How has a amount admission beforehand this year and assurance upgrades in 2020 afflicted the Toyota LandCruiser Prado’s appeal? Glenn Butler finds out.
It seems somewhat arbitrary that the Toyota LandCruiser Prado is a adage for mum’s academy bus.
The Prado ample SUV is one of Australia’s best able off-road vehicles. It has a four-wheel-drive arrangement with locking centre and rear differentials for best traction, affluence of arena approval and caster articulation, a low-range alteration case and underbody protection, and a accommodating turbo agent powertrain that’s as blessed on a artery at 100km/h as it is ample over rocks at walking pace.
In short, the LandCruiser Prado is one of aloof a scattering of seven-seat wagons able of accustomed the off-road dream abounding SUV buyers aspire to, but best will never absolutely do.
As for the Prado’s affability to families, that too is accessible to understand. It’s a ample agent with seven seats and a aerial active position – and it looks boxy abundant to handle the asperous and tumble of ancestors life.
Then there’s Toyota’s acceptability for fuss-free motoring and able resale values. Lastly, it’s a actual adequate agent axial and about stress-free to drive.
What I don’t accept is why buyers admiring to the Prado’s ancestors attributes would appetite to lug hundreds of kilograms of automated apparatus about every day that they will never use. Surely there are bigger seven-seat burghal SUV alternatives, such as the Kia Sorento (winner of Drive Car of the Year 2021) or alike Toyota’s own Kluger SUV.
Perhaps the allurement of the outback dream is stronger than I realise, because 17,326 Prados accept begin Australian buyers to the end of September 2021, putting it afar advanced of added urban-friendly seven-seat rivals like the Kluger, Sorento, Isuzu MU-X, Mazda CX-8 and Hyundai Palisade. Or conceivably added Prado buyers absolutely use its off-road capabilities than I assume?
During our seven-day test, we will do both. We will arch into the Lerderderg State Park alfresco of Melbourne for some aisle active and moderately boxy off-roading. And we will amount it with kids, dogs and arcade and amusement it like a ancestors bus.
There are currently four variants in the Toyota LandCruiser Prado range: the GX five-seat ($60,830 additional on-roads), GXL seven-seat ($67,530), VX seven-seat ($77,157) and the Kakadu seven-seat ($87,807). All four variants are powered by a 2.8-litre turbo agent agent and six-speed automated chiral active all four wheels.
The Toyota LandCruiser Prado accustomed a aloft amend in August 2020, which included added ability for the turbo agent engine, new multimedia and assurance features, and some exceptional upgrades inside. The chiral manual advantage was dropped, authoritative the six-speed automated the alone choice.
Another amend in July 2021 brought assurance upgrades in blind-spot ecology and rear cross-traffic active to GX and GXL variants, and a amount acceleration of aloof beneath $1000.
The alternative we’re testing actuality is the 2021 Toyota LandCruiser Prado VX priced from $84,655 drive-away (Melbourne). Our analysis car’s options listed in the console beneath booty that to $85,361.
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The Prado VX comes accepted with LED headlights and fog lamps, aflame ancillary steps, aloofness glass, roof balustrade and 19-inch auto and tyres. Our analysis car wore abiding Dunlop GranTrek all-terrain tyres that, as we discovered, accommodate a acceptable antithesis of on-road and off-road traction.
All Prado variants accept a full-size additional wheel, either on the tailgate or (optionally) slung beneath the rear of the car. If you accept the underslung advantage you will lose the Prado’s 63L accessory ammunition tank, but you’ll still accept its 87L capital tank.
Toyota has nailed the automotive interior. Every Toyota berth bullseyes the basics and provides a few little touches to accomplish you feel a bit special. But not too much, apperception you, because we’re not affairs a Lexus here.
By basics, I beggarly the active position and the way buttons ‘press’, the complete of the indicators and the accelerated acknowledgment of the air-con afterwards start-up. Those are all elements that we booty for accepted aback they’re right, but can abrade like a bean in a shoe if they’re not.
As for appropriate touches, the Prado has a arched mirror that ancestor bottomward from the roof so the disciplinarian can see all the seats (and their occupants). It has a huge accumulator bin amid the two advanced seats that additionally functions as a air-conditioned box, and it has lock and alleviate buttons on the rear barn aperture that beggarly you don’t charge to blow the key first.
The Prado VX has covering throughout, tri-zone altitude control, a avant-garde infotainment arrangement (except for the beefy and anachronous graphics), and all the acumen you charge to bear families and their accoutrements. There are air vents in all three rows as able-bodied as map lights.
The VX’s advanced seats are both electrically adjustable and accept heating and cooling functions. They’re additionally conspicuously adequate for abbreviate drives and continued trips. The bolsters accommodate acceptable crabbed abutment to accumulate you in abode in corners and on chapped off-road tracks.
There are cupholders in the centre and canteen holders congenital into big aperture pockets. Additional there is a babyish key-bin and a bigger lidded locker beneath the centre stack. The huge axial bin beneath the advanced row’s armrest doubles as a acknowledgment box. Nice.
In archetypal Toyota fashion, all buttons are big and bright and accept a acceptable feel aback pressed. The advanced dual-zone altitude control’s buttons are arrayed beneath the big infotainment screen, and the additional row’s third-zone controls are on the aback of the advanced row’s armrest.
The Prado’s 219mm arena approval agency the seats are absolutely aerial off the arena and adamantine to get into for abate associates of the family, including my babyish 160cm wife (the boilerplate is 161cm for women and 174cm for men, according to the 2018 Australian Census. Now you know). The ancillary accomplish help, as do grab handles aloof axial the aperture frame, but it’s still a appropriate footfall up.
This can be a botheration if you charge to put babies in car seats anchored in either of the additional row’s two alien seats (both of which accept ISOFIX anchors). Reaching up to put a wriggling toddler into a abridged is not easy.
Other than that, the Prado’s additional row is about as ample and adequate as the advanced seats. There are affluence of air vents and cupholders to accumulate occupants happy, and one 12V charging port, but no USB ports actuality or in the third row.
The third row is area things get a little cramped, abnormally if you’re adult-sized. There are alone two seats and seatbelts aback here, so bend allowance is not a botheration alike admitting the caster arches do eat into the width. The bigger issues are allowance and legroom. I’m aloof beneath boilerplate acme and my arch aloof sneaks in beneath the roof line. My knees are up high, however, because the attic aback actuality is abundant college than in the additional row. Also, accepting appropriate legroom is alone accessible if the additional row slides forward. The third row is absolutely alone acceptable for kids, although adults will survive at a pinch.
With all three rows of seats in action, cossack amplitude is laughably babyish at 120L. It would attempt to booty a brace of kids’ backpacks afterwards them squashing amid the tailgate and the seatback.
The third-row seats can be bankrupt advanced in a 50/50 breach – afterwards you accelerate the bench bases aback and bottomward – to bear a collapsed attic and a abundant bigger burden amplitude of 620L, which is added than big abundant for circadian demands. If you charge more, the additional row’s average bench folds bottomward to acquiesce continued endless to accelerate forward, or you can bend the two outboard seats as able-bodied to crop a alveolate 1800L of space.
The Prado VX analysis car came with a barn-door appearance tailgate that opens from the kerbside (hinged on the right) and has a lockable strut to accumulate it accessible on airy canicule or aback anchored on hills. The tailgate additionally has lock and alleviate buttons on the outside, so you don’t charge to use the key to alleviate the car if the cossack is your aboriginal anchorage of call.
The tailgate’s window additionally opens separately, acceptance admission to the amplitude aural afterwards defective to accessible the accomplished door.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Prado VX has a good-size infotainment touchscreen (9.0 inches) with the accepted arrangement of appearance – Bluetooth buzz connectivity, sat-nav and complete arrangement controls. The arrangement works able-bodied and responds bound to touches but the cartoon are beefy and dated. It has delivery acceptance and is accordant with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The JBL exceptional 14-speaker complete arrangement includes DAB radio.
In accession to the axial infotainment screen, there’s a abate LCD awning amid the dials in advanced of the disciplinarian that has abundant advice screens to accumulate the disciplinarian informed. One affection I begin advantageous in the sloppier off-road altitude is the advanced caster bend affectation that tells you how abundant council lock is currently applied.
Assurance and Technology
The Toyota LandCruiser Prado becoming a best assurance appraisement from ANCAP aback activated in 2011. That appraisement was activated to all Prado variants congenital from August 2013 onwards, and agitated over to the adapted Prado ambit launched in 2017. It’s account acquainted that testing protocols accept afflicted decidedly aback then, so it’s difficult to say how the Prado would account by today’s standards.
The Prado comes accepted with bifold front, ancillary and blind airbags, and a knee airbag for the driver.
Toyota’s Assurance Sense appearance were fabricated accepted above the Prado ambit in 2020. This includes a pre-collision arrangement with free emergency braking that can now additionally ascertain cyclists and pedestrians. The Prado additionally has lane-departure admonishing and assist, but it’s not the affectionate that tugs at your wheel. Instead, it’s an earlier arrangement that applies brakes to one rear caster to ‘pivot’ the car acclaim aback into the lane.
The Prado’s assurance apartment additionally includes blind-spot ecology and rear cross-traffic alert.
Our Prado analysis car came with the ‘flat tailgate’ no-cost option, which relocates the additional caster from the tailgate to beneath the rear of the car. This makes aback eyes easier, but it does beggarly you lose the Prado’s 63L accessory ammunition catchbasin that supplements the 87L primary tank.
Other technology credibility of agenda on the Prado VX accommodate rear parking sensors, all-around cameras, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlights and keyless access and go.
Amount for Money
The Toyota LandCruiser Prado’s capital rivals aback it comes to admeasurement and off-roading abilities are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. Alone the Pajero and Discovery accept seven seats, and alone the closing will bout the Prado’s abilities off-road and its clarification on-road – and it’s priced aloft $100K.
So that makes the Prado article of a abandoned act if you’re attractive to bout all its attributes. Which in about-face makes it adamantine to alarm the Prado annihilation but acceptable value.
In agreement of active costs, all Toyota models appear with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. If you account on time and to schedule, Toyota will add two years of drivetrain warranty. Servicing intervals are a blow common – every six months or 10,000km – but at atomic they’re reasonable at $260 anniversary for the aboriginal six services, but footfall up afterwards the aboriginal three years with abundant college appraisement per visit.
The Prado’s ammunition abridgement is rated at 7.9L/100km on the city/highway accumulated cycle. During our anniversary of testing, we averaged 10.2L/100km on-road and 13.5L/100km off-road.
If there’s a weakness in the Prado’s armoury, it’s apparently the 2.8-litre turbo agent engine. But it’s arbitrary to alarm it a weakness; it’s aloof that the blow of the Prado is so overwhelmingly acceptable that the agent comes off a bit lacklustre by comparison.
This agent is accepting on a bit now (introduced in 2015), but did accept a much-needed achievement advancement in August 2020, jumping from 130kW and 450Nm to 150kW and 500Nm, the closing on tap from 1600-2800rpm.
In the Prado, this agent is accumulated with a six-speed automated transmission, and they assignment able-bodied together. It’s a smooth, composed drivetrain that ambles forth agreeably on-road, and is affably accommodating and acquiescent off-road – important aback you charge to acumen torque commitment for best traction.
The agent is not able – it does charge time to get up to acceleration – but it’s a audible advance on the antecedent version, which took 17.6 abnormal to go from 0-100km/h.
One added weakness is the drivetrain’s accordance that accomplish themselves acquainted aback sitting idle, say at cartage lights. Avant-garde turbo diesels, decidedly European ones, do a abundant bigger job of isolating occupants from this.
The Prado’s abeyance tune is exemplary. Admitting accustomed a ample 2245kg wagon around, it strikes a admirable antithesis amid comfort, acquiescence and activating adequacy – for a big SUV. And off-road, the suspension’s ample caster commitment is actual handy, abnormally in the rougher actuality we begin on our Lerderderg adventure.
The Prado’s council has actuality afterwards actuality heavy. It has a quick abundant arrangement to accomplish burghal manoeuvres about stress-free, and off-road has the weight to advice you feel the area you’re ambidextrous with.
The Prado has an 11.6m axis circle, which is absolutely absolutely acceptable for such a big barbarian – it’s aloof 1m added than a Toyota Yaris Cross (baby SUV).
Prado’s off-road achievement is adamantine to fault. We activated it on apart gravel, dirt, mud and baptize crossings. We collection abominably rutted anchorage and above angled abrasion gutters, and at all times the Prado did aggregate it could to accumulate four auto on the arena and us affective in the appropriate direction. At times we affianced the centre locking animosity and rear diff, and we approved it out in low-range, but we couldn’t get the Prado to flounder or fail.
I’ve done a lot of off-roading in my time, including the abominable Rubicon Aisle in America and the Canning Stock Route (all 1800km of it) in Western Australia. The advance in the Lerderderg State Park aloof north-west of Melbourne are not in their league, but not to be sniffed at either. The Prado is a competent and accurate off-roader.
If you appetite a ample SUV that’s family-friendly, accessible to drive about boondocks admitting its size, and is absolutely able of accustomed the Outback dream drive, again the Toyota LandCruiser Prado is the agent for you.
If you charge a able-bodied agent able of towing a boat, caravan, or horse float up to 3000kg with adequacy and comfort, again the Toyota LandCruiser Prado is for you.
If you appetite article with seven seats to accumulate up with your predominantly burghal ancestors life, then… There are added affordable options that will do the job aloof as well, if not better, such as the Kia Sorento, Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9.
But none of those can beat the Simpson Desert or get you to Craig’s Hut and above like the Prado can. And I’m action that, for a fair allocation of the 2000 Australians that buy a new Prado every month, a 4×4 that looks like a 4×4 – alike if they’ll never lock a animosity or use low-range – is account the extra.
Fair enough. If looks weren’t important, we’d all be cutting blah trackie dacks.
2021 Toyota Landcruiser Prado VX Wagon 8.2/ 10
2023 Toyota Prado Style – 2023 Toyota Prado
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