With introduction of luxury Toyota Land Cruiser 80 in 1989, the first luxury Toyota Land Cruiser was introduced. Traditional offroad features were still intact.
The aim of the 80-series was to be both at the forefront of technology and luxury. Along with passenger car like styling in the front design, wide tires and large fenders gave it a bold effect, looking something like a luxury battleship that could cruise the land. It was a break from the tradition of the Japanese 4×4. Moreover, accommodations remained for off-road applications, such as space in the instrument panel to install wireless communications equipment, and a rail for mounting a roof carrier.
It was large at 5 meters length and 2 meters wide, with 3 types of engines to choose from; the 3F-E-type gasoline engine, the 1HD-T-type direct-injection diesel turbo engine (4,163cc, 165PS, 37.0kgm), and the 1HZ-type diesel engine. For all but one type of model in the series, it came with rigid coil springs in front and rear, and a full-time 4×4 power train. Of course the top of the line van and wagon offered a VX Limited grade.
In 1992 the original 3F-E-type engine was replaced in the new model FZJ80G with a 1FZ-FE-type gasoline engine (DOHC (Double Over Head Camshaft) in-line 6-cylinder, 4, 476cc, 215PS, 38kgm specs). In 1995, the HDJ81V was added to the lineup, and the 1HD-T-type diesel engine took on 4-valves in the 1HD-FT-type engine (4,163cc, 170PS, 38.7kgm specs). In addition a camper style model called Active Vacation was added to the lineup, which was registered in a low tax and low maintenance bracket.
In 1996 all models took on ABS and air bags as standard equipment. Only the van series came with the standard GX grade only, and all grades had a widened body. The 80-series continued to get larger and more luxurious until it was eventually replaced in 1998 with the debut of the 100-series Land Cruiser. The transition to the next generation was made when the 80-series still enjoyed a high level of popularity, much the same as had happened earlier when the 60-series made way for the 80-series Land Cruiser. However, luxury has not softened the Land Cruiser. It has not sacrificed its ability to take on the toughest roads the world has to offer. No matter that it is more comfortable and luxurious to ride in, the Land Cruiser remains the Land Cruiser, which is the reason for its lasting popularity.
he transition from the 60-series to the 80-series was more drastic than that from the 50-series to the 60-series. A number of new technologies were introduced, and it was more of a revolutionary change than an evolutionary one.
The only engine that was kept on as it was from the 60-series was the 3F-E-type, while the diesel 1HD-T and the 1HZ-type that had also been used in the 70-series underwent major improvements not only in power but also in reduced noise and vibration, making it a new generation diesel engine. The new engine design included thicker cylinder walls with reinforced ribs, thoroughly researched through computer analysis. Moreover, the cylinder head cover and other parts that did not need to be reinforced were replaced with resinous parts, enabling the new engine to be stronger, lighter, and more compact at the same time.
The 80-series lasted for about 9 years, during which both the gasoline and the diesel engines evolved. The gasoline engine progressed from the 3F-E type to the 1FZ-FE-type, which was a DOHC with 4 valves on each cylinder. The diesel engine progressed from the turbo spec 1HD-T-type to the 1HD-FT-type, which was also a 4-valve per cylinder type.
In the power train, the transfer gained a central differential, and all but one grade had a full-time 4×4 system. A switch on the instrument panel enabled you to go from 2WD to high-range 4WD, while a lever on the floor enabled you to directly shift into LO range 4WD. This so-called HF2A transfer had electronic controls for locking the central differential when you wanted to, so that according to ground conditions even in part-time 4×4 mode you could drive effectively on bad roads. Moreover, there was also a maker option for an electronic differential lock mechanism on the front and rear axle, which enabled you to travel even further on bad roads.
In the suspension, leaf springs were replaced with coil springs in front and rear. This maintained strong durability, while at the same time improving driving comfort and steering stability. There were 3 arms supporting the axle in the front, and 5 in the rear. Each arm had rubber bushings on the pivot portion, which were designed to provide strong axle support as well as reduce shocks and vibrations coming from rough road surfaces. The overall result was improved riding comfort.
The same instrument panel was used on the 80-series from its first release in 1989 through 1994. The curved design was modeled after a grand piano, and had a rich sense of volume. The switches were easy to see and operate.
With the minor change in 1995 the 80-series introduced significant changes in the interior. The instrument panel was divided into a meter panel and a center panel, and the number of switches it shared with other models increased.
The third seat on the 80-series wagon could be folded up when not in use. However, its storage position was high, and this severely limited the rear right and left field of view. On the other hand, the cargo space had a wide floor area, and the body was large enough to handle larger loads.
The luggage space could be made even larger by folding down the second and third seats.
The main engine in the 80-series was the 6-cylinder 4.2-liter turbo diesel. The first models in the 80-series came with a 1HD-T-type engine (left), which produced 165PS/37.2kgm. With the minor change in 1995 this engine was replaced by the 1HD-FT-type (right), a 24-valve power unit that produced 170PS/38.7kgm.
The earlier models carried a gasoline engine 3F-E-type (right), which was replaced in 1992 by the newly developed 1FZ-FE-type engine (left). The specs of the 3F-E-type were 155PS/29.5kgm, while the specs for the 1FZ-FE-type were 215PS/38kgm.
Left: the front suspension was a 3-link rigid coil type. There are 2 leading arms, which strongly reinforce the axle housing. Right: the rear suspension was a 5-link rigid coil type. The axle housing is supported by a lot of arms, and it is more flexible than that in the front.
Because the 80-series models had a low side-step and a long rear overhang, the body tended to scrape the ground in serious offroading. However, the suspension was strong, and far more durable than that of other 4×4 in its class. The steering angle was rather large, which made it easier to maneuver the large body on narrow city streets.