Toyota LandCruiser 76 Series: Tow Test
True to its roots but still packing some serious grunt, the Toyota LandCruiser 76 Series is a tow vehicle you can rely on, time and again.
The Toyota LandCruiser 76 Series wagon was launched in 2007 when the entry-level version of the LandCruiser 100 Series with the 1HZ straight-six diesel engine left the market. With the 1HZ not able to meet new emissions regulations and a new, more upmarket 200 Series replacement on the way, Toyota had nothing to offer fleets and private buyers who wanted a basic 4WD wagon. The 76 wagon was the solution: it features a contemporary engine, but its body and chassis structure are, for the better part, the same as, or very similar to, the 1984 model.
Toyota didn’t just drop in a new engine, though. It had to replace the front sheet metal and modify the structure to house the new turbodiesel V8, and also widened the wheel track and increased the amount of sound deadening.
The LandCruiser is very simple inside, and very dated, too. The squared-off shapes of the grey plastic and the steel dashboard are still pretty much as Toyota designed them in the early 1980s.
But despite the old-school charm, the GXL’s front seats are comfortable and supportive. The driver’s seating position is high up in the cabin and this helps give a clear view, helped by the squared-off glass design and thin pillars. Vision rearwards is impeded by the large rear-seat head restraints.
The rear seat is flat in cushioning and not nearly as comfortable as the front buckets, but the actual space around rear passengers is generous – no complaints about head or leg room here. The only gripe is that there is no lap-sash seatbelt for the middle seat occupant, and neither is there a centre headrest. For the youngest folk, at least Toyota has seen fit to install seat anchor points on the rear tailgate headboard. As a commercial, there is no ADR requirement to do this, but at least Toyota acknowledges that some families might buy the 76 Series.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The 430Nm torque peak arrives at just 1200rpm, and that’s the reason this engine feels so good down low. Even though it’ll rev to 4000rpm in the lower gears quickly and relatively smoothly for a large-displacement diesel, the LandCruiser’s performance seems less impressive at higher speeds, perhaps due to the poor aerodynamics.
Offroad the LandCruiser is a very capable rig, with ample clearance, great low-range reduction and acceptable axle articulation – and with the standard front and rear diff locks on the GXL, the ’Cruiser will go almost anywhere. You can idle it along in first gear low-range and it just soaks it all up.
The squared-off 1980s styling is also an advantage offroad, where the easily seen bonnet corners and good over-bonnet visibility make the vehicle easy to place on narrow or washed-out tracks.
TOYOTA LANDCRUISER 76 SERIES SPECS
- Engine 4.5L V8 intercooled turbodiesel
- Power 151kW @ 3400rpm
- Torque 430Nm @ 1200-3200rpm
- Transmission Five-speed manual
- Length 4910mm
- Width 1870mm
- Height 1940mm
- Wheelbase 2730mm
- Ground clearance 215mm
- Kerb mass 2295kg
- Gross Vehicle Mass 3060kg
- Gross Combination Mass 6560kg
- Fuel tank capacity 130L
- Roof load 100kg (two bars), 150kg (three bars)
- Towing capacity unbraked/braked 750kg/3500kg
- TBM maximum 350kg
- From $61,990
Click here to read the full range review of the Toyota Landcruiser 70 Series
The full test appears in Camper Trailer Australia #89, June 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!