When Basic is Best. Words Dean Mellor
Toyota 76 LandCruiser Workmate ($63,740)
Nothing adheres the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principal quite like Toyota’s 76 LandCruiser Wagon, which is exactly what you want when heading deep into the outback where things can go wrong and you’re a long way from help.
The 76 LandCruiser is an old-school 4x4 with a separate chassis, live axles front and rear, five-speed manual gearbox, a part-time 4x4 system and, in base-spec Workmate trim, unencumbered with fancy stuff like carpet and cloth trim. Yep, it’s all old-school vinyl inside the 76 Wagon, which is great when you’re jumping in and out of the vehicle in dirty, dusty or muddy conditions, because all you have to do to clean up later is wipe everything over with a damp cloth.
Gone are the Cruiser’s old split rims, these days replaced by one-piece 16-inch steel wheels that can take a beating in the bush and be easily repaired if they cop a hard knock. And the off-road-friendly 225/95R16 tyres offer plenty of sidewall for driving in extreme conditions.
The 76 Wagon scores the same lazy V8 turbo-diesel as its Troopie and Cab Chassis siblings, meaning there’s a handy 151kW of power available at 3400rpm and 430Nm of torque from a low 1200rpm through to 3200rpm. Low-range gearing is well suited to off-road crawling too, with an overall reduction in first gear of 44:1, and a 130L fuel tank provides a decent touring range. A generous 785kg payload means you can kit it out with accessories such as bull bar, winch and lights and still have plenty of load carrying capability.
Despite its bare bones simplicity, the 76 Wagon Workmate still has technology where it’s needed, and it comes standard with ABS, TC, VSC, HSA (Hill Start Assist), BA, EBD and front airbags. Oh, and there are some concessions to comfort, too, such as air conditioning and a Bluetooth compatible sound system with two speakers.
If you’re after a simple 4x4 wagon that can be kitted out with accessories and tailored to suit your bush-touring needs, the Toyota 76 LandCruiser Workmate tops the list.