Despite rumors of its impending demise, you can still buy a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser at a U.S. dealership right now. We get the venerable 200 Series version SUV here in the States. But if you lived in South Africa, you could get a Land Cruiser 79 Namib, which is much, much cooler.
The beautifully brickish 70 Series has basically been in production, in some form or another, since the 1980s. The vehicle was significantly refreshed in 2014 without losing its signature stockiness. It’s a mainstay off-road workhorse all over the world, except for North America, where it’s not sold.
The 70 ships as a wagon-style SUV or with a utility tray like a pickup truck, the latter of which is what Toyota South Africa’s new Namib edition you see in these pictures is based on.
The Land Cruiser Namib is not a particularly extreme treatment, and that might be the best thing about it. Toyota pretty much just took its coolest-looking and most utilitarian truck and sprinkled all the best decorative bits and mild off-road upgrades you’d want to do without messing with practicality too much.
There’s a mesh grille, nice emblem’ing, big beefy steel bumper, LED spotlights, upgraded shocks, and inside, a canvas interior with special cooling ducts in the console to keep your sandwich or whatever from pre-cooking on desert road trips.
The tires are aggressive Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx with about 32 inches of diameter mounted on sensible 16-inch alloy wheels.
Under the expansive, flat hood a 1VD-FTV 4.5-liter turbodiesel makes a claimed 200-odd horsepower and about 317 lb-ft of torque. Low range is activated with a stick, as God intended, and as you can see in the photo there’s an honest-to-God manual transmission.
The vehicle’s full name is “Land Cruiser 79 4.5D V8 D/C Namib,” and Toyota wants R 893,600 (South African rand) for it, which is the equivalent of about $61,000. Which is about $20,000 less than the base price of a U.S.-spec 200 Series, not that pricing is apples-to-apples.
If Toyota could offer this thing at that price in America, most people reading this would break their ankles trying to get to dealerships. But the tax and smog and safety regulatory environment isn’t conducive to bringing the 70 Series stateside. And frankly, I imagine that most Americans would pick the relative refinement and creature comforts of the U.S.-spec Tacoma or 4Runner over this thing if it really came down to it.
But it’s fun to dream.