The Land Cruiser 70 Prado is a genuine Land Cruiser, but just targets a different market
The popularity of the Land Cruiser 90 Prado may be on the rise, but don’t overlook the Land Cruiser 70 Prado when considering a Land Cruiser. Thanks to the retro style that makes use of the boxy design and the customizations that amplify the retro feeling, even 20 years after the last of the new cars, both the 2-door short 71 Prado and the 4-door 78 Prado are the younger generation. (71 Prado and 78 Prado are collectively called 70 Prado).
However, even among the fans of such a new Land Cruiser 70 Prado, there are questions such as “What is different from the Land Cruiser 70 Van cross country 4WD?” It seems that some fans are hesitant to buy the 70 Prado.
The Land Cruiser 70 Van was developed as a 4WD mainly for freight vehicle registration, and the Land Cruiser 70 Prado was developed based on the Land Cruiser 70 Van but built for families who wanted a passenger car (ordinary car registration) styled 4WD. This Toyota’s sales strategy is the same for the overseas market. Many Land Cruiser fans dismissed the 70 Prado as not a Land Cruiser for its origin.
However, I have to say that it was a misfortunate characterization of the 70 Prado. Details will be described below, but the 70 Prado is not a low-ranked Land Cruiser version of the 70 Van, nor is it anything less than a genuine Land Cruiser. It’s just a sibling 70 series with a different target market. You do not need to know anything about Land Cruiser 70 Vans to buy a 70 Prado. Both the 70 Van and the 70 Prado are typical 4WD cars that will never disappoint the expectations of enthusiasts.
The different specifications
The Land Cruiser 70 Prado is offered in two types: a 2-door short (hardtop) and a 4-door semi-long (hardtop), both with 3 numbers. The Land Cruiser 70 Van and 70 Prado share the same body and chassis, but since the 70 Van is a cargo vehicle, the suspension springs are stiff enough to withstand heavy loads. While maintaining the durability of a Land Cruiser, the 70 Prado’s springs offer a softer ride that are designed with comfort in mind.
The interior difference between the two is very clear. The Land Cruiser 70 Van has two rows of seats with the remaining room open for cargo even though it has four doors. The second row can be folded forward for more cargo space. The 70 Prado also has four doors, but it has a 3rd-row seat option. It still has cargo space, but you can use it for passengers. The difference between the two is the cargo and passenger capacity.
Land Cruiser 70 Van has coil + leaf; Land Cruiser 70 Prado has coil suspension
The suspension of the Land Cruiser 70 Van, which is registered as a freight vehicle with 1 number and 4 number classifications, has been equipped with a combination of rigid axles and leaf springs for both front and rear from the time it was released in November 1984 until the last model was produced in July 1999.
From August 1999 onwards, only the front suspension, including the Land Cruiser 70 retail model, changed from leaf springs to coil springs. The combination of rigid axles and leaf springs is a conventional setup for freight vehicles, with load-bearing capacity and toughness given priority over the ride comfort.
However, in response to changes in the global market, where cargo trucks were also required to have a comfortable ride and excellent handling and stability, Toyota later adopted coil springs only for the front. In the Land Cruiser 70 Prado, all springs are coiled with rigid axles to achieve a passenger car ride. It is set up to ensure the best ride comfort and steering stability even when 5 people are on board in the 2-door car and 5 to 8 people in the 4-door car. Both leaf springs and coil springs are given suitable specifications and settings that support the Land Cruiser suspension. Comparing which is better is meaningless.
The Land Cruiser 70 Van is a mid-low speed engine, and the Land Cruiser 70 Prado is a practical engine
The Land Cruiser 70 Van and 70 Prado have common suspensions, but the engines are completely different. The engine in the Land Cruiser 70 Van is an old series of 3.4-liter straight 4, 3.5-liter straight 5, and 4.2-liter straight 6 non-turbo diesel models (the 3.4-liter straight 4 also has a turbo specification.)The newer retail Land Cruiser 70 model is also available with a 4-liter V6 gasoline-powered engine that is not available in the United States.
In contrast, the Land Cruiser 70 Prado was initially equipped with a 2.4-liter straight-4 and later became a 3-liter straight-4 diesel turbo. The engine displacement of the 70 Prado is relatively smaller than that of the 70 Van, but this is the result of establishing passenger car handling and making it a practical vehicle. In Japanese specifications, it can be said that consideration is given to the fact that the automobile tax for 3 number cars increases in proportion to the engine displacement. The Land Cruiser 70 Prado compensates for the small displacement with its turbo power.
In this way, the Land Cruiser 70 Van and the 70 Prado have completely different types of engines, but their characteristics are also very different. The engine of the Land Cruiser 70 Van, which is a cargo vehicle, is set so that it is powerful at low and medium speeds even with a large load. Instead of gaining power with the number of RPMs, it produces a sufficiently heavy torque at a low RPM.
Since the Land Cruiser 70 Prado is a 4WD passenger car, it is set to produce consistent torque from low speed to high speed making it practical in a variety of situations from city streets to highways. These personality differences should not be judged as superior or inferior but should be considered part of the vehicle’s individuality.
The new Land Cruiser 70 Van and 4-Door W-Cab, the only gas-powered retail models, are a little different. In addition to the reliable mid- to low-speed torque of the old series Land Cruiser 70 Van, it is attractive for its efficient characteristics that make use of the wide effective rev range typical of a gasoline engine. This 4-liter V6 gasoline engine is the same format as those installed in the Land Cruiser 150 Prado and FJ Cruiser. In terms of powerfulness, it is a gasoline engine that is superior to past diesel engines.
The 70 Van wins for off-road performance
The Land Cruiser 70 Van and 70 Prado have slightly different customizations that enthusiasts like. The typical custom style for both is a lift-kit, but if anything, the Land Cruiser 70 Van lift is mostly aimed at improving off-road driving performance, and the Land Cruiser 70 Prado is a lift-kit style with a retro taste.
The Land Cruiser 70 Van rigid axles are leaf springs or front coil + rear leaf for both front and rear. Since it can be lifted relatively easily by replacing a small number of parts, the change simultaneously increases the minimum ground clearance and suspension stroke, which are important for off-road driving. The permissible range of lift amount is wide, and increasing the diameter of the tires accordingly is convenient for improving off-road driving performance.
In general, the higher the vehicle height, the stiffer the springs, so the lift amount and off-road performance are not proportional to each other, but the combination of leaf springs and rigid axles in particular has few parts and is very convenient for lift. It’s a good suspension.
On the other hand, the Land Cruiser 70 Prado uses coil springs for the front and rear suspension. A rigid axle suspension that uses coil springs has more components than a combination with leaf springs, so the absolute stroke amount is inevitably smaller than that using leaf springs. While it has excellent ride comfort and steering stability, it is a step behind the 70 Van in customizing for off-road driving performance. Depending on what parts you replace or add, it’s not impossible for the Land Cruiser 70 Prado to outperform the 70 Van. However, when comparing the overall driving elements such as the characteristics of the engine and the gear specifications of the powertrain system, it is a wise decision for the Land Cruiser 70 Prado owner to enhance on-road driving and styling rather than the ultimate off-road driving performance.
Retro-look Land Cruiser 70 Prado is proliferating in the used car market
Lift-kit customization that aims to improve off-road driving performance.
The Land Cruiser 70 Prado is less flexible than the Land Cruiser 70 Van. Such a biased view may be the cause of past ridicule such as “What is a 70 Prado Land Cruiser?” It may be unavoidable for off-road customizations to be judged that way, but it is essentially the same Land Cruiser 70, just with a different target buyer. Today’s Land Cruiser 70 fans enjoy their own unique customization without worrying about such things. Especially since the Land Cruiser 70 Prado is an unprecedented (!?) retro customization boom.
The front end is easier to customize than the Land Cruiser 70 Van, making it a good place to start. For the front end, the grille was plated, the bumper was made of steel similar to the 70 Van, and the overfenders were removed to create a narrow body with slim tires. In response to these trends, FLEX announced the retro-look “Land Cruiser 70 Prado LESLIE” as a 2014 summer collection. Light blue metallic body paint based on the narrow body, 2-inch lift by suspension tune, 235/85R16 mud terrain tires + FLEX original DEAN aluminum wheels are attractive.
Retail model of Land Cruiser 70 Van is soaring in popularity
The popularity of the Land Cruiser 70 Van continues to this day. However, due to diesel exhaust gas regulations, the areas where you can drive with a normal engine are limited. Some enthusiastic fans have cleared the emissions regulations and are driving, but in the recent used car market, the popularity of the Land Cruiser 70 retail model, which has easily exceeded the emissions regulations, has become conspicuous.
A wide front end that is more friendly than the old series Land Cruiser 70 Van, a unique lineup such as a 4-door semi-long and a 4-door W cab, a flexible and highly practical 4-liter V6 gasoline engine, and a premium quality that is unique to rare cars. There is a wide range of fans, from Land Cruiser users to young people who do not know anything about the Land Cruiser 70, who are paying close attention to the Land Cruiser 70, as well as the old and new Land Cruiser 70 Van and 70 Prado.
As for which one to choose, you should be able to make that decision when you find the one that reflects your lifestyle.