New 2012 Toyota Prado Altitude review | first drive

Marque Motoring ·

8 April 2012

New 2012 Toyota Prado Altitude review | first drive
The limited edition Toyota Prado Altitude aims to offer excellent value.

Toyota has added a special limited edition Altitude version of its Prado with more than $10,000 of added features at a cost of just over $5000.

The limited edition Toyota Prado Altitude will only be in production until the end of April 2012. The current (fourth generation, but third in Australia) Prado has been on the market since late 2009 so is about midway through its life cycle. 

A medium-to-large 4WD that’s all too often used as an under-achieving suburban family wagon, it’s almost as capable in heavy-duty off-road work as its big brother LandCruiser. Indeed the vehicle’s full name is the Toyota LandCruiser Prado.

ENGINE AND MECHANICAL

The limited edition model, called the Prado Altitude, is based on the mid-spec Prado GXL and comes with the same engine choices of 4.0-litre V6 petrol or 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines. While the GXL has the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, the Altitude is only available with a five-speed automatic transmission. Drive is permanently to all four wheels with a two-speed transfer box that’s controlled by a dash mounted switch.

The 4.0-litre petrol V6 produces 202 kW, and 381 Nm at 4400 rpm. That torque peak is at high revs but a lot of work has gone into fattening out the torque graph in the low to mid end of the scale. The 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel is likely to be the bigger seller.

A modern common-rail unit, it puts out 127 kW at just 3400 revs. Diesel torque of 410 Newton metres is available at a very useful band that runs from 1600 to 2800 rpm, in other words most drivers will have the torque at its peak most of the time.

PRICE AND EQUIPMENT

The $5000 premier on the price of the GXL provides the Altitude with additional equipment that includes satellite navigation, a seven-inch touch-screen display, 14 speakers (GXL has six), six-disc in-dash CD/DVD changer with remote control , tilt-and-slide moonroof, leather-accented seat trim, privacy glass, Optitron instruments and Altiutude badging on the rear.

There’s also a rear-seat entertainment system, including a DVD player, that can be operated either from the touch-screen display in the front seats or by remote control from the rear seats. The system uses a nine-inch monitor mounted from the ceiling and has three wireless headphones.

Reversing is made even easier with a back-guide monitor that links with the reversing camera while four sonar parking sensors have been added at the front to the four already fitted to the rear in the GXL.

Other features that are also standard on the GXL include seven airbags, stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes, hill-assist control and downhill assist control, three-zone climate-controlled air-conditioning, audio controls on the steering wheel, smart entry and start, cruise control and long-range fuel tanks (87-litre main and 63-litre sub).

DRIVING

Prado is a seven-seater with excellent interior space that can be shared amongst the occupants because of the centre row seats can slide back and forward. The back seats fold flat when they are not required to increase the already-good load area.

Ride comfort is good and the Prado is easy to drive thanks to plenty of outwards visibility and a tight turning circle (for a 4WD). Handing is nothing special, with the suspension leaning in the direction of providing a good ride. However, road grip and overall dynamics are fine for the typical buyers in this SUV market segment. Parking can be a problem until you get used to the bulk of the vehicle so people moving from cars to a big SUV may struggle at first.

The Toyota Prado Altitude limited edition range is:

Altitude 4.0-litre V6 petrol: from $68,490

Altitude 3.0-litre turbo-diesel: from $69,490

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Written by

Alistair Kennedy

Published 8 April 2012

Published In

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