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2019 Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series Cab Chassis Review

Toyota LandCruiser 79 series single cab chassis 70th Anniversary Ute front

It’s an acquired taste but once you get used to Toyota’s LandCruiser 79 Series it makes sense… under certain conditions.

That’s because “Bruiser Cruiser” is the quintessential “fourbie’’ go anywhere and get back, tank-tough truck that is almost perfectly suited to most things this country demands.

Getting into a `new’ 79 Series single cab chassis is a time warp taking you back about 30 years in styling and design but look past that and you have something a bit special.

They “updated” 79 Series safety a few years ago to a 5-star ANCAP crash rating and ushered in other improvements but what you have here is essentially a 1980s one tonne ute on a rugged ladder chassis with a 4.5-litre, V8 turbo diesel engine and selectable 4WD.

No auto either as Toyota stayed with a five speed manual for the 79 Series, albeit with revised gear ratios on 2nd and 5th cogs giving better acceleration and easier cruising.

It looks the same as it always has but there are subtle differences to the sheet metal most notably the power bulge bonnet with room underneath for a turbo intercooler.

Advanced driver assist technology isn’t available but then those who buy/want a 79 Series wouldn’t want that sort of stuff anyway…. like me.

On the road the hard core 79 Series is tolerable; off road it’s almost unstoppable. Tote more than a tonne in the large tray and the 79 Series won’t flinch.

Then there’s the reliability factor…. big lazy V8 turbo diesel, strong, heavy chassis, truck components…. enough said.


It’s a double box that is distinctive and well known in this country. The bonnet is one big box as is the passenger compartment. I like it the way people might like Jeep’s styling – tough, no beg your pardons.

The best way to describe Cruiser 79’s external appearance is practical. There’s heaps of room under the wheel arches, an upright windscreen and in the case of the test vehicle, a large, 2.5 metre plus aluminium drop side tray.

There’s a military flavour to Cruiser 79 you can’t ignore and I reckon you could make running repairs to the body with a ball peen hammer if you had to.

Some good colours are available including a dark metallic grey that schmicks up the Cruiser a bit as do the 16-inch alloy wheels and high profile tyres.

They splash a fair bit of chrome around the nose these days and it looks pretty good all things considered.


Straight out of the 80s. Square, not very space efficient, no screen controller and an upright seating position due to the proximity of the back wall.

But it’s functional and they have modernised some aspects including on-wheel controls and easy to use rocker switches. The small green lit audio that includes Bluetooth connectivity is difficult to see and to use and is based on a menu you have to scroll through.

Once again, not a problem for people who aren’t tech’ savvy or tech’ slaves more like.

Toyota revised the seats a few years back and the two in the Cruiser 79 aren’t too bad over a long haul except for minimal recline for taller drivers. There’s but one cup holder and not much by way of storage in the tightish passenger compartment. You live with that.

Colours and textures are standard Toyota fare…


The 2016 revamp of Cruiser 79 brought with it plenty of worthwhile features like:

Drive and Engine

It’s the same engine as in LandCruiser 200 Series with only one turbo and they are like chalk and cheese.

The 79 Series runs out of puff too early and only generates 151kW and 430Nm, the latter figure being on par with a Hilux 2.8-litre four cylinder. And therein lies the rub, this vehicle needs more torque to shift its own 2175kg weight and loads of up to a GCM (Gross Combined Mass) total nearing 7000kg. I doubt the 79 Series would shift that.

Having said that, it’s super under-stressed and would likely last decades used in the correct manner.

The V8 goes pretty well on the highway and around town but creates a fair old din inside the cabin especially through the snorkel. I like the rumble of the V8 engine at low revs and the gearbox is direct and smooth to use. Huge turning circle though.

It would be possible to get the 10.7-litres/100km if you were careful but expect 12 just running around.

I towed a car and trailer with the 79 and it was OK, ran out of puff on long uphills which at times demanded a shift back to 3rd. This is where and auto makes sense but isn’t available.

Overall, I rather liked driving the big ole’ 79 Series. It’s an analogue throw back vehicle in many ways but delivers “real” driving where YOU need to take charge of the vehicle and actually drive it, not the other way around.


I was somewhat gob smacked to find out the 79 scored a 5-star ANCAP crash rating but that was back a few years. Probably wouldn’t get 5-stars today but it does have 5 air bags and other semi- driver assist features like VSC – Vehicle Stability Control, Trac control whatever that is and brake assist.

No advanced driver assist features at all but that could appeal to the typical 79 Series buyer. Desperately needs a reverse camera.

The thing is tough as nails and rides on a solid ladder chassis with 7 cross members while the weight itself would assist occupant protection in a collision (79 Series occupants that is).

It’s big and boofy making the 79 Series difficult to miss on the road.

Good Bits

Not So Good Bits


The 79 is an impressive beast and has no direct competitors here. It’s not for everyone and is more your country farm truck than a city vehicle though it’s OK in city driving apart from the big turning circle. I dunno, for less money, I would get a Hilux Rugged X which has superior performance, tows better, is easier to live with and has modern safety features.

Also Look At

Facts and Figures: 2019 Toyota LandCruiser 79 Series GXL cab/chassis

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

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