Toyota Land Cruiser – The Long-Standing Off-Road Truck
The Toyota land cruiser is a car that has thrived for over 70 years. And car enthusiasts should not be surprised, because have you heard the phrase “built to last”? That’s what a Toyota Land Cruiser is, and it has proven it over and over for several decades.
The Land Cruiser is durable, easily serviceable, has the right amount of torque, and has driver vision unparalleled to any other off-road vehicle. It is the perfect vehicle for road trips and adventures alike! Coupled with storage space and roof rails, you have an expedition vehicle that is made to perform for you while off-roading!
Toyota tests all its other regular cars for an on-road life of 15 years. The company, however, constructs a Land cruiser to “survive” a constant off-road drive of 25 years while keeping good condition!
And that means that the Land Cruiser is not for everyone. It is, though, totally designed for people who want a powerful and enduring workhorse and want to voyage into undiscovered lands with their vehicle.
Let’s take a brief look into the history of the Land Cruiser and what makes us love it as the most reliable off-road truck!
The beginnings of Land cruiser- The BJ and 20 series
The birth of the Land Cruiser can be partly credited to the US forces and partly the Jeep. In 1950, just a few years after World War II, the Korean War started. American production of military trucks was under a new strain, which led the US Army to request Japanese car manufacturers to design a 4X4 for them. Wartime was upon the forces. They wanted vehicles that could be ordered in large numbers and delivered instantly.
That motivated the manufacturers to design a vehicle almost identical to the American military Jeep. BJ was the name given to the 4X4, where the “J” stood for Jeep. This newly produced vehicle was called the Toyota Jeep. The name later had to be changed when Willys-Overland claimed the rights to the name Jeep.
In 1955, the BJ was renamed and marketed by Toyota as the 20 series Land cruiser. Sales didn't pick up, despite redesigning it for its export markets. It wasn’t very reliable at this stage, thus resulting in poor sales.
Land Cruiser 40 series
Toyota quickly learned the lesson from its first attempt and designed the 40 series, which quickly became known as the workhorse it is defined as today. The 40 series was better in build quality and had convenience features and comfort, which were not found in the 4X4s back in the day. Toyota brought about changes in engineering processes and production lines for the 40 series, which meant that better quality vehicles could be produced in less time and lower costs.
The Land Cruiser 40 series was a huge hit, so much so that it gave tough competition to the then-dominant Landrover. Toyota produced 40 series till 1984!
Australians particularly welcomed the 40 series. As evident on the streets here, plenty of them is still used for work and leisure.
Land Cruiser 60 series – a step further
Toyota wanted to go a step further in comfort, and design innovation for its newer series started planning the 60 series. Starting in 1976, it wasn’t until 1980 that Toyota launched the first 60 series. The 60 series is a station wagon, equipped with a newer interior and a more comfortable and luxurious ride. The 60 series Land cruiser is a family-style car with the toughness and durability of a Land Cruiser and the comfort of a station wagon. It is luxurious and well equipped inside for a comfortable ride.
The 60 series targeted the recreational market, families, and Globetrotters. It is a beauty, a balance of all the needs of a 4X4 and a recreational family station wagon.
A long wheel-base is a Land cruiser model with the perfect size, shape, and durability and is purposefully made to endure the test of time.
This is the car we love! It has the functionality of a work vehicle and the comfort of a family station wagon. It features a live-axle and leaf-spring setup and works for anyone looking for a reliable truck even today!
The 60 series holds the longest recorded journey by a car on earth: The Land cruiser set the world record for the longest ever driven journey! Two drivers drove a 60 series Land cruiser in over 186 countries to cover a whopping 460,000 miles in almost three and a half-decade. Emil and Liliana Schmid from Switzerland started their journey in 1984 and completed it in 2017. What is a better testimony to the durability of the Land cruiser than this?
The cruiser 70 series and Beyond – An unstoppable saga!
After the massive success of the 60 series, Land cruiser grew its foothold in major markets. In 1984 Toyota introduced the land cruiser 70 series to replace its already successful 40 series.
The 70 series had to fill the shoes of the 40 series since that had been so successful.
The 70 series kept some of the features of the 40 series, including the front and rear leaf-sprung live axles.
It had a wider body than its predecessor. Toyota kept its earlier success in mind and introduced the 70 series in various wheelbases, body sizes, and several different engine types.
The cab-chassis variant was the most popular, followed by the troop carrier variant which was an instant hit too!
Innovations and changes to Chassis and body took place as time passed. The most noticeable difference to the 70 series came with coil springs which replaced the leaf springs at the front. Body length changes were made along the way as well.
Even today, as newer models seem to be less demanding and enduring in the wake of innovation, the 70 series is a ray of hope for some truckers out there!
Many car enthusiasts also see the 80 series that arrived in 1990 as one of the best Land cruisers out there because of its toughness and reliability at all levels. The turbo diesel engine has its fan base and coil springs, which significantly overhauled this vehicle.
Land cruisers in the past two decades have seen up-gradation. Safety protocols have been placed with the installation of ABS and Airbags. Fuel Injectors and full-time 4X4 drives were introduced to the newer versions in the 1990s.
Land Cruiser has leaped forward in style over the last 35 or so years, with up gradations to its Chassis and engine, and has kept its place up as one of the most challenging and most reliable off-road vehicles out there.
Let’s see why the Land cruiser is one of the best off-road vehicles out there.
The land cruiser is durable. It has a thick metal frame that can withstand the test of time. As we mentioned earlier, the vehicle is battle-tested (literally, the Land Cruiser was designed first for use in Korea in the 1950 war).
From its strong frame to a highly complex and performance-designed chassis, you can take it anywhere! The vehicle has been tested to survive 25 years of off-road drive and maintain its good condition in that duration.
You may have seen documentaries of scientists and geographers traveling into forests and deserts on an LC.
A ride with ease!
A thick frame built to endure off-road rash conditions may lead you to think that it may weigh on the balance and performance of the vehicle. Not in the Land cruiser! The weight helps here. The high sprung-to-unsprung weight ratio allows the Land Cruiser to drive through bumps and off-roading like a breeze with little noticeable shock to the passengers.
Here’s where the Land cruiser wins hearts. From the 60 series to the 300, the sway bars have a complex engineered mechanism which helps the vehicle maintain its balance on high-speed corners and control body roll on sharp turns. If you plan to off-road in the woods, this engineering marvel of a vehicle will help you drive through the corners and in between the trees without having to break your speed at all.
If you have an uneven surface to drive on, your wheels can drop beneath the truck. This works excellent along with a highly functional angle system, despite the short-wheelbase of the Land Cruiser. It also helps the vehicle immensely in off-road conditions.
All newer models come with a traction control system. These, along with a robust four-wheel-drive, command the four-wheel mode by push of a button, and that will lock its center differential to give you an all-wheel traction control. Even the 70 series comes fitted with traction control in 2016 and above models.
Serviceability and practicality of the vehicle
Some of the Toyota Land cruiser models are 37 years old and still in production! For example, the 70 series is still in production in 2022 and going strong! Toyota even plans to make some modifications in 2022 for the Australian market.
What that means is that:
- a) Parts are abundant and can be bought from anywhere
- b) Replacement of parts and expertise to fix any mechanical/electrical issues is never a problem
In Australia, here, where the Land cruiser is a staple (it is, let us assure you of that; if you are a farmer or a miner, the Land cruiser is a go-to!), you’ll find a mechanic experienced with working on its power train in almost every major auto repair shop.
Fun Fact: Australians, although accounting for just 0.33% of the world population, have bought almost 10% of all the Land cruisers ever produced in the world.
Get stuck in case part malfunctions? Not with the LC!
If you own a fancy new car that is not a common sight, there’s a big possibility you’ll have to wait for parts to be shipped from another country while your car takes a week-long rest in the mechanic’s garage.
Clear driver visibility
Even the most preventable pot holes escape the eyesight of a driver sometimes. Well, in a Land cruiser, unless you close your eyes, you’re guaranteed a clear vision, with all the crests and troughs of the road unmistakably visible.
Why is that? Well, in contrast to the newer vehicles out there, the Land Cruiser has enormous windows and windshield, which, YES, make the vehicle look less “TRENDY” but lets you identify every corner, pothole, and possible places where you might get stuck. With the driver positioned relatively higher than the ground level, the vision of a Land cruiser is profound!
Lights that help you spot deer
Off-roading means dark roads and wildlife. Every driver who has ever driven a few hundred miles into the suburbs has had that moment when they found themselves helpless and had no choice but to bump into an animal crossing the road. We’ve had those moments when the car would go from a 100 to a screeching halt and barely saved a stray dog or deer from getting hit.
Well, if you’re an off-roading champ, and you know the importance of wide-range lighting, you may as well go with the factory-fitted lighting of the Toyota Land cruiser.
The by-default lighting that comes with a Land cruiser is more than enough for you. With an angle of light that helps you see furthest down a dark road, you’re most probably not going to be surprised by a running deer.
Why THE Land cruiser is a Machine to Own if you’re an off-roader!
While the Land cruiser may be a heavy truck to start your off-road journey with, it is a piece of engineering that is unparalleled in performance to any vehicle out there.
Despite its vast weight, which also costs you in terms of reduced mileage, and an interior that is not too fancy like the newer toys out there, this car takes you places reliably and confidently.
The frame and Chassis have been built to deliver performance and not compete with other cars in the category on price point.
That being said, we just love the Land cruiser and hope to share the love with this long-standing vehicle for years to come. Let’s do it!