Specs shootout: Toyota LC79 Vs Mahindra PikUp – There’s really no contest, right?… RIGHT?!

By Dex Fulton 12 Min Read

Yep, we’re going there. Now, you may be asking yourself why we’d even bother comparing the Mahindra PikUp to the LandCruiser? One is nudging three times the price of the other; one’s a V8 while the other is a four-cylinder; one is built by arguably the world’s most reliable automotive giant while the other has only been in the country for a decade and a half.


But here’s the thing: Despite the obvious differences these two vehicles actually share a heap of fundamental similarities. They’re both designed to be bare-bones, reliable farm trucks. They’re both short on bells and whistles but big on utilitarian ruggedness. They even basically look the same. 

Okay okay, I’ve probably offended every single LandCruiser-owner in the room by now (and I am one) so I’ll stop there but take a look at the specs and the orders of magnitude difference in pricing structure and ask yourself just how much you’re paying for a badge. 

Unpopular opinion: It’s way too much for what ya get. 

2023 LandCruiser 79 GXL Dual-Cab Specs

Price: $77,200 (exc. on-roads)

Warranty: 5 years, unlimited km

Engine: 4.5L V8 CRD turbo-diesel

Power: 151kW/203HP

Torque: 430NM

Fuel Consumption: 10.7L/100km combined

Fuel Capacity: 180L

Driveline: Live axles front and rear; 5-speed manual; part-time 4WD, dual-range transfer case

Suspension: Front coil springs and radius arms; rear leaf springs

Towing Capacity: 3500kg (braked)

Kerb Weight: 2215kg

GVM: 3510kg

Payload: 1295kg

Interior Appointments: Lol, one cup holder; power windows; vinyl trim; AC; Cruise Control

Safety: ABS; Pre-collision systems; cyclist recognition; active traction control; Autonomous emergency braking

Tray Dimensions: 1800Lx1900W (standard)

Overall Dimensions: 5220Lx1870Wx1945H


2023 Mahindra PikUp Specs

Price: $38,500 (drive away)

Warranty: 5 years, 150,000km

Engine: 2.2L 4 cylinder, CRD turbo-diesel

Power: 103kW/140HP

Torque: 320NM

Fuel Consumption: 9.3L/100km combined

Fuel Capacity: 80L

Driveline: 6sp Auto, part-time dual-range transfer case, IFS, solid axle rear with Eaton auto locking diff

Suspension: Torsion bar front, leaf-sprung rear

Towing Capacity: 2500kg (braked)

Kerb Weight: 2015kg

GVM: 3150kg

Payload: 928kg

Interior Appointments: 7in infotainment screen; Android auto; climate control; square cupholders; cruise control; height adjustable steering wheel; power windows

Safety: ABS, stability control, front airbags… it has seatbelts.

Tray Dimensions: 1489Lx1520W

Overall Dimensions: 5195Lx1820Wx1915H

The Mechanical Story

Everyone knows the 4.5L V8 in the Cruiser is capable of putting out some pretty good numbers with a few tweaks but let’s not forget that it’s pushing a heavy lump of a vehicle around. The PikUp’s 2.2L four-banger may seem asthmatic in comparison with its 320Nm (versus 430Nm from the `Yota), but it’s got to move significantly less mass through the air. The Cruiser comes out just ahead with 68kW per tonne, while the Mahindra pumps a princely 51kW per thousand kilos. Not the difference one might expect given the miles separating the price points. 

Given both steeds are common-rail diesels, a good ECU tune will wake them up nicely. However, it’s worth noting that this will require an upgraded clutch in the LC79, whereas the Mahindra’s 6-speed auto – which is the same Aisin unit used in the D-Max, Prado and HiLux – will handle it like a champ. On that note, the 70s still currently don’t have an auto option with the V8 motor, which can only prompt a big “WTF Toyoda-san?!” from us, but whatever. We know, like they do, we’ll continue to pay six-figures and up for these things, despite them clearly not being worth it, because nothing else on the market does what it does.


Still, if you’re a tradie or in need of a bare-bones farm truck, you’d have to be looking real hard at the PikUp I reckon. No, you won’t win any street cred, nor will you be stoked with the resale price. But if you’re looking for a new rig with a great warranty and plan on driving it until it dies, you’d go through two whole Mahindras before spending what you would on one LandCruiser. 

Off-Road Practicalities

Ok, I think we can all probably guess how this one will play out. Spoiler alert: the Cruiser wins. But, and it’s a big one (which we all like and cannot lie), there’s not as much between them as you might think. 

Yeah, the Toyota has more ground clearance and better movement from its solid-axled coil front end, but the Eaton auto locker (that’s constantly on) in the back of the Mahindra does an admirable job of keeping forward momentum up in all but the deepest of bogholes. Unsurprisingly the Mahindra feels a bit tippier in the off-camber stuff and doesn’t have that low-down torque that the V8 has but get it in the sand and its revvier engine and lighter weight have it floating over stuff that the Cruiser needs to throttle through.

Again, if you’re in the market for a simple and reliable farm truck or tool-hauler, the PikUp can’t be ignored. 

Daily driving

On-road comfort is neither of these vehicles’ forte. Hard and unsupportive seats are the order of the day here, and they’ll never vie for top position in the “4WD limo” category. Still, both offer decent vision over the bonnet from the driver’s seat, both have the essential amenities (climate control, a single cupholder, basic infotainment head units etc.) and both have hose-out practicality. It has to be said that the PikUp’s auto makes navigating traffic somewhat easier than the low-geared five-speed manual in the LC79, but there’s not much in it if you don’t mind operating a clutch pedal. 

The V8 is probably slightly nicer to drive thanks to its abundance of low-down torque, but the 2.2L is surprisingly punchy and has no problem propelling a loaded-up Mahindra to well past the speed limit without being stressed. 

The solid axle out the front of the Cruiser makes for a bumpy ride, especially when unladen, but even though the IFS in the Mahindra should be a lot smoother the torsion bars are pretty stiff (as they have been in everything they’ve been in, including the 100 Series Land Cruisers not so long ago) so ride comfort is fairly even. Both would benefit greatly from aftermarket suspension, but if you’re buying either of these vehicles for ride comfort then I have a really nice bridge I’d like to sell you. 


3500kg vs 2500kg. 430Nm vs 320Nm. The Cruiser simply tows a lot better than the smaller PikUp. However, it is worth pointing out that pulling a lightweight hay trailer down the back paddock or the tinny down to the boat ramp, the Mahindra is more than up to the task. In fact, both vehicles’ ladder chassis’ are remarkably similar. 

Nevertheless, if a 25ft caravan is in your driveway, then yeah, stick with the big dog. 


The Cruiser’s is again higher, but not forty-gorillas-worth higher. You get just over 1295kg to play with in the `Yota, whereas the Mahindra can pack in a still respectable 928kg. That’s more than a Ranger Raptor or Jeep Gladiator for a lot less money. 


You can fit up the basic mods to the Mahindra (keep in mind the company has been producing vehicles for half a century overseas), things such as suspension lift kits, engine tunes, snorkels and bull bars are all available. However, the LandCruiser has way more options and accessories on the market. Enough that you wouldn’t even call it a contest. But the big thing here remains the price difference. Let’s say you’ve got $100K to chuck at your next ute:

On the one hand you’ve got a vehicle that’s nudging six figures that you still need to spend money on to get it off-road ready. 

On the other, hypothetically, you can buy the Pikup for under $40K, go bananas and spend another $40K on it with a solid-axle swap, engine conversion and custom barwork all around and have something that’s built to your specs and you’ve still got twenty grand to spend on fuel and camping permits. 

Now, to be fair, you’re never going to recoup anywhere near that come resale time, and let’s not open the Pandora’s box of reliability issues and spare parts availability. But let’s just go back to our farm truck paradigm, in which the Mahindra simply makes a whole bunch of sense. The value for money is the main selling point, and for a lot of folks, it’s a huge one. 

Should I trade in my Land Cruiser, buy a Mahindra and pocket the leftover $50K?

Do you want a basic, bare bones, no frills work rig? Do you not care about sex appeal or looking cool at the boat ramp or campsite? Are you planning on reselling the vehicle outside of the warranty period or are you going to drive it into the ground? Is the easy availability of spares important to you? 

These are the questions you have to ask yourself. The LandCruiser is arguably better at everything than the Mahindra, but not so much that it is worth well over double the price. Sorry Toyota fans, but it’s true. Chances are you already know which one you’d buy anyway, but these yarns are more about opening the door to a broader conversation on what works, how well it works and what you’re willing to pay for it. 

The 70 Series Land Cruiser has been putting in the hard yards all over Australia since the 80s, and will likely continue to do so for the next few decades as well. But is a vehicle that’s two-thirds as good at half the price worth the trade-in? 

For me, the broad answer is still no. But only just; and the gap is closing fast. 

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