Toyota SA ‘studying’ 2.8 GD-6 engine for Land Cruiser 79

Toyota SA ‘studying’ 2.8 GD-6 engine for Land Cruiser 79

The evergreen Toyota Land Cruiser 79 may well receive 4-cylinder power in South Africa by the end of 2023, as the brand’s local division is currently “studying” the introduction of the 2.8 GD-6 engine…

Toyota South Africa Motors has confirmed to it is “studying” the possibility of introducing a 4-cylinder version of the Land Cruiser 79 bakkie powered by the 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine already employed by the likes of the Hilux, Fortuner and Land Cruiser Prado.

Rumours out of both Japan and Australia have suggested Toyota could soon drop its ubiquitous 2.8 GD-6 engine into the Land Cruiser 70 series. We asked the Japanese firm’s South African division whether there were any such plans for the local range.

“The Land Cruiser 70 series is still one of our best sellers – with the pick-up version averaging around 245 units a month. We are certainly studying the 2.8-litre turbodiesel for local introduction but can only confirm the results of our study towards the end of the year,” a Toyota SA Motors spokesperson told us.

The Land Cruiser 79 may well feature 4-cylinder power by the end of 2023.

As a reminder, the current Land Cruiser 79 line-up comprises 6 derivatives (3 single- and 3 double-cab variants), with the choice of a trio of engines. There’s the 4.0-litre V6 petrol unit (170 kW/360 Nm), the 4.2-litre straight-6 diesel motor (96 kW/285 Nm) and the 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel mill (151 kW/430 Nm).

The 8-cylinder 4.5D-4D engine is also employed by the Land Cruiser 76 station wagon, while the 4.2-litre oil-burner powers the special-order-only Land Cruiser 78 (aka Troopy). It’s not yet clear whether the 76- and 78-badged models are also in line for 4-pot power. Regardless, it seems likely the current 70 series engines would soldier on – rather than simply fall away – alongside the 2.8 GD-6, should the latter be introduced.

In applications such as the Fortuner and Prado, the Japanese firm’s widely used 2.8 GD-6 engine generates peak outputs of 150 kW and 500 Nm, while a detuned version is reserved for the Quantum. Of course, there is also a high-output iteration, which in the Hilux GR-Sport churns out 165 kW and 550 Nm. Though figures for the Land Cruiser 70 series have yet to be confirmed, it seems likely the 4-cylinder motor would offer more torque as well as improved fuel economy when compared with the aforementioned larger-capacity (and substantially older) engines.

In the Toyota Hilux GR Sport, the 2.8 GD-6 engine makes 165 kW and 550 Nm.

Should Toyota SA Motors’ feasibility study have a positive outcome, we would furthermore expect the 4-cylinder version of the Land Cruiser 79 to be available locally with an automatic transmission (at present, all derivatives in the 70 series range employ a manual gearbox). After all, the 2.8 GD-6 is already offered with a 6-speed auto in various applications.

In addition, overseas reports have suggested this proposed engine update for the 70 series could be accompanied by a few minor specification changes, including a new infotainment system and perhaps a different steering wheel. It remains to be seen whether such tweaks would be on the cards for the under-study SA-spec model, too.

As a reminder, the J70-generation Land Cruiser has been in production for nearly 40 years. It’s currently the oldest “new” vehicle available in South Africa, having been sold here in its current form (more or less) for more than 2 decades.

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