Torque of the Town

Torque of the Town

So, you’re looking for a brand new 4x4. Something that offers unrivalled performance and also trans-Africa reliability. You ask around and come up with a few options, but the fireside chat always ends up directing you to one vehicle, the Land Cruiser 70 4.2-litre diesel – otherwise known as the 1HZ.

Even the Land Rover fanatics will admit to the LC70’s indestructible nature and go-anywhere ability. So, you fork out the R507 000 it costs to buy the DC version, and start kitting it out.

At first, you’re concerned about the Cruiser’s lacklustre engine performance (96 kW), but while you race through the gears in search of horses, you assure yourself that you’ve done the right thing – you bought the most robust and dependable 4x4 money can buy. Besides, who needs to go faster than 120 km/h, anyway?

But once you burden your LC70 with its full-payload capacity of 920 kg, it suddenly feels like a malnourished carthorse begging for a bullet to the head. To add insult to injury, your highly capable Cruiser will never be considered for a Namib dune-route tour – it’s just too slow. So, what now? You’ve spent half a million rand on a vehicle that takes three years to overtake an eighteenwheeler. Going downhill. Not to mention the fact that you’ve now fitted a roofrack, drawer system, long-range tank and every bolt-on accessory money can buy. You’re invested in this 4x4, there’s no turning back. Even if you wanted to sell it, what would your chommies say? Everyone knows that you never sell a Cruiser!

So you modify. You fit a lowboost turbo charger. It makes a massive difference to your Cruiser’s performance, but it’s still like comparing a mule with a donkey – there may be some horsepower in there, but it ain’t no stallion. Of course, you could trade in your 4.2 and buy the 4.0-litre V6 model. But that engine is well known for its deep love of petrol. Not to mention that petrol isn’t always the most available fuel type in deep Africa. And so, with that, we finally arrive at the new LC70 V8: the Jacques Kallis of Land Cruisers, the ultimate all-rounder.

Its 4.5-litre V8 power plant isn’t new; this engine’s been around Australia for some time now. In fact, this turbo diesel V8 is the very reason why the LC70 has a bulge in its bonnet. While South African LC70 owners have been pottering about in their diesel donkeys, our Australian mates have been flying around in turbo-charged diesel V8s for years. Needless to say, many SA Cruiser fans weren’t happy with their limited engine choice and there was an urgent cry for the turbo-diesel V8 LC70 to be sold in SA.

Toyota initially tried to appease the complainers with the launch of the petrol-engined 4.0-litre V6 LC70, but folks insisted that the V8 TDI was the one and only...

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