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.
HERE'S A SUPER TRICKED OUT TOYOTA:
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.