as such. It does have Bluetooth connectivity, but using it while driving is an exercise in frustration. The audio is reasonable. Headlights, fog lights and high beam are all effective.
The LC 78 shows that you done need a lot of the modern features, but there are some that would enhance the user experience. A distance to empty as well as fuel rate measure would be helpful, even though there is an enormous dual fuel tank. Sat Nav would be nice, but as I found out, not essential.
Drive and Engine
LandCruiser 78 Troop Carrier GXL is powered by a 32-valve 4.5-litre V8 turbo-diesel engine with common-rail direct injection and an intercooler. It delivers 151kW/430Nm from just 1200rpm all the way to 3200rpm – a particularly flat torque curve.
There is also a revised 5 speed box with a taller fifth gear, that allows more relaxed cruising and better economy.
Updates include a diesel particulate filter (auto regen plus manual switch), improved fuel economy by up to 1.2 litres/100km at 10.7 litres/100km. There is a 180L fuel tank as well. Split into two tanks.
Displaying a definite dual personality, 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.
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 78 is like a male lion, king of the beasts. It is here that the LC 78 excels.
Unfortunately the LC78 didn’t get all the improvements of the single cab chassis Ute which has achieved 5 Star ANCAP safety rating, but those improvements that filtered through to the Troop Carrier are needed and appreciated.
- Side door impact protection beams,
- Energy-absorbing steering column,
- Door ajar warning lamp,
- Driver seatbelt warning lamp,
- Driver and front passenger airbags,
- Brake Assist,
- Cruise Control,
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC),
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC),
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution and
- Active Traction Control (A-TRAC)
- 4WD ability and Robustness
- Torque and power
- Load and towing capacity
Not So Good Bits:
- Lacks all the LC70 series upgrades
- Turning circle
- Missing some important features
I like the fact that the LC78 is single minded in its design. It eschews the modern trend to soften the edges or the very heart for urban niceties. It is a workhorse through and through. The LC 78 Troop Carrier GXL is totally unique.
It 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. It’s a pity Toyota didn’t put the twin turbo V8 out of the LandCruiser straight into this, more power and torque is always a good thing.
The Toyota LandCruiser LC78 Troop Carrier GXL, would find a place in my garage without hesitation.
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Facts and Figures: 2019 Toyota LC 78 Troop Carrier GXL
- Engine: 4.5L V8 Single turbo DT produces 1515kW/430Nm
- Transmission: 5-speed MT 4WD
- Warranty: 5 Yrs / Unlimited km 5 Yrs Roadside Assist
- Safety: TBA ANCAP
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $70,740 MLP*
*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.