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How to Buy a Toyota Land Cruiser 70

Land Cruiser 70 Articles

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How to Buy a Toyota Land Cruiser 70

There’s exciting news on the Land Cruiser front as Toyota rolls out some of the newest 70 Series vehicles. It’s a long-awaited development that has captured the attention of diehard LC70s fans worldwide.

New Land Cruiser 70 announced for sale

Even more exciting are some of the modifications that include the introduction of an automatic transmission many Australian outback 70 Series owners have been requesting for years. The tradeoff is the inclusion of a modified Hilux inline-4 under the hood of the new 70. The V8 would have needed too many modifications to accommodate the automatic transmission, so Toyota switched gears and adjusted the Hilux GD to match the transmission change.

If you’re wondering why Toyota even entertained the idea of an automatic transmission, it’s because the Australian market worked with Toyota engineers to design a more efficient 70 Series capable of taking on the outback conditions. According to engineers, the need to get lifesaving equipment into the most remote areas was more difficult with a manual transmission, so Toyota worked closely with Toyota Australia to meet the needs of the consumers.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser 70

Photo by Toyota

Land Cruiser 70 New Car Price is approximately $30,000 in USD

The 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 Series will start at 4.8 million JPY, approximately $30,635 in USD and $47,688 AUD. The price is on the low end of the Land Cruiser lineup when you consider the 300 is priced at 5.1 million yen ($34,500 USD), and the Prado is 7.35 million yen ($47,000 USD.)

Toyota offers the new LC70 with a Kinto subscription for another 45,760 yen ($300 USD) a month. The Kinto Subscription is only available in Japan and covers expenses that include service maintenance, road taxes, insurance renewal, and 24/7 roadside assistance.

Available in approximately 170 Countries and Regions

According to Toyota Global, the new Land Cruiser 70 Series will be available in approximately 170 countries and regions including Japan, Australia, South Africa, and the UAE.

The Australian market is particularly fond of the pickup version of the 70 Series, as the truck bed comes in handy for farmers, miners, and the park department, as well as search and rescue missions.

The UAE has a shorty version of the 3-door SUV that is 5 inches shorter than the 5-door version and performs flawlessly in the sand.

2024 Toyota Land Cruiser 70

Photos by Toyota

Not for Sale in the U.S.

As long as you live in the countries mentioned above, you can get in line for your new LC70. The V8 is still available, but industry watchers are speculating about the phase-out of this engine configuration, which could mean the end of a manual transmission. Manual fans may not have to worry about losing the manual transmission anytime soon since Toyota recently added the manual transmission back into the Supra, which has been very popular among Supra buyers.

Since the new Land Cruiser 70 Series is not set up to meet the emission standards in the United States, there will be no new LC70s in your local showroom. It might be in your interest to seek out a used 70 Series from the 1990s. If you would like help getting a used 70 Series, then FLEX Automotive has the expert staff knowledgeable in importing older Land Cruisers.

How are Land Cruiser 70 Series Sales?

There is currently a waiting list for the 4.5L V8 that can be as long as 2 years. Toyota Australia stopped taking orders for the V8 in July of 2022, and as of December 2023, they stopped taking orders for any of the new 70 Series. The good news is that the wait times should return to normal – an average of six months – by mid-2024. Remember, some of the backlog can be attributed to the global shutdown of supply chains during the pandemic that continues to affect worldwide industries, including the car industry.

According to Global Toyota, over 11.3 million Land Cruisers have been sold since the first one rolled out of the showroom in 1951.

2014 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

In Which Countries Are Land Cruisers Popular?

Besides the 70 Series fandom in Australia and the UAE, it’s fair to say that the Land Cruiser in general is wildly popular around the world. Since its introduction in 1984, the 70 Series has remained mostly unchanged, and it is offered in several body styles that include single cab chassis trucks, as well as a longer model wagon. With its reliable V8, people anywhere who need to travel over rugged terrain for fun or work turn to the LC70 as their vehicle of choice. There is a big market for them in the United States amongst 4WD enthusiasts.

Where Can I Obtain a Land Cruiser 70

If you live in a country where the new LC70s are not sold, then you can choose to buy a used 70 Series that can be imported into the North American market. It just won’t be the new 70 model; only vehicles 25 years or older are eligible for import into the United States since they are then exempt from the emission laws of the U.S.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the U.S. stops all vehicles less than 25 years old from coming into the country unless they meet all current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FNVSS). These regulations include safety, design, and performance specifications that all vehicles must meet. Manufacturers from outside the country all have had their engines approved before transporting their new cars to North America.

Because of this rule, you won’t see the most recent LC70 models for sale in the U.S. until their 25th birthday in 2049.

Buy Used Vehicles Distributed in the U.S.

While the latest LC70 may be out of reach in the U.S., there are plenty of opportunities to buy a used Land Cruiser 70 from the 1980s forward. These vehicles are built for the ages, and there are many stories of people keeping their 4WD until the odometer turns over 300,000. The newest 70 Series that you can import is the 1999 model.

The 1999 model 4WD is equipped with the 4.2 diesel 1HZ, and with the addition of longer leaf springs, the ride was made more comfortable, so you have access to some of the more modern features in this year.

1989 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

Import Used Cars Distributed Abroad

Before you start your search for a 1990s Land Cruiser 70 Series, there are some things you might want to consider. If you’re not buying one already in the States, you may need to hunt overseas for the perfect fit for your lifestyle. In doing so, there are many import rules and regulations you need to know.

Here are some of them:

7 Steps to Importing a Car from Abroad

When hunting for the perfect LC70, make sure that it meets the 25-year-old rule or you’re wasting your time. All of these steps will help you get past some of the obstacles and chokepoints of importing.

Step 1: Confirm the Land Cruiser is Eligible for Importation

The first step is to ensure your vehicle is eligible for importation. By that, it must be 25 years or older, or it must contain the original engine or be equipped with an engine that’s been previously certified by the EPA for use in the United States. You will find more information on the NHTSA on which vehicles you can import.

Step 2: Exhaustion Restriction

Since most of the restrictions revolve around emissions, the vehicle must meet the U.S. emissions regulations. These regulations vary from state to state, so the vehicle must meet the rigid standards of California, which is the strictest in the nation. Their California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules are stricter than the U.S. Federal law, and by January 2024, California wanted 50% of the vehicle purchases to be zero-emissions. California is striving for zero emissions for all cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the state by 2035. The state currently rules that the vehicle must get 54.5 MPG by the year 2025.

If your vehicle meets California standards, it will meet the standards anywhere else in the United States.

If you’re wondering about the vehicle you’re interested in, check the emission label on the door jamb. It will say whether or not it conforms to California regulations on it. The label may be on the radiator support or engine hood. If the car doesn’t meet the standards, you’ll have a hard time getting it into the country unless you spend money to bring it up to the current standards.

If you’re sure that the vehicle is CARB compliant, then it will need to pass a smog test that includes a visual inspection, as well as a tailpipe emission test. Since manufacturers must certify the engines, your engine may have already met the certification tests.

Should you find a 25-year or older vehicle, you’re exempt from the rules.

In addition to the emission issues, importing a vehicle requires dealing with customs and the DOT in your state.

Step 3: Confirm Vehicle Import Costs

Import costs are another consideration when bringing in a car from another country. Fees can be 2.5% of the purchase prices, and trucks can have a 25% duty attached to their fees.

Gas guzzler fees are only applicable to passenger cars, so you don’t have to worry about that expense.

Step 4: Confirm Transportation Method

The next step in importing is finding transportation for your vehicle. You’ll need terminal-to-terminal international shipping that can start at $2,000. Other costs include insurance on the vehicle, whether you have enclosed or open transport, whether you have private or shared containers, and any over-the-road transport costs.

Shopping for transport partners means spending a lot of time getting your quotes or paying a broker to shop for you. Getting quotes is time-consuming, and it can be overwhelming with all of the emails and callbacks you get from all the companies. If you find one that has a low price, make sure that the contract includes everything you need to get your vehicle to you.

Every state has its own import rules, so make sure that you’ve done the research you need in advance of buying your used Land Cruiser.

For example, to register a vehicle from another country in the State of Illinois, you need to do the following:

Visit an Illinois Secretary of State (SOS) office in person or mail in the required documents

Submit the following documents and ID:

  • Current vehicle title
  • Proof of valid Illinois auto insurance
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction (Form VSD 190) (license plate application)
  • Illinois address
  • Vehicle description, including year, make, and model
  • List of any lienholders, if applicable
  • Owner’s signature
  • Form RUT-25 (tax form)
  • Pay any applicable taxes

Your license plate and title will come in the mail.

These steps are standard across all states, so get in contact with your state’s licensing and titling office.

2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

Points To Keep in Mind When Importing a Land Cruiser 70

Importing a used Land Cruiser 70 Series isn’t any different than buying any used car; there are points you need to keep in mind like all vehicle transactions.

The first thing you should do is do thorough research into the vehicle. Since the 70 Series was and is available all over the world, there can be different specs for each country that you need to be aware of. If you know the model should have certain specs for the country it was manufactured for, but it doesn’t, it could have been modified or upgraded. Not all modifications or upgrades are done professionally, so this is something that can indicate the vehicle isn’t what you think it is. Some modifications and upgrades have been done with Toyota’s blessing to meet the needs of the consumer in a certain area. Another consideration is whether or not you have direct access to maintenance or repair parts in vehicles that have been modified. Thorough research is a must before you agree to buy an imported LC70.

Check the Condition of the Vehicle Carefully

Like buying any used vehicle, importing an LC70 means knowing and inspecting the vehicle. This can be difficult when buying overseas, but shouldn’t be left to chance, so prepare to see the vehicle in person or hire a trusted professional to do an inspection for you.

Here are some key things to check before purchase:

When buying a used car, it’s important to conduct a thorough check to ensure that you’re making a sound investment. Here’s a standard checklist to guide you:

1. Exterior Inspection

  • Check for dents, scratches, and rust.
  • Ensure all doors, the hood, and the trunk open and close smoothly.
  • Look for gaps in the body panels or misalignment, which could indicate past accidents.
  • Check the condition of the tires for wear and tread depth.

2. Interior Inspection:

  • Inspect the upholstery and interior panels for wear, tears, or stains.
  • Test all electrical components like lights, wipers, infotainment system, and air conditioning.
  • Check the dashboard for any warning lights.
  • Ensure the odometer reading seems consistent with the car’s age and interior wear.
Interior of a 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

3. Mechanical Inspection:

  • Check for leaks under the vehicle.
  • Listen to the engine when it’s running for any unusual noises.
  • Test the brakes for responsiveness and any vibration or noises.
  • Check the transmission for smooth operation during a test drive.
  • Inspect the engine for any corrosion, oil splashes, or leaks.

4. Fluids Check:

  • Check the oil condition and level; it should not be gritty or excessively dark.
  • Ensure the coolant is at an adequate level and not murky.
  • Check the brake fluid and power steering fluid.

5. Under the Hood:

  • Inspect the belts and hoses for cracks or wear.
  • Ensure the battery terminals are clean and not corroded.
  • Check the air filter for cleanliness.
Under the hood of a 2001 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

6. Undercarriage:

  • Look for signs of rust or damage.
  • Check the exhaust system for rust or holes.

7. Tire Inspection:

  • Ensure all tires, including the spare, are of the same brand and type.
  • Check for even wear and adequate tread depth.
2015 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

8. Documentation and History:

  • Verify the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) matches the documentation.
  • Check service records to ensure regular maintenance.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report for any past accidents, service records, and previous ownership.

9. Test Drive:

  • Drive the car in various conditions (highway, stop-and-go traffic, hills).
  • Listen for any unusual engine or brake sounds.
  • Feel for smooth acceleration and gear shifting.
  • Check for proper alignment by noticing if the car pulls to one side.

10. Professional Inspection:

  • If possible, have the car inspected by a qualified mechanic to uncover potential issues you might have missed.

Obviously, the LC70 is going to be used for off-road activities, so many of the things on this list may not apply but should be used as a guideline when shopping for a used vehicle.

1996 Toyota Land Cruiser 70 at FLEX in Japan

Beware of Vehicles Involved in Accidents

There is a big difference between rugged use and accidents. While you don’t expect a used LC70 to be showroom squeaky clean, you don’t expect one to have frame damage. Since these Land Cruisers are built for extreme conditions and driving, you’re going to see dented fenders, bumpers with dents, doors with scrapes, and maybe dirt packed in the wheel wells. These cosmetic things are all manageable, and if you want a clean body with no scratches or dents, then budget for replacement parts once you decide on the 4WD you want.

What you shouldn’t see is a vehicle that dog tracks, or is leaking around the differential or hubs. These can be an indication of serious issues.

FLEX Automotive has written a great guide to buying a used 70 Series that can answer some of the questions you might have about the different models.

Make Sure You Have the Equipment You Need

Once it passes your inspection, make sure it has all of the equipment you need. If you need accessories like winches, tow packages, or cargo management systems, price them out from an aftermarket company before buying. The more information you have about the costs on accessories and other parts you may need in advance, the better you’ll be able to budget and negotiate your new LC70 deal.

FLEX Automotive Is the Best Place To Get a Land Cruiser 70 Series

If all of this sounds daunting and time-consuming, it’s because it is. Hiring a professional who knows the ins and outs of the import business goes a long way to leaving you free to enjoy the 70 Series or any Land Cruiser you choose. Rather than tackling the paperwork yourself, leave it to the professionals.

FLEX Automotive is the largest Land Cruiser dealership in Japan, so let their San Diego office do all of the hard work for you. Contact us today and we’ll answer your 70 Series questions.

Julie Cleveland

Julie Cleveland

Julie Cleveland grew up with an interest in cars, racing and anything with wheels. She even tried her hand at driving stock cars and drag cars, but found out that walls hurt. She has been writing for over 40 years with articles in a number of publications and newspapers, including National Dragster and Daytona News Journal. She spent 15 years working in the F&I and sales department of manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volvo. For 10 years, she worked for newspapers in both the marketing and editorial departments, and she has been freelance writing automotive make and model overviews, parts and “How To” articles, and general articles about the automotive industry for 12 years. She has authored four non-fiction books and enjoys writing trivia. She still likes cars and is always interested in new ideas and technology.

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