Toyota recently announced the addition of a 3.0-litre turbo-Diesel engine to its ranks. What’s so good about that I hear you ask? Well this turbo-Diesel motor is capable of returning a 9.2-litre/100km fuel efficiency figure – which for a vehicle that weighs just under two-tones, that’s not a bad feat.
With a 180-litre fuel tank (one of the biggest offered on an Australian production vehicle) the Toyota Landcruiser Prado Diesel is capable of traveling a solid 1656km on one tank of Diesel, that’s enough to get from Melbourne to Sydney and back again. I jumped into the GX base model for the week to see what the Prado was like around town and out bush.
The interior is pretty simple, there are plenty of blank buttons for higher models and there isn’t much in the way of luxuries. On the same hand though, you don’t really buy a vehicle like the Prado for luxurious motoring. There is a heap of room both for front and rear seat passengers, along with a very large glove box and centre console for storing odds and ends.
On road dynamics are far from spectacular, a higher centre of gravity, along with soft suspension certainly don’t help the fact. Toyota certainly didn’t try and hide the fact that there is a Diesel under the bonnet; the noise often overcomes that of trucks near by.
Around town, the Prado is quite easy to drive. The steering is assisted enough for tight parking and the turbo lag is kept to a minimum. After a moment of hesitation, a boot full of throttle will exert the Prado’s full 410Nm of torque at just 1600rpm, whilst the maximum 127kW of power occurs at 3400rpm.
Off road, the Prado is about as good as it gets. I took the Prado through some of the roughest territory on offer and it remained compliant the entire time. The plethora of torque available low in the rev range helps the Prado climb any hills it’s challenged with.
There are four models on offer in the Prado range – the GX (being test driven), GXL, VX and Grande. They are priced at $46,290, $54,290, $67,290 and $74,290 respectively, with the Diesel engine on offer for a $1000 premium. In my opinion, optioning the Diesel engine is the smartest move, considering the extra torque and fuel efficiency on offer.
Standard features in the GX model include: 17” steel wheels; power windows; power steering; 6-speaker sound system with single disc CD player; 3 seater for third row of seats; side steps; 6 cup holders; mud flaps; remote central locking; engine immobiliser and front driver and passenger SRS airbags.
The GX has an optional “Option Pack” on offer which includes ABS brakes, cruise control and leather bound steering wheel at additional cost. I think it’s quite a concern that the GX model doesn’t come standard with ABS brakes, considering the size of the vehicle; it could become quite dangerous in the wet without the assistance of ABS.
Aside from the lack of ABS as standard equipment, the new Toyota Landcruiser Prado is well equipped for a sub $50,000 vehicle. It performed nicely throughout the city and maintained composure off-road. Unless you’re planning to use this as a dedicated 4WD, I would head up in the product range to find one with a few more features, as the GX is pretty simple in terms of extras.
– Paul Maric
CarAdvice rating (out of five):