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2022 Toyota Landcruiser 79 Series Ute Review [Minor Update]

Landcruiser 79 Series UTE Review

For more than 30 years, the Toyota Landcruiser has been a frequent and iconic sight in the Australian Outback, aka ‘Landcruiser Country’!

The latest range, the 79 Series of Toyota Australia Landcruiser Landcruiser, is still the King off the road.

It is built for one specific purpose; hard bar work. While the huge range of mid-range off-road four-wheel drives available these days can also take a beating, the real defining point of a Toyota Australia Landcruiser is it can do so over and over, and over, for years on end.

They are true workhorses, straight off the showroom floor, and have very few heavy-duty competitors.

2022 Toyota Landcruiser 70 Series Review Update

Believe it or not, Toyota has refreshed this 70 series, although, no major changes, so detailed review below is still very relevant with the exception of the following changes in the 2022 model

  1. Automatic locking hubs, so you don’t have to always get out to engage the hub. Although there is a manual override
  2. And the Biggest news! Air Conditioner is now standard!
  3. Most of the components are the same, and haven’t changed in 10-20 years. So that’s great news for those with old old landcruiser that many of the parts will still be the same.
  4. The interior hasn’t really changed as expected, the radio and radio clock have received updates
  5. The Infotainment system was recently updated to have satellite navigation, but not Apple car play or Android auto.
  6. No parking sensors, no rearview cameras or extra driving assist tech
  7. There are now 2xUSB A ports in the center console, so you don’t need an adapter for the cigarette lighter.
  8. There is also a holder for your phone next to the cup holder
  9. No Engine or transmission changes, still stuck with a 5-speed manual and no automatic option. It still revs high when you are doing 100km/h so not the most economical option.

Still built in Japan, they are still very reliable and no doubt will keep Australia

The 79 Series Landcruiser and Trayon Dual Cab

Due to its off-road prowess and reliability, the 79 Series is a very popular choice for off-road touring with a Trayon dual cab slide on camper.We’ve fitted many a Trayon to Landcruiser’s which have traversed the most remote corners of the planet, from the Kimberley in Australia to the African Savanna, all the way to the icy cold roads of Europe and Alaska!!!

Here you can find the 79 series review:

This 79 Series Landcruiser review is based on our in-depth experience with the Landcruiser range. We’ve been building off-road campers for 25 years! Not far off the 33 years Outback reign of the Landcruiser

itself, and we have been fitting Cruiser’s with Trayon Slide the entire time. This review provides everything you need to know to decide whether or not you want to buy a 79 Series Landcruiser for work, play, or saddle it with a Trayon and gallop off into the horizon.

Trayon’s Official 79 Series Landcruiser Ute Review

One of the unique things of the latest model is how little it has changed from its ancestors. While most commercial vehicles these days are in a technological race to see who has the most gadgets and who can look the most futuristic, the Landcruiser isn’t swept up into the buzz.

It’s focused on what you need for hard work, built stronger to last longer than almost any other vehicle out there.

79 Series Landcruiser Origins

It all started with the original 70 Series in the 1980s. From there, sprung the 75 Series, 78 Series and most recently, the 79 Series Landcruiser.

Today’s 79 Series Landcruiser Ute ARB Front bar & Roof Rack

Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser parked on grass with Trayon Slide on Camper. ARB Front Bar and Roof Racks.

Today’s range includes three variants. The Workmate (the no-frills version), GX and GXL (containing a few extra bells and whistles).

There are two different body styles. The dual cab chassis and the single cab chassis. The dual-cab only comes in the Workmate and GXL variants, while the single cab chassis comes in all three variants; Workmate, GX and GXL.

In 2017, the 79 Series Landcruiser had a range of updates, the first in four years. The dual-cab took out the 2017 4×4 Australia winner of the year, demonstrating why it is still the off-road king! Throughout this review, we discuss the implications of these updates.

What Are Toyota’s Heavy Duty Competitors? – Toyota dealer

In today’s 4×4 market, which is full of mid-range four-wheel drives like the Ford Ranger, the 79 Series Landcruiser is one of the last heavy-duty four-wheel drives left standing. The Nissan Patrol reduced its engine capacity and their ute variant is no longer available for sale in Australia. The other recent competitor, the Landrover Defender, is no longer manufactured at all.

One of the only capable contenders was the  Mercedes G300 Cab Chassis Professional. However, sadly it was the most recent of a long line of heavy duty utes to pass away, like the Landrover Defender and Nissan Patrol before that. 

The Mercedes was a great touring option if you plan on stopping at nothing to ensure your vehicle is tough, however, we liken its abilities to a small off-road truck, rather than a direct contender to the Landcruiser. The Mercedes is in a class of its own. Check out our recent comparison between the Toyota and Mercedes G Class ute for more information. If you were to fit the Landcruiser out with aftermarket accessories to be as closely matched to the G300 Ute, the cost is frightfully close!

As a result, the 79 Series Landcruiser currently has the heavy-duty four-wheel-drive market all to itself, adding to its solid grip on the heavy-duty 4×4 Outback crown.

Although the Ineos Grenadier are taking aim at the Aussie outback legend, which is set to be released in 2023 in Australia. 

Interior Features

The interior of the 79 Series Landcruiser is basic and unaffected by the race for style and tech.

You can expect all the essentials nestled into a nice sized dash. Radio and CD systems, air vents, a power antenna, USB and auxiliary input, a clock, plus MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity. Seats are basic, with limited adjustability, but the height of a Landcruiser matched with its almost vertical windscreen create a very good view out across the hood.

The GXL variant has a few extra trimmings, like cloth trim and carpet flooring, power windows, central locking, and remote keyless entry. In the dual cab range, the backbench seats provide sufficient room for passengers (albeit with limited legroom, waist style seat belts only, and no rear air vents).

The real surprise is that air conditioning is still not standard, and is a hefty $2700 dealer fitted option (plus it’s not climate control). Add this to the retro-looking radio buttons and ventilation controls (which are the same as they were in 1984), and it really does feel like you’re in a new car meant for one thing only – hard yakka.

Exterior Features

79 Series Landcruiser Exterior Features. With aluminum storage box on desert road. It has a Trayon Camper on the back.

The great thing about the 79 Series Landcruiser is the way it has retained that retro look. It is a look associated with the Outback and contributes to its continuing iconic reputation.

The no-frills Workmate variants have a simple, work focused feel. The extent of their style is a black front bumper and radiator grille. They come standard with rear mudflaps and steel side steps.

The GXL variants are slightly more imposing with wheel arch flares and a chrome grille. They also come with aluminium side steps and front mudflaps.

79 Series Landcruiser Engine Specs

All 79 Series Landcruiser utes are powered by a 4.5L V8 Turbo-Diesel engine. This provides a heap of low down torque, which makes for great performance when carrying big loads, towing, and driving off-road. In terms of power, it pumps out 151kw at 3400 rpm and 430Nm at 1200 rpm.

All models come with a five-speed manual transmission gearbox. This has been an issue in the past because the engine revs quite high when at cruising speed on the highway. One of the reasons Toyota may have stuck with five gears is that it reduces the number of gear shifts throughout the vehicles life, thus reducing long term wear and tear to the gearbox and clutch.

The 2017 updates lengthed the second and fifth gears, which had two key benefits. First, it allows you to use the second gear for longer in soft terrain (instead of shifting to third and losing revs and momentum), and second, it lowers revs at highway cruising speed. We discuss these benefits further in the review.

79 Series Landcruiser Dimensions

The 79 Series Toyota Landcruiser utes are 5220mm long, 1955 to 1970mm high (depending on the type of model), and 1790mm to 1870mm wide (also dependent on the model). The wheelbase (from the midpoint of the front wheel to the midpoint of the rear wheel) is 3180 mm in length.

Driving Assist Technology

All models come standard with:

  • cruise control
  • ABS
  • vehicle stability control (VSC)
  • active traction control (A-TRC)
  • hill-start assist control (HAC)
  • brake assist
  • electronic brake-force distribution in Landcruiser.
  • Stability control

Safety Equipment and Ratings

The 2017 update handed the single cab chassis model a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The most notable changes included additional curtain and driver knee airbags, thicker frame rails and front seatbelt pre-tensioners.

However the dual-cab chassis is limited to the standard driver and passenger airbags, and as a result, has not yet been given the same safety rating. It does however come with an engine immobiliser, something the single cab chassis does not.

Ute Driving Performance

79 Series Landcruiser Ute Driving Performance. White single cab Toyota with UHF antenna and Snorkle with Trayon Camper on the Tray

The 79 Series has a recirculating ball and nut steering wheel, as opposed to the more modern rack-and-pinion set-ups. However, this does not affect the feel too much. It still has a nice predictable feel on the open road.

Body roll is more pronounced when cornering than many of the mid-range four-wheel drives. This is because the Landcruiser is taller, with a skinnier wheel track. However, it doesn’t cause any difficulties when driving.

As can be expected with a heavy-duty off-road vehicle, the suspension is stiff. The stiffness is reduced when carrying a load, which smooths out the impact over lumps and bumps. If you’re looking for a vehicle based on its ride quality, then a 79 Series Landcruiser is not your ideal match! But that shouldn’t be what you’re here for anyway.

When putting the pedal to meddle there is some significant engine vibration, but this is nothing surprising with a rough and ready powerful workhorse.

One of the key things we would like to see in the next update is an increase in breaking towing capacity. We find that braking could be better.

79 Series Landcruiser Weight and Payload Capacity

The kerb weight and gross vehicle mass for the single cab and dual cab vary slightly:

 Single CabDual Cab
Kerb weight (kg)2,1802,190
GVM (kg)3,4003,300
Payload Capacity (kg)1,2201,110

For an idea of what you will be able to carry with this payload capacity, we’ll give a Trayon example. At 390 kgs, a Trayon camper is the lightest in its class.

With a single cab 79 Series Landcruiser, after sliding on a Trayon, you’ll still have more than 800 kgs left for everything else. The dual-cab will give you slightly less. While it still seems a lot, it will fill up quickly (including all your passengers, fuel, water ad everything else).

Later in the article, we discuss the upgrades which can give you more wriggle room to carry extra gear and deal with unexpected load carrying requirements in the Outback.

79 Series Landcruiser Towing Performance

All 79 Series Landcruisers have a towing capacity of 3,500 kgs, a big feature for anyone wanting to haul a big load.

However one needs to be careful with this figure. Like many other Tonne utes with the same towing capacity, this limit is a bit ambiguous, with very limited warranty options if there is a chassis issue.

In particular, there are some concerns about genuine Toyota towing hitches (or a lack of), which we discuss further in our comparison article between the Landcruiser and the Mercedes G Class ute.

79 Series Landcruiser Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is one of the weaker points of a 79 Series Landcruiser. But with a V8 Turbo-Diesel, that’s nothing too surprising!

The 2017 update did quite a bit to improve these thirsty vehicles. The gearbox tweak extended the 5th gear by almost 15 per cent. As a result, the Toyota will cruise along at 100 km/h revving around 2000rpm.

The new gearbox, combined with piezo injectors and a turbo-diesel particulate filter (which were required to comply with modern emission standards), lower overall fuel use by around 10 per cent.

Toyota’s claimed overall turbo-diesel fuel economy (the average of urban + highway driving) is 10.7 L/100km. We recommend it will more often be around the 12 – 14L/100km range. That’s unladen.

Off-Road Capabilities

To give you an idea about the 79 Series Landcruiser’s off-road prowess, it is one of the few utes on the market we would feel confident driving straight off the showroom floor and out to the Canning Stock Route.

Off-Road Specs

Standard ground clearance is an impressive 283mm, max wading depth is 700 mm, the max approach angle is 35 degrees and departure angle 27 to 29 degrees, depending on the model.

Unlike the mid-range four-wheel drive category (e.g. Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux), the new car, Landcruiser has very few advanced off-road aids like hill ascent and descent cruise control, or off-road stability assistance. And it doesn’t need them.

A Cruiser in the two-wheel-drive will outperform many four-wheel drives! Enter 4×4 mode, lock the diff/s, and a 79 Series will just about go anywhere you point it! Add a few extras like a front diff locker, lift kits and 4×4 tyres and you will be thoroughly impressed. Rear diff lockers are standard in all models. Front diff lockers also come standard with GXL dual-cab variants or can be added for $1500 extra.

Off-Road Ready with 79 series Landcruiser

With auto-locking hubs, front and rear live axles, front coil springs, rear leaf springs and an impressive low-range gearing of 44.1:1 in first gear, there won’t be too many places you’ll get stuck. Turn off active traction control (to prevent loss of power to slipping wheels) and you have an ‘access all areas’ machine!

A long clutch is perfect for balancing power while traversing rough terrain, and an idle-up button can be pressed to stop revs dropping too low. The standard snorkel is ready for water crossings and standard 265/70R16 tyres come with more than enough sidewall.

Off-Road Issues

The minor issues to keep in mind include:

  • Lower maneuverability in tight situations than some smaller four-wheel drives.
  • A wider front wheel track than the rear (50mm on each side), causing the rear wheels to jump around a bit in soft terrain as they try to find their own track.
  • Low down the location of the alternator susceptible to mud and water damage.

79 Series Landcruiser Configurations (Cab/Tray setup)

79 Series Landcruiser Configurations (Cab/Tray setup) Toyota Camper, Ute back camper with Trayon slide on camper.

A 79 Series single cab will usually come standard with a 2.4 m long tray. Dealer upgrades are available from 2.5 to around 2.7m, giving you valuable extra headboard space, and more flexibility when carrying loads. A dual-cab version will usually come with a 1.8 m long tray.

Trays are available in light alloys, steel or aluminium. We prefer aluminium trays because they are the lightest option and thus do not impact your new car payload capacity as much as the heavier tray options.

Spare Tyre Configurations

Interestingly, the 79 Series Landcruiser ute doesn’t come with the option for an under chassis spare tyre mount like most four-wheel-drive utes. This means you need to integrate your first spare into your tray somehow. Your options are behind the headboard, or an upgrade to an under-tray mounted spare (which is where the whole tray is lifted slightly to fit a space between it and the chassis).

Toyota Landcruiser offers all sorts of genuine Toyota trays to fit these needs. A Landcruiser tyre on a steel rim will weigh around 40 kgs, so it’s very important to get a tray that allows you to position it to result in the best weight distribution possible. We have seen Landcruiser rigs with two spares attached to the very rear of the vehicle (i.e. on the camper or canopy), which places a huge strain on suspension at all times. We strongly discourage this approach.

With the dual-cab version, it is best to go with the under-tray spare approach, because you already have less tray length to store things like a spare behind the headboard. This does raise the centre console of gravity of your load slightly but is not enough to cause any real issues when travelling off-road. The raised tray further aids the mounting of a Trayon camper. Dual cab camper models are built to overhang the cab slightly, and the extra height of the tray reduces the number of modifications we have to make to the Trayon to fit over the cab.

Other Tray Storage Options

The tray can be fitted with various storage options like racks, standard boxes or gullwing boxes (which we can do at Trayon, check out our post on creating expedition vehicles). The Trayon aftermarket gullwing box sits permanently on the chassis rails behind the cab, with a tray mounted behind that.

Tray Installation Tips

Red/MaroonDual Cab 79 Series Landcruiser ute on rocky road with Trayon Slide on Camper on its tray

If you can’t get the tray you want through your Toyota Landcruiser dealer, contact us at Trayon and we can organise a Genuine Trayon Tray to be sent to and fitted at your Toyota Landcruiser dealer before you drive it out the door.

We don’t make the Genuine Trayon Tray here at the factory. We have an arrangement with a large, high-quality tray manufacturer to build trays that are perfectly suited to a Trayon camper. We can then have it sent anywhere in the country (i.e. to be fitted at your specific Toyota Landcruiser /Vehicle Dealer).

If you’re planning to carry a Trayon camper with your 79 Series Landcruiser, a Genuine Trayon Tray will help avoid hassles like:

  • Unsuitable tray length and width.
  • Too much headboard height.
  • Hook points in the way.
  • Bad tray space usage (some tray manufacturers place the headboard on top of the tray load surface which pushes the camper back further on the vehicle’s wheelbase unnecessarily).
  • A lip on the tray’s back edge (some tray manufacturers include a pesky edge lip that rises up at the rear of the tray which can impede loads).

The Genuine Trayon Tray combats all of these issues.

Touring Australia in a Landcruiser Ute

Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser Ute in simpson desert with a Trayon Slide on camper on its tray. Red sand.

The 79 Series Landcruiser is an off-road touring specialist. Not necessarily in comfort, but in capability, resilience and longevity.

So, the choice to go with a Cruiser is horses for courses. We like to explain it like this:

We would much rather spend 12 hours on the highway in a Hilux, than a 79 Series, because comfort is not what the 79 Series workhorse was made for.

But, we would much rather spend 12 hrs on the Canning Stock Route in the 79 Series Landcruiser, because we can be confident it will make it. Yes, you can upgrade a mid-range four-wheel-drive like a Hilux to take on the rough roads like the Canning, but you’ll flinch at every bump because you know at any moment something could go wrong. With a Landcruiser, you have more confidence and peace of mind in that kind of country.

That is why every farmer in the Outback has got one. Another advantage is that spare parts are readily available across the country, and Toyota dealers are spread far and frequently to address things that go wrong under warranty.

Driving Range

Toyota traditionally had two 90L fuel tanks on board, which was great for touring. The 2017 update removed the double fuel tank system and replaced it with a single 130L tank. So travel range has decreased a bit. However, this is slightly counterbalanced by the 10% better fuel efficiency.

You can still expect to get almost 900 km on a single tank (on the bitumen without a load).

If 130 Litres isn’t enough, you can find a variety of aftermarket fuel tanks to boost that capacity. For example, slimline engine bay tanks can be fitted underneath the belly of the tray which is filled via a separate nozzle, and use gravity to feed their contents into the main 130 L tank when it is empty. When full, the auxiliary tank also acts as a ballast to smooth out a Cruiser’s stiff suspension.

Touring Gear

The 79 Series doesn’t come with an auxiliary battery, but there is room to squeeze one in under the hood. Internal cabin storage space is also a bit light on for touring, so you may want to get an overhead compartment installed. Overall, the Cruiser comes with very little specialized touring gear, so you will have to look into aftermarket options.

A Long Touring Life

Camping in a Trayon Slide on camper Camper - 79 Series Toyota Landcruier Ute. Camp fire, gumtree

The great thing about a 79 Series Landcruiser is the engine size. It’s so powerful that it will never feel too stressed. It hasn’t got as high peak torque as some other four wheel drives, but it makes up for this in low down torque, which is what you really want when driving off road. What you end up with is a horse that can pull you through almost any terrain, year after year without a hitch.

Here is our main tips for touring in a 79 Series Landcruiser:

  • Get an Aluminium tray.

As we previously explained. It has big implications for storage flexibility, payload capacity, and off road performance. These days aluminium trays are super strong and much lighter than steel, so they don’t eat into your payload any more than necessary.

  • Add an Onboard diagnostics (OBD) link to your road trip tool kit.

Everyone’s old school tool kit had zip ties (for things which are moving but shouldn’t be), and WD40 (for things which aren’t moving, but should be). These days, an OBD link adds an extra option to check and solve issues with electronics and computer chip related alerts.

Electronics can actually limit driving capability if they sense a problem. If the vehicle senses an issue, it can limit driving capacity and actually prevent you from quickly limping to get mechanical help. The OBD link, synced to your phone or another device, can read the code sent out by the vehicle CPU and tell you what’s wrong.

Then you can use the old duck tape or WD40 to try and fix the issue and limp to a mechanic if you have too!

  • Ask the Dealer to organise a GVM upgrade before it’s registered.

A 79 Series Landcruiser GVM can generally be upgraded to 3.9 Tonne, and you may even find single cab options to go to 4.2 Tonne. A GVM upgrade to the maximum provides a number of benefits:

  • You can simply carry more gear.
  • You’re better prepared for unexpected circumstances while touring in the Outback (i.e. if you need to carry a mate’s gear as well). And
  • You can better cope better with the greater forces encountered while off road driving (particularly while towing or carrying heavy loads).

By doing this through the dealer and before first registration, it is considered a second stage dealer upgrade. This saves you money and also ensures it is legally certified at the same time.

5. Consider Trayon’s TurnKey service to create the ultimate touring setup based around a new 79 Series Landcruiser ute

Single Cab Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser ute with Aluminium tool box and Trayon Slide on Camper exploring Australian Bush

We have access to fleet sales, which means cheaper prices, and it forces car dealers to be more honest and thorough. We handle the end to end process, so all you do is order what you want in terms of dealer fitted options, aftermarket off-road accessories and camping equipment, then pick up a complete off road touring package a few months later!

For more information on what this service entails check out our TurnKey expedition vehicle article.  

Landcruiser Upgrades and Aftermarket Accessories

At the end of the day, the base model Workmate ute is only part of the way through the journey to a fully set up long-distance touring vehicle. In its simplest form, it will be able to survive the bush, but a number of mods and accessories are required to turn it into a suitable touting vehicle.

A key mode we recommend for a 79 Series Landcruiser is wheel track correction. Making the rear axle the same width as the front makes for better steering, braking and the rear wheels aren’t always trying to find their own track in soft terrain.

A luxury option is auto conversion (there is no auto option available on the showroom floor). However, it is very costly. So you should focus your rupies on other essentials before looking into the potential for auto-conversion.

The essential accessories which are handy for off-road travel and touring include:

  • Front end protection
  • Underbody protection
  • Brush bars
  • Side steps
  • Snorkel
  • Dual battery
  • Extra recovery points
  • Front and rear differential locks
  • A gross vehicle mass (GVM) upgrade and chassis extension if you want troop carrier to do everything and not tow it.

For aftermarket accessories, we recommend ARB simply because they have so many locations and contacts Australia wide, which is perfect for touring and Outback driving.

79 Series Landcruiser Warranty

Dual Cab Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser on Red sand by the beach with a Trayon Slide on Camper

Toyota provides a manufacturer’s warranty of three years or 100,000km (anti-corrosion warranty is 60 Months).

Off-Road Warranty Implications

Driving a Landcruiser off-road will not impact the warranty itself, but be aware that warranty only applies to factory defects (in materials or workmanship). So if you incur damage as a result of reckless driving, extreme weather, or any other accidental damage, you’re unlikely to find support through the vehicle’s warranty.

That’s where your insurance should come in! So, as with any vehicle purchase, make sure you find the right provider who can cover you for the type of driving you will be doing.

79 Series Landcruiser Value for Money

For the entry-level Workmate variant, the Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser single cab recommended retail price starts around $63,000 and $70,000 for the dual cab.

Just bear in mind that to turn these vehicles into full touring rigs, you will be looking at almost double that price if you decide to do things like add front bar, rear bar, locking differentials, offroad suspension, snorkel, dual batteries, automatic transmission and a chassis extension to name a few things.


Dual Cab Toyota 79 Series Landcruiser on Red sand with a Trayon Slide on Camper. Camper relaxing with esky.

Regardless of the extra dollars, it will cost for accessories and mods, what you get off the showroom floor will still go further into the Outback than almost any other vehicle, and will survive for far longer.

A 79 Series Landcruiser is a tough and resilient vehicle. land cruiser ute is a great match for a Trayon slide camper if you are planning on undertaking long off-road trips for many years to come.

79 Series Landcruiser ute is still the off-road King, and that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon! Subscribe to our news letter to know more details.

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