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Toyota Kluger GX and GXL 2014 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Prices for the third generation Kluger start from $40,990 for the GX front wheel drive, or $44,990 for the all-wheel drive version.

It's bigger, better equipped and arguably better looking with more room inside. But there's still no sign of a diesel for Toyota's mid-sized offroader the Kluger. In the States they have a hybrid petrol-electric version, but it has not been engineered for right-hand drive.

PRICE / FEATURES

Prices for the third generation Kluger start from $40,990 for the GX front wheel drive, or $44,990 for the all-wheel drive version. Mid-range GXL is 49,990 or $53,990 with all-wheel drive and top of the range Grande is $63,990 or $67,990 with all-wheel drive. Premium paints adds $550 to the cost and that means anything but black.

Standard are seven airbags, a reverse camera, rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, cruise control and airconditioning, plus 6-speaker audio with a 6.1 inch screen and the Toyota Link infotainment system.

In the GX and GXL the new Toyota Link system requires a mobile phone for connectivity and can provide navigation through an app that can be downloaded and installed. Grande features a much larger screen with built-in satnav.

GX and GXL ride on 18 inch alloys, while the Grande steps up to 19s and all are shod with low roll resistance rubber. GXL adds roof rails, tri-zone air, keyless entry and start, 10-way power adjust driver's seat, leather-accented interior and premium steering wheel and shift knob.

Grande gets LED lights with auto high beam, tilt-and-slide sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and DAB+ digital radio. In the back there's second-row sunshades, power-operated tailgate and 9-inch rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray player.

Rear air controls are provided in GX while the GXL and Grande receive three-zone climate controlled airconditioning. Interior noise has been reduced with an acoustic windscreen, plus the use of more sound insulation and new hydraulic engine mounts.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

The V6 puts out 201kW and 337Nm of torque and is paired with a six-speed sequential auto that allows the driver to change gears manually if desired. Fuel economy is a claimed 10.2 or 10.6 litres/100km for the two and all-wheel drive versions. The auto features a flexible lock-up torque converter.

DESIGN

This time around it's built in Indiana in the United States and as such qualifies for a five per cent import tarrif reduction. It's 80mm longer and 15mm wider than before, but has the same 2790mm wheelbase. Seven seats are standard and the third row packs flat into the floor when not required. Smart design sees more shoulder room in the third row and the luggage area has 30 per cent more capacity.

SAFETY

Gets seven airbags and a full suite of safety systems including a reversing camera. Grande acquires some hi-end stuff too like pre-collision warning, auto high beam, active cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot alert.

DRIVING

It's the same V6, twigged to provide better economy and performance. The fuel figures have been pruned by 7.2 per cent in the fronty and 8.6 per cent in the four paw. But in reality it is still likely to use around 13.0 litres/100km which is what we returned in the 200 or so kilometres that we travelled on the launch.

The all-wheel drive system stays predominately front wheel drive unless there is a loss of traction. Performance remains sharp but the real gains are to be found in the new six-speed transmission, a lift from the Aurion in the case of the two-wheel drive.

It's designed to optimise driveability, acceleration feel, shift quality and fuel economy. Shifts are smoother and more intuitive, but at the same time we were suprised to find changing gears sequentially does not engender instant up changes rather it limits the range of gears. Kluger's revised front suspension delivers flatter cornering, coupled with reduced noise, vibration and harshness.

Verdict

Like a fine wine, the Kluger gets better with age but it remains a little thirsty for our liking.

 

Pricing guides

$27,969
Based on 234 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$18,850
Highest Price
$39,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Altitude (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $19,600 – 27,280 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Altitude (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Altitude (FWD) 7 Seat 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $18,900 – 26,290 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Altitude (FWD) 7 Seat Pricing and Specs
Grande (4x2) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $25,300 – 33,550 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Grande (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Grande (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $23,700 – 32,230 2014 Toyota Kluger 2014 Grande (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7