TOYOTA's new motto should be "Go big, or go home". The South African bakkie segment has of late been awash with a vast array of new bakkies hitting the market.
And to kick dirt in the face of competitors, Toyota has just launched the "big daddy" of bakkies – the mighty Land Cruiser 70 series with the much-anticipated new turbo-diesel V8 engine.
There is no arguing that the re-powered Land Cruiser is the new torque king of 4WD vehicles thanks to the adoption of Toyota's legendary 4.5-litre 32-valve V8 engine with common-rail direct injection and intercooler.
Three Land Cruiser 70 series models – the 76 Station Wagon, the 79 Single Cab and the 79 Double Cab – are the latest recipients of this Euro IV-compliant V8 engine delivering 151kW of power at 3400rpm.
Peak torque of 430Nm is reached at just 1200rpm and is held all the way to 3200rpm – the flattest torque curve of all Toyota's engines.
It boasts 55kW more power and 145Nm more torque than the naturally aspirated, indirect-injection, 4.2-litre, straight-six diesel engine that still sees service in selected Land Cruiser workhorses.
The new motor is matched to a five-speed manual transmission with two-speed transfer case and a part-time 4WD system with manual free-wheeling front hubs.
Toyota says the V8 engine's improved performance does not come at the expense of fuel economy: consumption is pegged at 11.55 litres/100km for all versions.
Talking of big, there's a mighty 130 litre fuel tank – the V8 diesel station wagon will cost you R1673.10 a pop to fill up. You need deep pockets for this one!
The 4.5 V8 diesel Single Cab has two 90 litre tanks which will push your fuel bill to R2445.30!
While this may make a huge dent in your wallet, buyers are lining up to buy the behemoth. "Anyone buying a 70-Series Land Cruiser does so with a specific need in mind, and that is to go off road. Indestructible build quality, defiant retro styling and now V8 turbo-diesel powered, make this new range of cruisers even more compelling. It's no wonder we already have more than 1300 customer orders for this new version," says Toyota's vice president of marketing, Glenn Crompton.
All turbo-diesel models get power steering, tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, airconditioning, electric windows, electric mirrors, a 12V accessory connector as well as remote central locking to mention just a few of the standard spec items.
In keeping with its role as a people carrier (for up to five people), the 76 Station Wagon boasts interior extras such as carpeted flooring, on-board SatNav, stereo system incorporating a CD player and an auxiliary USB port.
Aesthetically the most refined of the 70 V8 trio, the 76 is adorned with combination colour-coded and chromed accoutrements (bumpers, grille, over fenders), aluminium side steps and fetching 16-inch alloys. In 2013 guise, a 130-litre fuel tank and a spare wheel cover is added to the standard package.
The 79 Single Cab boasts a combined fuel capacity of 180 litres.
76 Station Wagon 4.5 V8 D – R587500
79 Single Cab 4.5 V8 D – R527000
79 Double Cab 4.5 V8 D – R567600
All new Land Cruiser 70 Series models come with a comprehensive three-year/ 100000km warranty.
These models are also supported by the ToyotaCare roadside assistance programme which entitles motorists to 24-hour roadside assistance.