New Models

The Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – the oldest new vehicle on sale today – will gain autonomous emergency braking tech, but avoid new side impact crash regulations due later this year, after the workhorse ute is re-certified as a truck. Dealers have also been advised prices will rise by up to $1600.

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The 37-year-old Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series – the oldest new vehicle on sale today – will sidestep strict new side impact crash rules due to come into force later this year, because the Japanese car giant will re-certify the four-wheel-drive ute as a medium truck.

Toyota Australia today issued a media bulletin highlighting the additional fitment of autonomous emergency braking to the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series later this year, coinciding with an upgrade of the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) beyond 3500kg.

However, the GVM upgrade means that Toyota will not be required to make costly engineering improvements to the side impact protection of the ageing vehicle.

Toyota Australia advised that the November 2022 update to the LandCruiser 70 Series will reclassify all models as “medium goods vehicles” to deliver “useful increases in payload”.

What the media bulletin did not highlight was the fact that this vehicle category change will exempt the LandCruiser 70 Series from being required to meet important side impact rules coming into force in Australia later this year.

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Almost 14,000 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series models were sold in Australia last year, many of them used in rural areas where single-vehicle, side-impact serious injury and fatal crashes are common.

Only one of the four models – the single-cab ute – has a five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2016. The other three variants (the four-door dual-cab ute, the wagon, and the Troop Carrier) only have two airbags and no safety ratings.

Furthermore, most customers on the waiting list will likely be met with a higher invoice price when they eventually take delivery of the vehicle.

Dealers have been advised of price rises of up to $1600 when the new model reaches showrooms this November, building on the current range which is priced from $67,400 to $75,600 plus on-road costs.

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While the GVM increase is billed as a move to increase payload, it will exempt the 70 Series range from new side-impact crash protection regulations due to come into force on 1 November 2022 for light commercial vehicles with GVMs under 3500kg, as reported last year.

There are no such regulations for vehicles with gross vehicle masses above 3500kg – allowing Toyota to keep the vehicle on sale, without needing to invest in costly structural upgrades.

Despite being one of the oldest new vehicles on sale today – this generation Toyota LandCruiser workhorse dates back to 1985 – there is currently a waiting list of up to two-and-a-half years, as reported by Drive last month.

However, it means the wagon, Troop Carrier and double-cab chassis versions of the LandCruiser 70 Series continue to go without side airbags – which were added to the single-cab chassis body style in 2016, which subsequently achieved a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Meanwhile, the autonomous emergency braking system incorporates pedestrian and cyclist detection, and is expected to be standard across the model range.

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Autonomous emergency braking will become mandatory for all newly-introduced cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles (GVM under 3500kg) from March 2023, or for all vehicles on sale in those categories from March 2025, irrespective of launch date.

The Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is no longer required to comply with this regulation, following its upgrade to a ‘medium goods vehicle’ with a GVM above 3500kg – however it will ensure it can remain on sale overseas, where AEB may become mandatory without the class restrictions.

All models will retain a 151kW/430Nm 4.5-litre turbocharged V8 diesel engine, powering all four wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. A 3500kg maximum braked towing rating will also carry over.

The 2023 Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series is due to arrive in Australian showrooms in November 2022 – just as the new side-impact safety regulations kick in on the first of the month.

Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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