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Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Should I buy a Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series with a V8 or four-cylinder?

By Vaseline May26,2024

Opinion is sharply divided among Toyota LandCruiser diehards about whether the new four-cylinder diesel in the 70 Series is as good, if not better, than the V8, so let’s settle the arguments…

There is no vehicle available in new car showrooms today that can survive the harsh Aussie Outback better than the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series.

Far away from the colour and variety of cars trundling through the urban jungle and along our ocean boulevards, the automotive landscape becomes a monotonous sea of hulking white workhorses, all bearing battle scars from a hard life on the land.

And all wearing one badge, the trusted Toyota LandCruiser.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme was built using the LandCruiser’s muscle and stamina. And, since then, farmers, miners, rangers, emergency services and adventurers across this wide brown land have relied on Toyota’s toughest truck for more than 70 years.

A key element of its trusted reliability is that, over that period, there has only been three generations of the utilitarian LandCruiser: the original 20 Series, its successor, the 40 Series, which was introduced in 1960, and the 70 Series that first arrived in 1985 and is still on sale today.

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Like Grandpa’s axe, the 70 Series has seen numerous upgrades over the years yet remains one of the most archaic vehicles on our roads, mixing its basic amenities with massive workload and off-roading capabilities.

Its most recent refresh, introduced late last year, brings a new retro-inspired design, more modern conveniences, increased safety, and the option of a four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine for the first time since the early 1990s.

Now, a four-pot 70 Series might seem sacrilegious – or at least a little undercooked – to those that have lived with, or made a living from, the mighty power of a V8 LandCruiser. But Toyota claims the smaller engine doesn’t lack for anything when it comes to performance.

So, let’s look at the differences between the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series with the tried-and-proven V8 and its new four-cylinder sibling to see if they are equally as tough.

Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series better value with a V8 or a four-cylinder?

First of all, the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is offered in four body styles – the 76 Series basic wagon, the 78 Series longer-wheelbase Troop Carrier and 79 Series Single and Double Cab Chassis utilities – all with the choice of the new 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder or the 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8.

The wagon, Troop Carrier and Double Cab Chassis Ute can be had in two trim levels, the entry-level WorkMate and range-topping GXL, while the Single Cab Chassis exclusively has a mid-grade GX version.

4 Cylinder
8 Cylinder

In any case, the four-cylinder versions are more affordable than the V8, which commands a $4100 premium across the range. The cheapest LandCruiser 70 Series is the four-cylinder Workmate Wagon at $75,600 plus on-road costs, while the most expensive is the Double Cab GXL V8 at $87,600 plus ORCs. See our full price list below.

All 70 Series LandCruiser models are covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with an additional two years for the engine and driveline if the vehicle is maintained in accordance with its mandated servicing schedule every six months or 10,000km.

To keep the ’Cruiser trucking along is not a cheap exercise though, with each visit costing $525.

What are the main differences between the V8 and four-cylinder versions of the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series?

There are no variations in the level of standard equipment between V8 and four-cylinder versions of the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series, other than what’s under the bonnet.

The 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 remains unchanged, producing 151kW of power and 430Nm of torque, and is exclusively offered with a five-speed manual transmission.

The 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder is lifted directly from the hugely popular Toyota HiLux and, despite its smaller capacity compared to the V8, generates almost an identical figure in terms of maximum power (150kW) and yet even more torque, with 500Nm.

What the numbers don’t tell you directly is both engines work very differently, with the V8 delivering its maximum pulling power over a wider range of engine speeds, between 1200-3400rpm, compared the four-cylinder’s narrower torque curve (1600-2800rpm).

The other significant difference is the four-cylinder is only offered with a six-speed automatic transmission, which broadens its appeal by making it easier to operate.

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Does the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series V8 have more features than the four-cylinder model?

Nope, as we mentioned the only difference in specifications across the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series model and trim range is the mechanical configuration.

All variants now feature a new-look front-end with halo-type LED headlights that flank a stamped TOYOTA badge in the squared-off grille and hark back to previous LandCruiser models.

The cabin has been updated with a similarly retro-inspired instrument cluster and a new 6.7-inch multimedia display that incorporates smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android devices.

The basic WorkMate models, along with the Single Cab GX, have vinyl interior trim, steel wheels, air-conditioning, a two-speaker audio system (four in the wagon) and one 12V and one USB-A power outlet.

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For between $3300 and $4200 extra (depending on model), the GXL trim brings 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome painted bumpers, aluminium side steps, cloth seat trim, power windows, keyless entry with central locking and two additional USB-C power outlets.

Importantly, for off-roading, the GXL also includes front and rear locking differentials as standard, which can be optioned on the GX Single Cab Chassis Ute and WorkMate Double Cab Chassis Ute for an additional $1500.

All 70 Series models come standard with a snorkel and full-size spare tyre.

Both Single Cab and Double Cab LandCruiser 70 Series are offered with the choice of six colours – French Vanilla, Sandy Taupe and Midnight Blue at no extra cost, and Silver Pearl, Graphite and Merlot Red for an additional $675 – with the wagon also available in new Eclipse Black. The Troop Carrier, meanwhile, is limited to just three paint options: French Vanilla, Sandy Taupe and Midnight Blue.

4 Cylinder Turbo-Diesel
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Does the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series have more interior space with a V8 or four-cylinder?

No, the choice of engine doesn’t alter the cabin in any way. But picking the right body style with the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is important, depending on the job description and how many occupants you intend to carry.

The entry-level wagon is exclusively offered as a five-seater, but the longer-wheelbase Troop Carrier is only a two-seater in its basic WorkMate trim and adds a split-fold second row in the GXL model.

In ute form, the Single Cab Chassis has space for only two while the Double Cab adds 690mm to the length of the cabin for back seats with room for five.

Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series safer with a V8 or the four-cylinder?

All Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series models now include an upgraded suite of advanced safety features as part of the 2024 refresh.

This includes the addition of lane departure warning, road sign assistance and automatic high beam on all variants, plus downhill assist control on four-cylinder models with the automatic transmission and a reversing camera for the wagon.

These come on top of more recent upgrades that brought autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, stability control and electronic brake-force distribution.

While the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series has yet to score an official ANCAP safety rating, its predecessor achieved a five-star rating under less stringent (and now outdated) protocols in 2016 – and that only applied to the Single Cab Chassis.

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Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series more economical with the four-cylinder than the V8?

The smaller turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is more efficient than the V8, but not by that much.

Toyota claims the 2.8-litre has a combined average fuel consumption of 9.6L/100km whereas the 4.5-litre V8 consumes an average of 10.7L/100km.

With 130L fuel tank capacity in the wagon and both utes, the four-cylinder provides an extra 100km safety net in terms of overall driving range. But you should still be able to eke out more than 1200km between refills with the V8.

The Troop Carrier, on the other hand, has even more capacity with two separate 90L fuel tanks, giving it the ability to cover more than 1800km with the four-cylinder and nearly 1700km with the V8.

Either way, the four-cylinder will save you money on fuel. If you cover around 15,000km each year, which is roughly the distance to drive a lap around Australia, the four-pot ’Cruiser will cost around $350 less: enough to ditch the caravan for a day and splurge on a five-star hotel suite or shout the cattle hands a round at the pub after the muster.

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Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series better to drive with a V8 or the four-cylinder?

There’s an argument for and against both engines in terms of character, but neither choice greatly alters the fundamental capabilities of the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series.

On an emotional level, the V8 delivers a more engaging experience thanks to its growling soundtrack and effortless pulling power. But it is also harder to operate, rowing through the clunky five-speed manual to keep the engine in its sweet spot while giving your left leg a one-sided workout on the heavy clutch pedal.

The four-cylinder certainly doesn’t sound as good and you need to dig deeper into its reserves to extract the same level of grunt, but the gear ratios in the six-speed auto are well suited to the torque curve and the extra cog makes highway driving more relaxing.

The biggest advantage with the four-cylinder is the self-shifting transmission, which simply makes driving the LandCruiser easier.

Otherwise, the LandCruiser remains an oddity on anything other than the roughest roads, boggiest paddocks or dustiest Outback tracks. It’s cumbersome through even the slightest corner, the steering is vague, the suspension is jiggery and there’s persistent wind and road noise entering the cabin at any speed. This is a vehicle built for purpose rather than pleasure.

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Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series more capable off-road with a V8 or the four-cylinder?

Toyota didn’t just drop the HiLux’s four-cylinder into the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series without a rigorous testing and validation program. In fact, it spent seven years punishing the powertrain in the roughest parts of Australia to ensure it lives up to the 70 Series’ reputation and customer expectations.

As such, the four-cylinder features a raft of unique features in the 70 Series, including a bigger radiator fan to optimise cooling, an isolation crank pulley, redesigned oil pan, strainer and oil level sensor, repositioned oil filter and a unique balance shaft.

The end result is hugely impressive and equally as capable as the V8. It’s probably even easier to drive in really slow and rocky terrain, thanks to the automatic transmission and the introduction of hill descent control on gnarly downhill sections.

No matter which engine you choose, all LandCruiser 70 Series models have a low-range transmission and front coil-spring and rear leaf-spring suspension with live axles. As mentioned previously, all GXL versions have locking differentials at both ends for maximum traction in slippery conditions.

In WorkMate spec, both Single and Double Cab Utes have 35-degree approach and 29-degree departure angles (33/27 degrees respectively in GXL form) and 330mm or 316mm of ground clearance (Single/Double Cab). The wagon and Troop Carrier have 35-degree approach and 25-degree departure angles and 317/305mm of ground clearance respectively.

toyota landcruiser 70 series range

Are there payload or towing capacity differences between the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series with a V8 or four-cylinder?

Here’s where things get interesting: the four-cylinder 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series can carry more weight than the V8.

Both have a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3510kg and a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg, but because the four-cylinder is lighter than the V8 its payload is increased by roughly 60kg, depending on the model.

For Single Cab variants, the WorkMate can carry a maximum of 1365kg with the four-cylinder and 1305kg with the V8. It’s even more in the GX and GXL models, which can carry a maximum of 1380kg with the four-cylinder and 1320/1315kg with the V8.

Double Cab models vary between 1325kg for the four-pot GXL and 1250kg for the V8-powered WorkMate, while the best-performing Troop Carrier and wagon versions are the four-cylinder GXL models (1115kg and 1210kg respectively).

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Is the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series more reliable with the V8 or the four-cylinder?

That’s the unknown question here, considering the newness of the four-cylinder 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series.

But the engine is a well-proven product already from the HiLux, Fortuner and 150 Series Prado. Plus, it’s worth noting the seven-year development program and detailed changes specifically for its application in the LandCruiser.

Toyota Australia has also said that diesel particulate filter (DPF) issues that have been the subject of a class action brought against the car-maker by HiLux, Fortuner and Prado owners don’t extend to the new 70 Series four-cylinder.

The bigger issue right now is that Toyota can’t guarantee new customers the option of a V8 as it has a massive backlog of existing orders.

Expert Verdict: Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series V8 v four-cylinder diesel

As Sam Charlwood wrote in his review of the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series four-cylinder, it really depends on who you are and why you’re buying this vehicle in the first place.

For budget-conscious fleets and business buyers, the new four-cylinder 70 Series mounts a strong case, opening it up to an entirely different segment – and, importantly, to those who can only drive automatic transmissions.

That said, the four-pot’s fuel savings are negligible, and the long-term reliability of the engine is obviously still to be proven. The drive experience isn’t exactly what LandCruiser aficionados know and love either.

That brings us to the V8, which is much more engaging, offers considerably more character and is still the more enjoyable drivetrain of the two.

Old habits certainly die hard.

How much does the 2024 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series cost?
76 Series Wagon WorkMate (a) – $75,600
76 Series Wagon GXL (a) – $79,800
76 Series Wagon GXL V8 – $83,900
78 Series Troop Carrier WorkMate (a) – $79,200
78 Series Troop Carrier WorkMate V8 – $83,300
78 Series Troop Carrier GXL (a) – $82,500
78 Series Troop Carrier GXL V8 – $86,600
79 Series Single Cab Chassis WorkMate (a) – $76,800
79 Series Single Cab Chassis WorkMate V8 – $80,900
79 Series Single Cab Chassis GX (a) – $78,800
79 Series Single Cab Chassis GX V8 – $82,900
79 Series Single Cab Chassis GXL (a) – $80,900
79 Series Single Cab Chassis GXL V8 – $85,000
79 Series Double Cab Chassis WorkMate (a) – $79,300
79 Series Double Cab Chassis WorkMate V8 – $83,400
79 Series Double Cab Chassis GXL (a) – $83,500
79 Series Double Cab Chassis GXL V8 – $87,600
*Prices exclude on-road costs

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