Yes, I would love to own a Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series V8 turbo-diesel, who wouldn’t? But the price is a bit of a stopper, more than a bit actually.
Toyota makes it easy on a wannabe ‘Cruiser 200 Series owner buy offering the smaller Prado which is a worthy little brother to the Big Kahuna and is still a full chassis vehicle…a proper fourbie.
We got hold of the GXL auto mid spec’ model selling for $63,000 that fills the bill on most scores apart from outright performance and towing capability when compared to the 200 Series.
Prado recently had a styling refresh focusing on the sculpted bonnet (like 200 Series), new LED headlights, new grille, guards, bumpers and other minor body hardware.
It was an overall small tweak which actually lifts the look of Prado to a more contemporary level accentuated with some new colours.
But it’s still identifiable as a Prado and plenty of people are happy with that especially the price reductions and additional features on some models.
Like the exterior, Prado’s interior scores a tweak with a redesigned dashboard, instrument binnacle and switchgear.
The revised centre console incorporates a flush-surface air-conditioning control panel and has a low profile at the top for a sleeker appearance and improved forward visibility.
Toyota upgraded safety on the Prado and the GXL tested had the $3500 interior upgrade pack with leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats including the second row and other goodies.
There’s a full size spare and the GXL tested has seven seats with the rear row folding out of the way.
The LED headlights are a significant upgrade as is auto high beam. There’s a decent audio system and Toyota’s handy infotainment system with all Bluetooth functions.
However, we hate the way you have to stop and slip it into park to use the satnav or even some (Bluetooth) functions.
We reckon, as a brand, Toyota has among the worst Bluetooth systems on the market.
They must not have heard of front seat passengers and one touch connections.
Drive and Engine
It’s a 2.8 litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel under the bonnet that generates 130kW and 450Nm on the auto variant, a bit less torque on the manual model.
The engine has been around for a while and sees service in other Toyota SUVs and light commercial vehicles.
Runs fairly smooth, gets on boost pretty quickly, doesn’t use too much fuel.
But with 2240kg to lug around, more torque would be merrier.
Still, Toyota would have had an eye on fuel economy that rates a respectable 8.0-litres/100km.
It’s a full time 4WD set-up with low and high range selected by a dial in the cabin.
The auto is a six speed unit offering quick shifts up and down the range and up to five drive modes that also change other mechanical settings in Prado.
Getting off the mark is, let’s say relaxed, but once the magic 1600rpm engine speed is reached, the Prado gets going really well and maintains the anger up to about 4500rpm.
This is particularly handy when towing as it gives a broad spread of power and torque to efficiently tow up to 3.000kg – which we actually did using a large car trailer with a medium large people mover on it.
Not a problem for the Prado except fuel consumption went up a fair bit.
Off-road Prado is almost unstoppable, accentuated this time around on GXL variants and up which are fitted with a rear diff’ lock for more traction.
The soft suspension soaks up rough tracks giving passengers a well-insulated ride. It articulates well on off-set gullies and bumps still putting power to the ground and plugging forwards in low range.
There’s 219mm of ground clearance and the guards allow plenty of room for wheel movement and mud if that’s where you’re driving.
A bit light and lacks feel.
Prado scores a five star crash rating bolstered by active safety equipment like active cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian detect, pre-collision alert, lane departure warning and the auto high beam.
- Feels unbreakable
- Tows like a beauty
- Fairly economical
- Comfortable ride
- Looks better with styling tweak
- Price reductions
Not So Good Bits
- Horrible Bluetooth
- Sat-nav selection only when stopped
- Feels a bit roly poly in corners
- Top of the range model is in 200 Series price range
Prado’s reputation speaks for itself as do sales volumes. It’s the go to vehicle for people wanting to do serious off roading on a budget, is backed by the largest dealer network in Australia and has fixed price servicing for a few years.
Can’t argue with that
Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Prado GXL
- Engine: 2.8 litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder 130kW/450Nm (auto)
- Transmission: Six-speed auto (constant 4WD with H and L range)
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: Japan
- Price: GXL from $63,000