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'Not too late for the V8': Why the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series will launch with a four-cylinder engine before V8 return

Toyota’s local sales boss has explained why the updated 70 comes with a four.

Delivery delays and a pause on orders for the V8-powered version of the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series haven’t dulled the brand’s enthusiasm for the model, with an updated version of the rugged workhorse set to launch locally in November this year.

Set to launch with the brand’s 2.8-litre ‘GD’ turbo-diesel four cylinder engine, familiar to most Toyota HiLux owners, the new 70 Series carries over much of the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy of the last model, but with a downsized engine and automatic gearbox due to what Toyota says was feedback from customers.

Toyota Australia Vice President of Marketing and Sales Sean Hanley told journalists at a media preview for several new Toyota models that he’s confident in the new 70 Series, despite the idea of a four-pot under the hood being something he’d “probably never thought we’d hear”.

“A four-cylinder LandCruiser 70 in auto? Yes! very good,” Hanley said.

“Engineers, of course, have a unique sense of humour. So they've referred to this project as WTF. Not what you think - it's ‘why the four?’ Why the four? Well, let me tell you why.

“Their involvement in this new vehicle goes back five years to when they hosted their engineering colleagues from Japan on what we call a ‘Genchi Genbutsu’ tour, now Genchi Genbutsu literally translated means to go to the source. Go and find out, go and experience yourself. 

“So they came and they saw how real customers use this vehicle in places like Central Australia, driving under extreme terrain and in super remote areas.”

Hanley said as well as Toyota’s Japanese engineers seeing the importance of the model for a particular market in Australia, these customers are also the reason the four-cylinder, auto drivetrain combination has been implemented.

The updated 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series will launch in November this year.

“These customers also expressed strong demand for an automatic transmission because it makes the vehicle so much easier to handle for conditions such as towing trailers through sandy deserts,” he said.

“With a solid business case approved our local engineers have been testing, modifying and evaluating prototypes of this car since 2019.”

Small changes to styling are apparent, though the LandCruiser 70 Series' redesigned front is still very heavily reminiscent of earlier models, but inside there’s a new 4.2-inch instrument digital display, a 6.7-inch multimedia screen, and now Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

Additionally, even though its outputs are set for 150kW and 500Nm (just as in the HiLux), Hanley said the engine has been reworked specifically for the 70.

“Don't assume that we've simply taken the GD out of the HiLux. We've made a raft of changes to ensure this powertrain lives up to the high expectations of 70 Series drivers including modifications to the gearing and cooling,” he said.

More details of the updated 70 Series are to be confirmed closer to launch.

“In short, the inline four does everything the V8 does, but it's easier to drive and it's more accessible, with orders opening in October this year.”

Before anyone was able to ask, Hanley answered the question a few were surely poised to raise - the V8 isn’t dead yet. After having paused orders for the popular LandCruiser variant, Toyota isn’t completely putting an end to sales.

“And of course you will question - and I’d expect it in case you're wondering - you're not too late for the V8,” Hanley added.

“Although our order pause remains in place for now, while we work through with the customers that have been waiting.”

The updated 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series will launch in November this year, with more details to be confirmed closer to launch.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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