Why Toyota says the LandCruiser is no longer a ute

Modifications to an iconic model exploit a loophole in new vehicle safety requirements, giving it a second chance in Australia.

Toyota has upgraded its LandCruiser 70 Series ute to take advantage of a loophole in Australian safety laws.

Previously classified as a light-duty vehicle, the aging off-roader will soon be classified as a medium-duty utility vehicle – or truck – so Toyota can circumvent new side-impact rules intended to protect vehicle occupants.

Several vehicles were pulled from the local market when the rules came into force last year for passenger cars, including top favorites such as the Nissan GT-R.

Toyota will circumvent the requirement for better side impact protection by increasing the LandCruiser’s gross vehicle mass beyond 3500 kilograms, removing it from the category shared with vehicles such as the Toyota HiLux and placing it in a class shared with small trucks.

The total weight of the fully laden LandCruiser will need to be kept below 4,500 kilos to be driven by people with regular driver’s licenses as opposed to commercial vehicle qualifications.

Other changes expected in November include a new pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking system. The LandCruiser’s 151kW/430Nm V8 engine remains in place.

Sean Hanley, vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations for Toyota Australia, 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 for the foreseeable future in the Australian market, where its popularity resulted in over 13,900 sales last year,” he said. declared.

“The increased GVM is sure to appeal to owners using the 70 Series as a business tool or looking for even greater capability as a heavy-duty recreational off-roader.

“Combined with a heavy-duty suspension and 3,500 kg towing capacity, these upgrades will enhance the versatility and reputation for toughness of this legendary vehicle.”

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