Land Cruiser 70 and 70 Prado have different engines and suspension
The light Land Cruiser 70 Prado was introduced in April of 1990 and was produced and sold until April 1996. It was given the light classification because it is a registered 3 number car even though it was developed based on the Land Cruiser 70 van, which has a freight registration 1 number.
The main difference between the two is the engine and the suspension. The 70 Prado uses coil springs instead of the leaf springs found on the 70 van. The coils give it a much more comfortable ride.
Depending on the year, there are two types of diesel engines. In addition to the change in the registration category, the engine displacement has been reduced, which change the vehicle inspection period and taxes to something more family to the general public. This is a significant feature for users.
The Land Cruiser 70 Prado lineup is roughly divided into 2-door and 4-door vehicles, which are differentiated by interior and exterior specifications, such as EX (wide & standard body), LX (standard body), and SX (wide & standard body). Since it is a diesel engine vehicle, the areas where it can be registered under exhaust gas regulations are limited to areas other than major urban areas, but the Land Cruiser 70 Prado is still very popular in the used car market more than 20 years after its production ended.
2-door 71 Prado, 4-door 78 Prado
Among the Land Cruiser 70 Prado, the one that fans are paying particular attention to is the model commonly known as the “78 Prado”. “78” is part of the model name common to 4-door cars. The official model of the 4-door car is “LJ78W” for the 2.4-liter wide body car, “LJ78G” for the standard body car, “KZJ78W” for the 3-liter wide body car, and “KZJ78G” for the standard body car. The 2-door car is “71”.
As for the meaning of letters other than numbers, “L” and “KZ” represent the installed engine, respectively, and “J” is the model code common to Land Cruisers. The “W” is a wide-body vehicle with overfenders and wide tires, while the “G” is a standard-body vehicle with no overfenders and narrow tires.
In the domestic market, the Land Cruiser 70 Prado originally produced an overwhelming number of 4-door vehicles rather than 2-door vehicles. Therefore, since most used cars are 4-door, the 78 Prado is still easy to obtain and is familiar to fans. Looking at the used car market, it seems that new 3-liter cars are more popular than 2.4-liter engines. The 78 Prado’s 2.4-liter car was installed in the model for the first three years after its debut and was converted to a 3-liter car in the latter half, so, naturally, there are many newer ones.
The toughness of the heavy 70 van inherited by the 70 Prado
A heavy-duty Land Cruiser 70 van boasting a load capacity of 500 kg/1,100 pounds (4-door vehicle) registered as a freight vehicle. The Land Cruiser 78 Prado is a 4-door passenger car model derived from it. By the way, when it was registered as a passenger car and called a light Land Cruiser, the 78 Prado was given an infamous nickname when it was first released. It was ridiculed by many Land Cruiser fans, including users of the heavy Land Cruiser 70 van, as “fake” Land Cruiser. This was due to the misunderstanding that the engine displacement was reduced and the suspension was changed to coil springs, making it a car better suited for highway driving. It was also criticized for being weak and sarcastic in aiming its marketing at young people and families.
However, in reality, the term “light system” means that the essential elements of the Land Cruiser, such as its heavy duty and toughness, have been rearranged to make it accessible to a wide range of users. Land Cruiser fans at the time were so conservative that many didn’t want to change. Certainly, the 78 Prado engine has a smaller displacement than the Land Cruiser 70 van. Suspension is coiled from the traditional Land Cruiser leaf springs. However, what they mean is not “softness”, but “easy” and “friendliness”.
The leaf springs used in the Land Cruiser 70 van are still often used in trucks, etc., and while they have excellent load resistance, they are inferior to coil springs in ride comfort and maneuverability.
The 2.4-liter and 3-liter diesel engines installed in the Land Cruiser 78 Prado cannot compete with low-speed torque compared to the 4.2-liter in-line 6 diesel engine in the Land Cruiser 70 van. However, it is equipped with a turbocharger and has a smooth acceleration performance, and in terms of ease of handling, it is excellent as a passenger car and can be driven from city areas to highways without stress. The Land Cruiser 78 Prado and the Land Cruiser 70 Van are just different in their areas of expertise, but the roots are the same. It is not a matter of superiority or inferiority.
The 3-liter turbo diesel is the recommended Land Cruiser 70 Prado
The diesel engine installed in the Land Cruiser 78 Prado is divided into early and late models after a minor change in May 1995. The early model diesel engine is a 2.4-liter 2L-TE type, and the late model is a 3.0-liter 1KZ-TE type. The 2L-TE type is an improved version of the 2L-T that was installed in the light Land Cruiser 70 wagon (2-door specification) that existed before the Prado name was designated.
An electronic control system was incorporated into the fuel injection system to match the exhaust gas regulations of the time. The late 1KZ-TE model was Toyota’s latest 4-cylinder diesel engine at that time, and it increased the displacement while developing the electronic control of the 2L-TE model. It aimed to increase power while suppressing the decrease in torque due to cleaner exhaust gas.
The 2L-TE model had a maximum output of 97PS/95HP@3800rpm and a maximum torque of 24.5kgm/177 lb.-ft.@2400rpm, which was less than 100PS/98HP. There is a clear difference in performance between the early and late engine models.
With a vehicle weight of nearly 2 tons, the Land Cruiser Prado the market demanded an economical and powerful compact diesel engine. Although the 2L-TE type was electronically controlled, it was carried over from the 70 wagon, which had only two doors. In addition to the Land Cruiser 70 Prado, the 1KZ-TE type was later installed in the Hilux Surf (130 series, 185 series, and 215 series) and the Land Cruiser 90 Prado. When choosing a used 78 Prado, it seems better to start with the late model with the 1KZ-TE model.
The Land Cruiser 70 Prado diesel engine has no weakness
Left: 70 Prado 3.0L 1KZ-TE engine Right: 70 Prado 2.4L 2L-TE engine
The excellent performance of the Land Cruiser 78 Prado engine, especially the 3-liter 1KZ-TE model, remains consistent.
The early 2.4-liter 2L-TE had a reputation for running reasonably well in the 2-door 71 Prado, but yet lacking the power to fully perform the 4-door 78 Prado. The 2L-TE model generates torque that is commensurate with its displacement, but even if you use the power of the turbo to increase the revs, the power excitement level is a letdown. It seems like this is the limit for the engine for the 2-door 71 Prado.
On the other hand, You would never feel any lack of power in the 78 Prado loaded with the 1KZ-TE engine. The 1KZ-TE model with a 3.0-liter engine has almost no weak points. The low-speed torque is not as good as the 4.2-liter 70-van, but even with the turbo, the response at low speeds is quite good. Even AT is controllable, so it is good at slow driving on rugged terrain. When you step on the accelerator pedal, there is a burst of torque and it accelerates smoothly like a gasoline engine. Aside from the slight rattling noise and vibration typical of diesel engines, this engine has the same or even more power than a gasoline engine.
Land Cruiser 70 Prado square body makes it easy to handle
The Land Cruiser 78 Prado is where you can enjoy a comfortable drive on both highways and city streets. Its square body is almost the same as the Land Cruiser 70 van. It may look like the same car to those who don’t know the difference. The square body makes it easy for the driver to see all four corners. All windows are nearly flat and steep, including the windshield, so you can pay attention to your surroundings even when the windows are closed. Thanks to this body, it can be easily maneuvered not only in narrow urban areas but also off-road, so even beginning Land Cruisers owners will have no problems.
Another major feature of the 78 Prado is that the square body provides excellent livability. Excluding the over fenders, the body is less than 1.7m/5.5 feet wide, which is a small car registered as a 4 number car in Japan, but the interior width is as spacious as a larger car. Moreover, because the windshield is upright, the cabin feels roomy both front and rear, and there is plenty of legroom even in the rear seats. Since it is like driving a family car, there is less fatigue when taking it on long trips.
In the interior, the instrument panel also has a special design. The instrument panel of the 70 van has a simple and tool-like layout like a workbench, but the 78 Prado has a soft design and a casual seat design. In addition, the 78 Prado is standard with a model that has a third row. The third-row seats can be retracted, and when the car is fully loaded, there is almost no cargo space, but if you flip it up, a large cargo space appears in front and back. This feature is great for families with kids and large families.
It’s fresh now! 78 Prado retro customization options
The Land Cruiser 78 Prado has a lot to offer. The toughness inherited from the Land Cruiser 70 van and the comfortable driving as a passenger car. It has high economic efficiency due to being registered as a passenger car and being equipped with a diesel engine. The square body provides good maneuverability and a spacious and comfortable interior. And the most attractive thing is the high performance of the 3.0-liter diesel engine installed in the late model. The possibility of customization is high, which excites owners.
It is easy to like the exterior build with its retro factor. The Land Cruiser 78 Prado has many things that the modern Land Cruiser Prado does not have, such as flat body panels, steep windows, and appealing angular headlamps. We have a custom car full of originality in the Flex. Today, there is no car with more character than the Land Cruiser 78 Prado.
More details on 78 Prado
Having been one of the largest Land Cruiser dealerships in Japan, staffs at FLEX know about 78 Prado like the back of their hands. Check out this video for more details about 78 Prado!