Wholesale engineering improvements to Toyota’s popular 79 Series double-cab chassis GXL have been rewarded with the rugged workhorse being named “4WD of the Year”.
The prestigious award from 4×4 Australia magazine recognises the introduction of a full electronic safety package and revisions to the powertrain that resulted in lower fuel consumption, better responsiveness, more relaxed driving and fewer emissions.
Features made standard as part of the late 2016 upgrade include vehicle stability control, active traction control, hill-start assist control, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution and cruise control, in addition to the existing anti-skid brakes.
LandCruiser’s high-torque 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 engine gained a diesel particulate filter and piezo-electric injectors while the five-speed manual transmission’s gearing was revised with taller second and fifth gears for enhanced touring capability. The award for the 79 Series double-cab GXL follows an extensive test program during which the magazine said its eight judges “hammered” each of the contenders in mainly off-road conditions.
“If you want a big, capable 4×4 that you can be confident will take you and your family to the most remote parts of Australia and get you home again, you can count on the LandCruiser 79 to do the job,” the magazine said.
“Effortless road ability, improved durability and elevated safety features make it a good all-round package whether around the country or on the job site.”
Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said credit for the award belonged largely with the company’s local engineers who carried out extensive development and testing across the country.
“Our engineers undertook more than 100,000km of extreme testing, 70 per cent of which was conducted off-road, including in some of the harshest conditions in Australia,” Mr. Cramb said.
“As a result, miners, farmers, governments and many other users now enjoy the new safety and improved touring features in addition to the vehicle’s unrivalled combination of reliability, towing, payload and off-road ability,” he said.
The LandCruiser 70 Series range – which also includes single-cab, wagon and troop-carrier body styles – retains its ability to offer maximum payload and the maximum 3,500kg towing capacity# at the same time.
The magazine noted that additional upgrades to single cab-chassis variants resulted in them achieving the maximum five-star ANCAP safety ratings.
Single cabs are now equipped with a larger and stiffer frame, two additional airbags (for a total of five), new or revised body panels and new front bucket seats that are more comfortable and help prevent whiplash.
The new frame is bigger and stronger with greater torsional rigidity due to thicker side rails and seven cross-members, including one that is new and three that have been re-engineered.
All vehicles in the 70 Series range are covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at $340 per service*.
Australians have bought more than 250,000 of these rugged workhorse vehicles – or almost 20 per cent of the 1.3 million vehicles sold around the world.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s in-house rivalry for sales supremacy between HiLux and Corolla is shaping up as another nail-biting contest in 2017, based on automotive market results for January.
HiLux took overall honours in 2016 as the best-selling car in Australia – the first time a vehicle other than a passenger car has earned the title for a full year.
Corolla, which took second place last year, has bounced back in January to post 2,943 sales – giving it a narrow lead of 241 vehicles over its stablemate.
Sales for both vehicles last month were higher than for January last year – by 6.7 per cent for Corolla (2,943) and 15.4 per cent for HiLux (2,702).
As a result, the margin is even tighter than in January last year when Corolla began the year with sales just over 400 ahead of HiLux.
By year’s end, HiLux had edged to victory with a total of 42,104 sales compared with 40,330 for Corolla. They were the only vehicles in Australia last year to exceed 40,000 deliveries – and the first time a single manufacturer has held the top two sales positions in the country.
Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the HiLux and Corolla sales teams were geared up for another close result in 2017.
“Australian motorists are the winners from intense competition while increased demand for both vehicles in January is a great omen for the rest of the year,” Mr. Cramb said.
Toyota retained its long-held position as market leader in January, lifting sales by 0.8 per cent over the same month last year to 12,554 vehicles.
In addition to the strong showing by HiLux and Corolla, Toyota’s January result was boosted by segment-leading performances from Camry, LandCruiser wagon, HiAce van and HiAce bus.