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Toyota announces V8 Land Cruiser 'Namib'

2020 Defender too new school for you? South Africa has the impossibly cool antidote

By Sam Sheehan / Monday, September 16, 2019

For anyone holidaying on the dark side of the moon, the all-new Defender was revealed last week. Unsurprisingly, there were two sides of the fence in the ensuring debate. If you were in the 'traditionalist' camp, there was something else announced last week to rather less fanfare which might appeal: the Land Cruiser Namib. Based on the J70 platform - celebrating its 35th year in production - the special edition, South Africa-only model couldn't look any more fit for purpose if it came delivered with a free Chinook. You even get a whacking whacking great diesel engine of the bent eight variety.

Compared to the turbocharged Ingenium motors of Land Rover's off-roader, the Toyota 4.5-litre unit is properly old school: see a 202hp peak equating to 45hp/litre as evidence, alongside what we can only assume is an impossibly burly five-speed manual. The big lump's strengths are, of course, an easily accessible 317lb ft of twist, which arrives from only 1,200rpm, as well as the reliability and simplicity of a motor that will spend most of its life barely spinning above tickover. Somewhat impressively, it still puts out 300g/km of CO2 and averages 25mpg.

The chassis has also been upgraded with beefed-up suspension developed specifically for South Africa's gnarled topography. The Namib also gets Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx boots, wrapped around 16-inch alloys, to make this special edition Land Cruiser fit for life out on the sand. While they improve its off-road capabilities, none of the alterations have an impact on the Land Cruiser's load bearing and towing capacities. Which are not specified, but presumably planet-sized.

The toughening-up of J70 continues onto the Namib's body, with its nineties two-cab bodyshell wearing a roof snorkel, spotlights and 'nudge' bars as standard. Inside, there's a new storage compartment on the roof and anti-scuff panels to maximise practicality, with the fitment of an infotainment system and its accompanying satnav and Bluetooth tech means you're not completely disconnected from the modern world.

Given how much work JLR and its ilk has to do these days trimming CO2 and NOx numbers from their new equivalents, you won't be surprised to hear that the J70 Namib and its thirsty eight cannot be sold in Europe. For anyone living in the less restricted automotive world of South Africa, however - or else with the private land for it to roam free in post importing - this might just be the coolest 4x4 to come out of 2019. Certainly it's the oldest. And that's almost the same thing.

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