TOYOTA has come up with a workaround for outstanding side-impact regulations by increasing the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of the selected LandCruiser 70 Series (LC70).
The updated LC70 pickup and utility vehicle, which will go on sale from November, will provide increased GVM (over 3,500 kg) and higher payload capacity that will effectively reclassify the model as a mid-section truck.
The modification means the LC70 will avoid the costly re-engineering required to improve the side-impact protection the now 37-year-old model offers, while at the same time offering customers what Toyota describes as “helpful payload increases.”
Changes made to the Class 70 apply only to utility and wagon replacements. The single cab version of the tool is the only variant that has received a five-star ANCAP security rating (albeit in 2016). Other variants – including the Troop Carrier – haven’t been tested and only offer driver and passenger airbag, anti-lock brakes, and traction and stability control.
From 1 November, light commercial vehicles with a gross gross weight of less than 3,500kg will be subject to stricter side-impact regulations under Australian Design Rule 85/00 (ADR 85). The changes have already affected many passenger car models and require major structural changes to reduce serious injuries and deaths from side effects.
The good news for LC70 utility and wagon buyers is that more safety gear is on the way. Toyota will be upgrading variants with a pre-collision safety system that includes Autonomous Emergency Braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection) from November but has yet to confirm whether the changes mean an increase in the price of the range.
Prices for the LC70’s range, utility, and wagon range from $67,400 to $78,500 plus on-the-road costs.
“The upcoming changes are designed to ensure that the legendary LandCruiser 70 Series will continue to be available for the foreseeable future in the Australian market, where its popularity led to more than 13,900 sales last year,” said Toyota Australia’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. and Franchise Operations, Sean Hanley.
“The increase in GVM is sure to appeal to owners who use the 70 Series as a trade tool or seek greater capability as a heavy-duty off-road recreational driver.
“Combined with the heavy-duty suspension and 3,500 kg towing capacity, these upgrades will enhance the versatility and solid reputation of this legendary car.”
Hanley said that more details about the LC70’s updates will be confirmed as the model’s domestic launch approaches. Despite the group’s less-than-stellar safety credentials, Toyota Australia has sold 3,367 models of the utility LC70 so far this year.
Competing in the Pick-Up/Cab-Chaisher SUV segment, the model competes with smaller utility models, including Toyota’s best-selling HiLux, as well as larger American models like the Chevrolet Silverado and Silverado HD, the 1500, 2500 and 3500 domains.