Changes to an iconic model exploit a loophole in the new vehicle safety requirements, giving it a second chance in Australia.
Toyota has reclassified its LandCruiser 70 Series ute to exploit a loophole in Australian safety laws.
Previously classified as a light commercial vehicle, the old off-road vehicle will soon be classified as a medium commercial vehicle – or truck – so that Toyota can circumvent the new side impact rules intended to protect the vehicle’s occupants.
Several vehicles were pulled from the local market when the rules went into effect last year for passenger cars, including high-profile favorites like the Nissan GT-R.
Toyota will eliminate the need for better side impact protection by increasing the gross vehicle mass of the LandCruiser to over 3,500 kilograms, taking it out of the category shared with vehicles like the Toyota HiLux and placing it in a shared class with small trucks.
The total weight of the fully laden LandCruiser will have to remain below 4500 kilos in order to be driven by people with a valid driving license, as opposed to commercial vehicle qualifications.
Other changes planned for November include a new pedestrian detection system and automatic emergency braking. The LandCruiser’s 151kW / 430Nm V8 engine remains in place.
Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations, said the reclassification was necessary to keep the LandCruiser on sale.
“The upcoming changes are designed to ensure that the legendary LandCruiser 70 series will continue to be available in the Australian market in the near future, where its popularity led to over 13,900 sales last year,” he said.
“The increase in GVM is sure to appeal to owners using the 70 Series as a commercial tool or seeking even greater prowess as a heavy-duty recreational off-roader.
“Combined with heavy-duty suspension and a towing capacity of 3,500kg, these upgrades will increase the versatility and solid reputation of this legendary vehicle.”
Originally published as Because Toyota says the LandCruiser is no longer a vehicle