• Blend of civility and offroad capability; design revisions and extra equipment come at little cost over outgoing model; offroad tech makes driver look like a pro
  • Second series of fourth-gen less attractive than the original; up-spec models remain pricey; separate-chassis brings compromise in family-car role

7 / 10

2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
by James Whitbourn

The setting for the launch of the updated Toyota LandCruiser Prado had significance.

New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains played a role in the Australian beginnings of Toyota, and the Landcruiser, when construction company Thiess used second-generation 20 Series ’Cruisers as Snowy Scheme workhorses in the late 1950s.

Four decades later the Toyota Prado arrived in Australia in its second generation, a slightly smaller version of the LandCruiser. Now in its fourth generation, the best-selling large SUV has just been treated to a facelift. (Meanwhile, as engineering feats go, we Aussies are still yet to top the Snowy Scheme).

Revised styling and redesigned interiors herald new driving aids, retuned suspension and improved safety. Meanwhile, pricing of the entry-level turbo diesel six-speed manual Toyota LandCruiser Prado GX (above) remains unchanged at $55,990, and price increases further up the range are small. The three-door, which was a slow seller, has been dropped.

A bold new five-column grille dominates the frontal styling rework, taking attention away from the new headlights and deeper bumper. Elsewhere, new 17- and 18-inch wheels and new paint colours set the new Toyota LandCruiser Prado apart from the original fourth-gen model, which arrived in Oz in late 2009.

Inside, a redesigned dash brings a new multi-media audio system, ‘Optitron’ dials and a TFT info screen for up-spec models; new interfaces and settings for carry-over off-roading systems, such as the addition of a ‘rock and dirt’ mode to the multi-terrain select system, which is now operated by a dial; and the addition of new systems such as trailer-sway control, which is incorporated into the electronic stability control.

2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review

Seven airbags and a rear-view camera remain worthy safety inclusions in the five-star ANCAP-rated wagon.

Toyota LandCruiser Prado GX and GXL variants offer silver highlights and piano black trim, while the upmarket VX and Kakadu (above) bring leather accents and woodgrain-look trim that looks both very Japanese and dated. Seven-seater variants – that’s all bar the GX, in which the extra row costs $2K – benefit from better third-row access thanks to a rear seat that now folds forward at a greater angle.

Toyota says the $64,190 turbo diesel five-speed auto GXL (up $555) is by far the buyers’ pick – 70 per cent of people choose it. Just five per cent of punters opt for the pricier $78,990 (up $1355) VX turbo diesel, and five per cent choose the expensive if well-equipped $92,590 (up $1455) turbo diesel Kakadu flagship – it gets a rear Blu-ray player, for example, which is far too good for the kids. The 20 per cent who buy the base GX includes a large proportion of commercial buyers.

The take-up rate for petrols is just five per cent, and the percentage of people who buy a manual in preference to the $2700-costlier auto is almost as small. Why does Toyota offer a petrol variant? Because when the Japanese maker sells almost 15,000 LandCruiser Prados each year (more than any vehicle in its segment), five percent of which amounts to more than 700 cars. However, at $1000 extra for the torquey, economical turbo diesel, you’d have to be seriously anti-diesel not to consider it.

2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review

Both the 4.0-litre petrol V6 (above), with 202kW of power and 381Nm of torque, and the 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder, with 127kW and 410Nm, are carry-over engines.

Look more closely at the figures and you’ll see why it’s the diesel that does it for most buyers. While the torque figures are similar, the diesel offers its peak from a lazy 1600rpm – 2800 less revs than in the petrol. Meanwhile, the diesel is easier on the juice, at 8.5-8.8L/100km (manual-auto), compared with 11.5L/100km for the auto petrol.

Australia is the world’s third-largest market for the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, and the development of the LandCruiser remains inextricably linked to our wide, brown land, starting with the 450,000 durability and reliability testing kilometres carried out Down Under. Chief engineer Sadayoshi Koyari says his team’s motto is, “If it can survive in Australia, it can survive anywhere.”

Also, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) found on up-spec variants was invented and developed by Western Australia’s Kinetic Suspension Technology. The system can decouple the anti-roll bars, allowing increased wheel travel.

A short off-road test course at the $16m new National Industrial Skills Training Centre in Wodonga, Victoria, provided a sample of the LandCruiser Prado’s significant skill-set.

2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review

The front camera’s ability to tell the driver, via an on-screen graphic, where the front wheels are pointed proved invaluable when the LandCruiser Prado’s oversized grille was pointed at the sky.

The crawl control system took the throttle and brake work out of climbs and descents, leaving a relaxed driver to merely steer.

And the full-chassis 4×4’s long-travel independent front and live axle rear suspensions, with KDSS, helped keep all four on the dirt over a particularly challenging sequence of moguls.

Suspension revisions aimed at improving the LandCruiser Prado’s on-road manners also formed part of the facelift. Roll-stiffness was increased in an effort to reduce body roll, the hydraulic power steering was recalibrated, and the tuning of the stability control and traction control systems was improved.

On tarmac, the Toyota LandCruiser Prado remains understeer-biased. There’s a feeling of reluctance to turn-in that results from a small amount of lost motion either side of straight ahead, and a slight sense of unwillingness from the chassis as it’s coaxed into corners.

However, once you’re used to it and turn in earlier (or dial on more steering lock) the Prado’s an agreeable tourer on open country roads.

A lack of steering feedback does sap confidence and makes it difficult to judge front tyre grip levels. The nose feels like it will move from a subtly understeery mid-corner attitude to actually sliding, and will. But, again, a more sympathetic driving style helps sidestep the problem.

The above are standard separate-chassis symptoms and also reflect the offroad-ready tyres fitted to the LandCruiser Prado. It’ll never approach the dynamic ability of SUVs that aren’t engineered to also go offroad, but in the context of its separate chassis specification, the LandCruiser Prado handles well and rides comfortably.

The turbo diesel is clearly an off-roader-style rather than passenger-car-style engine, but is a willing worker that’s acceptably quiet. Other noises, such as tyre and wind are similarly well contained. The low torque peak means you don’t need to rev the engine hard, however the auto is a bit slow to downshift on hills, requiring a right-foot prompt for a lower ratio.

The Prado’s brakes are powerful and inspire confidence, and the ABS works effectively on dirt.

As medium-duty four-wheel-drives go, the Toyota LandCruiser Prado GX and GXL represent a worthwhile upgrade from the likes of Mitsubishi’s Pajero ($50K) and Nissan’s Y61 Patrol ($55K). The Toyota costs a bit more than its Japanese rivals, but it is more refined, has better road manners, and is just as capable in the bush.

However, the up-spec VX and Kakadu start to feel expensive in the context of the genuine premium on offer in a German SUV. Also consider that $100K buys a base Range Rover Sport, which will seriously challenge the LandCrusier Prado off road while trumping it for interior class and dynamics.

At the lower end, it’s best to think hard about what it is your wagon will spend its days doing, because if you’re not going to make full use of the abilities that a separate-chassis off-roader such as the Prado brings, a more dynamic road-biased SUV would make a better, more comfortable family car.

Consider Toyota’s own Kluger ($40K) or, even better, a Ford Territory ($40K) or Mazda CX-9 ($45K).

However, for genuine off-roaders, only a Land Rover Discovery 4 ($70K-$130K) can top the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, which means this civilised off-roader certainly has its niche, as more than 200,000 Aussie buyers have discovered since 1996, at a rate of more than 1000 a month.

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2014 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Review
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  • toyota

    70k for the kakadu and toyota has a winner

  • marc

    The 3L diesel is terrible for the weight of this vehicle. And Mums, these are not cool at school.

    • Zaccy16

      it is, also terrible for the price point of the car, you would have to be completely stupid to buy a top range prado and not spend a little more on the excellent rang rover sport that is better off road, but 1000’s of times better on road, performance, economy and a much better interior

  • aaa

    Just want to share that the 2013 NW 7-seater MIJ Pajero GLX-R (equiv to the Prado GXL or better) auto is great value at $47K drive away. It handles better than the Prado. Has a time tested and torquey 3.2L diesel engine, no DPF and uses a tough Aisin 5 spd auto gearbox and not the 5 spd auto from the Magna/380 as used in the Challenger/Triton, where they crippled the engine torque output to 350Nm to accommodate the gearbox. Used to cost the same as the Prado GXL at $63k+ but I think Mitsi is having a sale?

    • Griddit

      It is good value but no matter people think, there are many good reasons why Prados have the best resale in Australia.

  • crouchy35

    That front end could easily have a Ssangyong badge on it.

    • delcotexas

      I blinked I thought I saw a MAHINDRA

    • Zaccy16

      easily, also the mismatched, cheap and nasty square interior could be from a Chinese or indian manufacturer!

  • TG

    Looks like Toyota are starting to do the Mazda thing. No variant badges (with the exception of the Kakadu). That’ll save them a few dollars, lol.

    • marc

      Thats funny because the Kluger has gone from 5 rear badges to 2.

  • http://www.kizi1.org/ Kizi 1

    it is a very beautiful and powerful vehicle can overcome the worst road

    • sam

      Are you kidding? This just might be the ugliest vehicle currently on sale!

    • crouchy35

      Say hi to Chen for me x

  • Rick

    It’s funny what Toyota can get away with …… This car is in the same class of vehicles as the grand Cherokee , Pajero and at this price point some of the euro SUVs and yet it still gets away with terribly antique running gear .
    As for the fuel efficiency a quick look through the log books at work and a comparison between the prado , Pajero and grand Cherokee have fuel figures at 11.9/100km , 10.1/100km and 9.9/100km respectively , granted that probably 70% of the Kay’s covered in these cars are highway and dirt roads . They are relatively good figures given 2 plus tonne of SUV and the aerodynamics of a cardboard box .
    Toyota have to lift their game , our company has always dealt with toyotas however after numerous problems with the 200series cruisers and hiluxs we’ve been looking at their competitors and buy the end of the financial year our 50 vehicle fleet will have no toyotas

    • Cobrajet

      It would need antique running gear and be shaped like a truck if its going to taken off road in harsh conditions. If you don’t need that then they already have the Kluger.

      • Rick

        Why the last overlander test claimed that the Cherokee and land rover was better off road than the prado

        • Griddit

          But will they get you home? I know which I’d prefer to travel the outback in. A real no brainer.

  • Rocket

    As a genuine off road 4WD the Prado has a lot of ability but there are way too many of these running around doing the school run and at the local shopping centre that look like they have never left the bitumen. There are so many better 7 seat alternatives these days it amazes me why people buy them for this reason .They are slow and feel like they are going to topple over going around corners at normal speeds. Not to mention it is also ugly compared to the very capable Jeep GC which drives so much better and has heaps more grunt with its diesel.

  • Brett

    An utterly pathetic car. Last generation (120) was a million times better. Carpeted and comfortable interior, fantastic drive considering the car and it looked so much better. Since this series came in, they took any nice stuff out and replaced it with hard, crappy plastic. Seriously, it’s like they forgot about a few parts and just tacked them in anywhere they could at the last minute. Engine an drivetrain are nothing short of rubbish. Power is off-on-off. Terrible refinement and transition of it too. Worst part is the ride. If I had to pick between a boat or this, I would choose the boat. Body roll is utterly terrible. Anyone whom sat in the back felt sick and asked me to sit in the front. Never again will I consider this vehicle, or any other Toyota come to think of it.. Toyota can beat with their “it’s good enough, those idiots will buy it ” philosophy. Clap clap to you.

    • monocoque

      Sounds like you would be better off buying a vehicle that uses a monocoque.

      Personally I’d prefer a cab chassis going off road, but that means you don’t get a great ride on road.

      But I do agree, the 150 is now so far behind. Personally, I wouldn’t be going it.

      I honestly do believe the next model will unfortunately go to a monocoque design. Which is sad, as it will be a road going vehicle with the ability to go off road instead of the other way around.

      • LB

        My 2001 land Rover discovery is proof you can have both great on road and off road ability with a body on chassis. It has self levelling air suspension, keeping to incredibly flat and stable in corners. no body roll at all, and with traction control, its amazing off road too. The new Discovery is monocoque and is far more capable off road than toyota, not to mention on road. But you could never expect toyota to make a vehicle as refined and capable as land rover. Toyota just use ‘Cab and chassis good off road yarn’ as an excuse to not redesign the very dated technology.

        • Griddit

          It doesn’t rely on unreliable technology. You call it old tech, I call it dependable. I know of more than one person left stranded in the outback in a disco. Good for you if you want the risk!

  • Zaccy16

    Ancient, over priced, hideous car, discovery smashes it in every way, much more powerful engine, 200 NM more torque in the SDV6 3.0 twin turbo diesel over the prado and it is cheaper at $86,000 than the ridiculously expensive kakadu, even the base $70,000 discovery still has 560 nm, even though the disco is much more powerful it still is more economical, has a quality spacious interior and much much better on road dynamics

  • Tony Abbotts No1 Fan

    So let me get this right….$64k odd plus on roads for the Prado or $68k odd plus on roads for a Discovery 4.

    I know what I would take & it aint the Prado, even allowing for the Prado’s up to minute 127kw diesel & state of the art 5 speed auto.

    But…each to their own

  • Ash

    “Less Attractive”…Yeah.. this is one ugly pile for $60K+.. won’t look good picking the kids up from school in this box of chrome…
    if this thing sells it will prove that Australians love affair with SUV’s knows no bounds…

  • jelena kravljevstvo dokmir

    auto gut ten tak tojota rat and vojna konac hura srbija!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pobeda dan

  • jelena kravljevstvo dokmir

    neznam kako ali yugoslaviya and broz tito nerazryvno svyazany s soyuzom I mezhdunarodnymi dogovorami, novyy god zdesy dradi otmechayut veselo s salyutom yolkami moyim dnyom rozhdeniya I ulybkami edoy I prazdnichnymi cvetami. pozdravlyay milochek da naydesh mi ovde da porazgovaramo sa tobom I pavlom talefoniruyte +7 (48439) 36891 domashniy ili +7 915 894 05 30 mobilynyy 9-47-00 rabochiy s radostyyu I udovolystviyem zhdu z vami pogovoriri I uvideti mama papa ya – druzhnaya semy’a

  • Valina

    Do someone know when exactly will be Land Cruiser Prado 300 for selling in the market?

  • Sam

    $90 k for a kakadu. Over price Toyota! Still running 5 speed when others have moved forward running 8 speed auto(Amorok) Mercedes Benz 7-8 Speed, New Ranger 6 Speed auto poweful 3.2 litre man! Come on Toyota where is ur future?

  • Phil

    Toyota should drops the kakadu, make it into GX, GXL = VX and VX = Kakadu. But price remain unchanged.

  • chrisozman

    Wow, Recommending a landrover over a toyota, and a 3.5 star out of 5 for the prado, who on earth is this James Whitbourn? In my 26 years here in Alice Springs and 600,000km driving through everything you could ever imagine in the outback and beyond I can assure you toyota is king. Find me a cattle station or Aboriginal community or government department in the Territory that uses Landrovers, not one. This guy probably thinks Coopers STs are good tyres too. What a joke and the city dipsticks here commenting are not much better, you guys wouldn’t know a 4WD from a skateboard. Go back to your school run until you have something worthwhile to say.

  • Ahmad Saafan

    Is it possible to replace a petrol engine v8, 4000 cc with a diesel engine? Could anyone give me an advice?

    Thank you,

  • Griddit

    Toyota has deleted the door courtesy lights for the GXL models in this facelift. Stinks of cost cutting!

  • http://newsadda.co.in Ramesh Krishnan

    I guess it is Ideal companion for the well heeled adventure enthusiast.

  • Shirish Satdev

    New Toyota Prado GXL with ARB front bullbar is the best 4WD car around. It looks good when you put ARB front bullbar to it. I have driven almost all the car brands (except very expensive sports cars!),but I liked this combination the most and I will always keep one with me. I have got one Toyota Prado GXL 2010 model at the moment and I am completely satisfied with its specifications!!!

Toyota Landcruiser Specs

Car Details
PRADO GX (4x4)
Body Type
New Price
Private Sale
$41,140 - $46,750
Dealer Retail
$40,700 - $48,400
Dealer Trade
$31,600 - $37,400
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
410Nm @  1600rpm
Max. Power
127kW @  3400rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.8L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:2500  Unbrake:750
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
245/70 R17
Rear Tyres
245/70 R17
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Front Suspension
Double wishbone, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Multi-link system, Coil Spring, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Power Steering, Trip Computer
Engine & Transmission
Diff Locks
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Rear Spoiler
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Third Row Seats
Metallic Paint
Service Interval
6 months /  10,000 kms
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Driver Side Front Chassis
Country of Origin