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Toyota Kluger GXL AWD 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the 2014 Toyota Kluger GXL AWD with specs, fuel economy and verdict.

We turn the spotlight on the car world's newest and brightest stars as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. But there's only one question that really needs answering would you buy one?

What is it?

Toyota's biggish seven-seat off-road wagon, although with a two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive and no low range gearing across the board the Kluger's off road exploits will ultimately be limited.

How much?

Prices for Kluger start from $40,990 for the two-wheel drive GX. Our test vehicle, the middle of the range GXL is $53,990 while the top-spec Grandes comes in at $67,520. All prices include an automatic transmission.

What are competitors?

The Ford Territory springs to mind, although even this now comes with the option of a diesel. The Holden Captiva 7 is also worth a look as is the Hyundai Santa Fe and soon to be upgraded Kia Sorento. Then there's the Nissan Pathfinder, Mitsubishi Outlander and maybe even the Mazda CX-9 - the list goes on and on.

What's under the bonnet?

A big thirsty 3.5-litre petrol V6. That's been the problem all along, largely because the car is targeted at the Americans. The V6 produces 201kW and 337Nm, the latter at 4700 revs. Its hooked up to a six speed automatic in this iteration.

How does it go?

It may be thirsty, but the good news is that it goes like a scalded cat. Off the line, up hill and on the flat it will leave most cars in its wake. The all-wheel drive is system is now a torque on demand system instead a full time four-wheel drive arrangement, but can be locked for loose surfaces like dirt roads.

Is it economical?

It has a 72-litre tank and takes standard unleaded. The two-wheel drive is rated at 10.2L/100km and the all-wheel drive at 10.6L/100km. In reality however, it tends to slurp much more than this - we were getting 12.4L/100km after about 500km.

Is it green?

The Kluger gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide, with C02 emissions of 246g/km. Benchmark Prius gets five.

Is it safe?

No problems here. All models get a full five stars for crash safety from ANCAP, with electronic stability control and seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag.

Is it comfortable? 

Finish inside is first rate. It's 80mm longer and 15mm wider than before, with more legroom especially for third row passengers. Kluger has grown over the years from a mid-sized SUV into quite a large wagon. There's plenty of room inside for the entire family, and you won't be rubbing elbows.

What's it like to drive?

It's big, but agile and almost dynamic in some respects. The all-wheel drive system in our test vehicle is 4kg lighter than before, and because its now a part-time system will save fuel in the long run as the rear wheels remain passive unless the system detects a loss of traction.

Is it value for money?

To the standard model the GXL adds roof rails, leather accented seats, three-zone climate-control air, heated front seats, smart entry and start, 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat including lumbar support, premium steering wheel and shift knob.

Verdict

Would we buy one?

If the fuel consumption was not a concern we'd have no hesitation saying yes. Then again you can get a top of the range turbodiesel Santa Fe for the same money - now there's a no brainer.

Pricing Guides

$29,990
Based on 388 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$19,990
Highest Price
$43,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Altitude (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $23,650 – 29,260 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Altitude (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Altitude (FWD) 7 Seat 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $22,770 – 28,050 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Altitude (FWD) 7 Seat Pricing and Specs
Grande (4x2) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $27,990 – 41,400 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Grande (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Grande (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $27,988 – 43,990 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Grande (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7