I have a great deal of respect for Toyota, sure they build boring, bland and completely uninspiring cars most of the time, but they put a great deal of money into R&D and they are the pioneers of Hybrid vehicle technology. Yet they are also willing to recognise when Hybrid technology is not suitable and have no quarrels going for a Diesel engine.
So the new Toyota LandCruiser Prado has gained a more powerful and fuel-efficient turbo-diesel engine as well as specification upgrades on all models. The new 3.0-litre common-rail Toyota 1KD-FTV direct-injection engine delivers substantially more power and torque, rapid response, smooth acceleration, better fuel economy and lower emissions.
The DOHC four-cylinder intercooled and turbocharged engine produces 32 per cent more power and 19.5 per cent more torque than the similar-capacity engine it replaces. Maximum power is 127kW at 3400rpm (up from 96kW at 3600rpm) while peak torque jumps to 410Nm at 1600-2800rpm (up from 343Nm at 2000rpm).
Transmissions available with the new engine each gain an extra ratio - a six-speed manual and an electronically controlled five-speed automatic with gated shift. Fuel consumption for both turbo-diesel versions has also been lowered to less than 10 litres/100km - an improvement of 19.3 per cent for the manual and 26.2 per cent for the auto.
Turbo-diesel Prado uses 9.2 litres/100km for the manual (down 2.2) and 9.3 litres for the automatic (down 3.3) on the official combined cycle.
The engine complies with new, stricter Euro IV emission levels. David Buttner, Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing, said the new engine offered increased power and torque across the rev range.
"Prado's new turbo-diesel engine delivers strong performance from idle and features an extremely flat torque curve," Mr Buttner said."These characteristics make the Prado turbo-diesel ideal for acceleration, towing and off-road driving."
The manual transmission adopts triple-cone synchromesh on first, second and third gears to make shifts smoother. Diesel fuel is stored under high pressure in a common-rail pump and injected directly into the combustion chamber multiple times per cycle.
This technology optimises the air/fuel mixture in the cylinders, delivering efficient combustion for high torque and excellent fuel economy. Petrol Prado models continue with an all-alloy Quad Cam 4.0-litre V6 engine equipped with variable valve timing (VVT-i).
The petrol engine delivers maximum power of 179kW at 5200rpm and peak torque is 376Nm at 3800rpm. The 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine and new 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine are available on all four Prado grades - GX, GXL, VX and Grande.
VX and Grande models are fitted with the electronic five-speed automatic transmission. GX and GXL models come with either the six-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
Along with the new turbo-diesel engine, the diesel models gain acoustic windscreen glass and new sound-absorbing material under the instrument panel to reduce noise, vibration and harshness.
Turbo-diesel models have a larger engine cover and twin counter-rotating balance shafts. The Prado Grande receives a new, easier-to-read Optitron instrument cluster and added warning features. Prado GX has been upgraded with wider 17-inch styled steel wheels and wider side steps, overfender flares and mudguards, body-coloured bumpers and door handles, side protection mouldings, and chrome grille and exterior mirrors.
An option pack for Prado GX includes anti-skid brakes (ABS), cruise control, leather steering wheel and leather gearshift knob. Prado GXL models gain privacy glass and roof rails. Additional features for Prado VX include power-operated front seats, leather seat trim and leather/woodgrain door trim.