Thursday, May 4, 2017


The new Toyota Prado comes with many different car features and clever design elements that equip it for many off road situations while ensuring that it is a completely safe and comfortable car to drive. This car is powerful car, whether you elect for the 4.0L Dual VVT-i V6 engine or the 3.0L Turbo Diesel engine.

Each model offers masses of space for driver, passengers and luggage with highly flexible seating configurations enabling you to create extra cargo space when you need it.

Prado has an incredible array of safety features to help keep you safe, these include seven SRS airbags , AB-i (Active braking with intelligence) , Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC) among others.

All automatic models come with Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and Kakadu models feature CRAWL Control to help give you more control in off road situations. Yet it offers all mod cons, fantastic audio and virtually every kind of driver and passenger comfort you can think of.

The V6  Prado has a 6-cylinder Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) engine that pumps out 202kW of power and 381Nm of torque. Yet, while the car's performance is awesome, for all the hard work going on under the bonnet, it's surprisingly quiet and economical too. The new look is somewhat divisive, but Prado has always been a capable tool of trade, with function outweighing form, appealing to families wanting an SUV with enough room for the kids and a bunch of gear; anyone who needs to tow long distances; or people who want to head off-road in reasonable comfort.

Toyota stated at launch that the dynamic frontrunner in the class, the Land Rover Discovery, had been benchmarked. As such, changes have been made to Prado’s steering and suspension systems. Benchmarking is admirable, but you can’t always turn one thing into something else. As such, if you’re stepping out of a Disco into a Prado, don’t expect the same level of on-road finesse and handling. Prado simply can’t match Discovery for outright handling and chassis balance on-road.

The steering system has been retuned, with changes made to the rack itself. The main changes have been directed at improving steering response and delivering a more connected feel to the road, especially when you’re cruising along the motorway at 100km/h. Previous Prados felt a little disconnected at highway speeds – this new Prado doesn’t, and that’s a good thing. It doesn’t have the same taut, firm feel to the steering that a Discovery has, but there’s a noticeable improvement over the outgoing model.

Highlights of the standard features list include a reverse-view camera, rear parking sensors, 17-inch alloy wheels, wider cross-section tyres, steering wheel mounted audio and telephone controls, and an audio system controlled via a central 7.0-inch screen and featuring six speakers. Cruise control, push-button start, Bluetooth phone connectivity and USB/auxiliary inputs are standard across the range.

The exterior mirrors are both powered and heated, which was extremely handy during the torrential rain and cool weather over our week-long test. If you live in regional areas with frosty mornings, you’ll love this feature.

The GXL also comes standard with three rows of seats (seven in total) and has three-zone climate control, side steps, fog lights, privacy glass, leather steering wheel and shift knob trim and importantly for many buyers, a retractable cargo cover (it’s surprising how many SUVs don’t offer one as standard).

Prado’s interior is more workmanlike than luxurious. The velour trim looks to be typically hard-wearing and durable, but can’t match the leather offered on Discovery 4 for example. Comfort, visibility and ergonomics are – as you’d expect from Toyota – exceptional. The high and mighty driving position especially affords excellent all-round visibility in or out of town.

The low-range system works seamlessly with the auto ‘box and is switchable electrically at low speed. The locking centre diff is also standard for GXL and is a handy off-rood tool to have in the kit bag when the going gets tough. It has to be said though, that such is the overall grip and composure of the Prado when you’re off-road, you’ll only need to employ the centre locker in the toughest of surroundings.

While I’m tempted to hammer the 3.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo diesel engine for being too old, it has to be said that it does the job required of it easily. It’s no technical tour de force by any means, but 127kW and 410Nm are more than enough to get the Prado up to speed and keep it there without working too hard.

It’s loud and there’s more clatter than we’re used to from the current crop of high-tech Euro diesels. but there’s in-built toughness and genuine durability under the Prado’s bonnet. The auto isn’t as exotic as some, either, but it also gets the job done without any hesitation, slurring or harsh shifting.

Roll on overtaking and acceleration isn’t the diesel engine’s forte, with the Prado never feeling especially nimble or sprightly, but you probably won’t be driving like an F1 pilot with six passengers in the car either. Where the Prado feels a little spongy at times, it has an innate ability to iron out potholes and really poor road surfaces with comfort. Rutted dirt roads are no match for the Prado’s composure either.

Toyota vehicles are known for their longevity, though the brand still offers just a three-year/100,000km warranty. Ownership prospects are enhanced by affordable capped-price servicing for the first three years of ownership, with scheduled visits every six months or 10,000km, at a cost of $210 per service.

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