It’s rough as guts, as familiar as Uluru and there’s a fair chance it could probably scale the great rock in one giant leap. I’m talking about the 2017 Toyota 70 Series workhorse, while updated you’d hardly call it a makeover. That is no bad thing, ask any potential buyer or owner.
Variant: 79 Single Cab GXL
Engine / Transmission: 4.4 litre V8 Diesel. 5-speed manual
Vital Stats: 151kW @ 3400rpm / 430Nm @ 1200rpm
Toyota Claimed Fuel Economy: 10.7L / 100km
Price: From $66,490
Wow Factor: The price, at $70k once on the road, means this is no cheap truck. But you get a lot of practicality, versatility and most likely in excess of 20 odd loyal years of service. Its simple part time 4×4 system has one of those old-school transfer cases but does include automatic hubs. The rock climbing ability is hugely capable plus it’s the type of car you’d be comfortable driving during a zombie apocalypse. The bullet-proof feel is also complemented by a mammoth tray that would carry an awful lot of hay bales if required.
Most Impressive: This particular model now includes side passenger airbags, others in the almost unlimited lineup do not. The engine, while loud and crashy, is surprisingly fun to drive. While no rocket, it has more than enough up and go to keep up with today’s modern offerings. The fifth gear is very long and starts in 2nd are easy. I’ll be honest, baring a few creek crossings I used it to commute to and from work. While about as aerodynamic as an asteroid entering the stratosphere it proved to be quite liveable. Plus the GXL model has a bit of bling, a chrome grill and door handles give it some street cred.
Least Impressive: I could write about 100 things that are stunningly archaic but that’s not the point of this vehicle. It’s been a while since I reached out the window to adjust the side mirrors, had to turn windscreen wipers on manually, and heaven forbid also the headlights. The radio system looks like it should still have a cassette player, but the steel aerial does go up and down on its own. However if it snapped off I’m sure a coat hanger bent into the shape of Australia would suffice. The turning circle is bus like and the font bonnet bulge is a little over done.
The Sweeping Statement: I’ve been to and seen the natural habitat of these legendary machines before, I get their intended purpose. So while driving around in Sydney traffic looks a little silly, this great piece of granite still holds its own in both environments.