A much better choice...the LC80 is a rock-solid truck...looks good too, but I guess that's subjective. It came with the 1HD diesel power plant I think -- a great, torquey engine, but yeah, fuel consumption would be an issue. Personally, the difference in fuel consumption between the 1HD and the 1KZ is justified by the added performance.
As far as the visual "freshening up" is concerned, I'm sure you could fit aftermarket lights, bumpers, hoods, rims, tires to great effect...if you're into that sorta stuff, that is. In fact, there was thread on Pakwheels a little while back on someone "upgrading" an older model Landie...you could perhaps use that as a starting point.