Toyota has continued its release of special Altitude packages with the introduction of a special edition Kluger SUV Altitude. Features that Toyota tells us are valued at over $9000 have been added to the Kluger.
It’s available in two-wheel drive with a recommended retail price that starts at $44,490, the four-wheel drive begins at $48,990. This is only $1300 more than the price of the seven-seat Kluger KX-R on which the Altitude is based.
Major additional items are a tilt-and-slide moonroof; satellite navigation that incorporates traffic updates and 3D images on its 6.1-inch LCD touch screen; and a rear entertainment system using a nine-inch screen mounted in the roof and three wireless headsets.
The Altitude’s audio system includes Bluetooth streaming for compatible smart phones and MP3s, phonebook and SMS message access, voice recognition, SMS text-to-voice. Inputs include a SD card slot, USB, and iPod control.
Alloy wheels have 19-inch rims and 245/55 tyres as fitted on the top-grade Toyota Kluger Grande. Other external changes include black roof rails and front foglamps. There’s an Altitude badge on the tailgate.
Kluger's safety package includes seven airbags and driver assist technologies such as vehicle stability and traction control, Hill-start Assist Control and, on the all-wheel drive version, Downhill Assist Control.
Kluger Altitude has three rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. The split-fold second-row seat has a removable centre seat. The second row seat can have legroom that’s almost limo like, and shoulder room that’s better than in any limousine saloon. Best of all is the completely flat floor in this area.
The independent seats in the second row slide backwards and forwards depending on how much passenger/luggage space you require. Toyota’s Kluger is slightly smaller than the Toyota LandCruiser and Toyota Prado and is a major player in the ever expanding soft-roader market.
Power for the Toyota Kluger is provided by a 3.5-litre petrol unit that produces 201 kilowatts. Peak torque of 337 Newton metres isn’t reached until 4700 revs, but there’s strong build up to those figures so there’s good grunt from about 2000 onwards. It’s a pleasant, easy going engine to sit behind.
Kluger’s on-road comfort is very good and it’s an excellent people mover. A bonus of the 2WD version is that it’s lighter than the 4WD, giving it slightly better performance and/or making it more economical at the same time. Handling of the Kluger on-road is better than average for the class. Though not to the standard of a passenger car in the way it reacts, it corners in a safe and predictable manner and will provide the aforementioned family with a smooth quiet ride.
Away from sealed roads the limiting factor in the Toyota Kluger isn’t traction, which is pretty good for a softroader, but restricted ground clearance. This sits about halfway between that of a normal 4WD and a passenger car. On gentle off-road excursions the Kluger should look after a driver with no real off-road experience, and can tackle reasonably harsh conditions in the hands of an expert.
Toyota’s ability to produce a variety of SUVs has been further expanded by this special edition Kluger Altitude. It’s likely to sell out pretty quickly so if you’re halfway interested hesitation could mean you miss out.
Toyota Kluger Altitude
Price: from $44,490 (FWD), $48,990 (4WD)
Engine: 3.5L six-cylinder petrol, 201kW/337Nm
Transmission: 5-speed auto, FWD or 4WD