Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Toyota is doing me no favors here in Texas. Despite being a loyal Toyota owner for many years (there's one in the driveway now and over the past 30 years we've owned three other Toyotas, amongst other brands, between Mrs. El Fisho and I). I think we count as loyal customers.

As anyone who has spent much time reading my musings knows, the past couple of years I've made several posts about why Toyota does not sell the current "real" LandCruiser 70 here in America that they sell elsewhere in the world.

Here's a few pics of what you could waltz down to your local Toyota dealer if you lived down under and drive home, if you wanted. Some very cool vehicles.

They've got one called the Troop Carrier GXL. That's the one for me, a hardtop SUV in the classic design. The pickup truck version, particularly the double cab models, are also really cool vehicles.



You can go right here and see the REAL LandCruiser lineup as it sells in Australia, Singapore, Thailand and much of Europe, to name a few places.

But not in America

In America, we get this bloated excuse for a LandCruiser. Yes, it's much better than most other 4x4's, but very expensive and full of luxury items. It's a Luxury 4x4 that has not forgotten it's off road skills, but it's not a 4x4 like the LandCruiser 70 is a 4x4.


So the American version of the LandCruiser looks like an upgrade on a Lincoln Navigator.

Which vehicle do you think would last the next twenty years with a minimum of problems and a maximum of reliability? Heck, the fancy electronics alone on the American version would be enough to require big dollars 15 years from now when obsolete.

It's interesting to note that Australia gets to buy not only the fantastic LandCruiser 70, but also the LandCruiser 200, which is the same more or less as our American LandCruiser. They also get the FJ Cruiser down under.

I submit there are lots of owners of Land Rover Defenders and Jeep Unlimited Rubicons that would buy this Toyota. All other off road factors being more or less equal, the reliability question alone is enough to make the LandCruiser 70 the clear choice in a real utility vehicle in America.

I didn't really get into the specifics of the Aussie LandCruiser 70, but I read enough to know that it does have airbags and emissions controls (for Euro standards) so it's not like a total redesign of the line is necessary. No doubt some redesign and maybe a different engine or such, but for a carmaker that's easy.

How about it Toyota? How about a real LandCruiser in America?

Truth be known, were I a single man, which I am not and do not intend to be ever again, the FJ Cruiser might well be a great ride for me. It's just a bit small for family + kids. The half-rear doors wouldn't be as much of an issue for a single guy, or even a kidless couple, but add kids into the equation and those doors become a pain in the arse soon enough.

While the FJ would have enough cargo room for me the single guy with the rear seats folded down, with kids in the rear seats, the cargo room is sparse, when considering you've got to load cargo for a family and not a single person.

I know from owning a Wrangler that having sparse cargo area is a big drawback to taking the vehicle on family trips if you've got kids. Lots of times, we wanted the Wrangler to drive when we got to where we were going, but there just wasn't enough room for all the stuff a then family of three takes in the Wrangler to get there. And once El Fisho Jr. came along, there really wasn't room with all the baby stuff.

I suppose I could have gotten a roof rack and luggage carrier and maybe even one of those luggage trays that plugs into the trailer hitch and packed the Wrangler like it was a bug out vehicle. I do think, after years of thinking about this, that a good roof rack with a luggage carrier is the way to take a trip with a Jeep, even a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4 door.

But instead we got a bigger 4x4 SUV, not quite the SUV that the Wrangler was with it's V-8 and five speed standard but adequate for most family needs and most fishing trips. And now I want something substantial. Something I can ford a fordable river in, at one of my usual fishing spots.

Come on Toyota, give a fella a break over here in America and start selling the LandCruiser 70 over here.


  1. To be honest, I not sure that they would buy the land Cruiser. I don't know about America but in Europe owning a Toyota means you couldn't afford anything decent, and truth be told even though land cruisers are excellent off-road they're absolutely terrible on road. The handling and ride quality are appalling and sluggish ain't the word. All things considered I'd rate the diesel engine Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited as a lot better vehicle. it's as good off-road as anything but the massively overpriced Mercedes G-class Blutec. And alright, I know Land Rover used a poor reputation for reliability but that was years ago, nowadays I'd put the Defender 110 up against the Land Cruiser in terms of reliability and it's as good off-road and better on-road.

    The problem with Toyota is they did what land Rover and jeep did before them. They developed the market leading hardcore 4x4, then sat on their arse and let everyone else catch up. personally I think the luxury 4x4 like the Range Rover, Jeep Grand Cherokee, BMW X3, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, VW Touareg, Mercedes GL and Volvo XC90 are much better off road than people give them credit for, especially with the right tyres.

    1. Ha ha ha, right! I'm a BMW X5 owner and let me tell ya - it ain't off-roader I wish it was! Simpler, true 4x4 off-roader is a better option if you heading for adventure outdoors. If you are just riding from one hotel to another then your lux SUVs are fine. :)

  2. Been a long time, Rob, and I certainly appreciate your input. In America, Toyotas were for many years revered because of their ultra reliability. They're still better than American cars, and I'd buy a Jeep Rubicon if my experience with our last Wrangler were not so horrible.

    Just about all of the vehicles except the Grand Cherokee and the Volvo are outof my price range. My bud in Australia just scored a very nice used Range Rover and isn't looking back at the grand days of his Defender or the other Land Rover he owned.

    I agree about the LC's being terrible on the road.

    The new 4 door Jeeps, the Unlimited, does have a much improved road ride over the 2 door Wrangler we had.

    Keep writing over at your blog, Rob. I've been missin' it!

  3. Thanks Fish,

    I know that Toyota have recently had reported reliability issues with some of their cars but as far as I'm aware the Land Cruisers are still as ultra reliable as ever. Obviously they are reasonably priced if you already have a road car, but if not I just couldn't live with it as my road car.

    The Jeep Wrangler unlimited and Grand Cherokee are the first look at what FIAT brings to the table. Jeep was what FIAT bought Chrysler for. Talking of which my wife has got the new FIAT Panda 4x4. It looks like a FIAT 500 but it's as good off-road as the Grand Cherokee, although obviously it doesn't have anything like the towing capacity. If can transport four adults or two adults and have loads of room in the back. The police use them in the Alps. It's likely to be the basis of the new baby Jeep.