Toyota Prado 4WD received a major upgrade in 2013, and is now a significantly improved 4WD from the company that dominates this field in Australia.
DESIGN / STYLING
Toyota’s stylists have made major changes to Prado’s looks inside and out. The designers have improved seating access at the same time. Toyota recognised the limitations of access to the third row of seats, so increased the forward folding angle of the second row seats for easier entry and exit to the third row.
The latest Toyota Prado has a bolder front, with a grille that really stands out because the five bars are embedded on the top of the bumper. Sounds like an expensive job if something does get damaged. However, the new grille and restyled headlamps sit higher on the vehicle and are further from harms way when off-road.
The revised Prado’s interior has a new audio panel above the 7-inch full colour screen. There’s satellite navigation on VX and Kakadu. Prado GX gets manual air conditioning while the others have dual-zone air conditioning.
Prado GX comes standard as a five-seater, with the option of seven seats. The extra seats come standard in the Prado GX and Prado VX as well as in the topline Kakadu.
Toyota Prado VX and Kakadu get LED headlights and daytime running lights. Their tail light clusters have also been revised. The Prado GX and GXL models get 17-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels while VX and Kakadu get 18-inch, 12-spoke alloys.
The Prado Kakadu also has a forward looking wide-angle camera with images showing on the 7-inch screen that gives a front-of-bonnet view of what's ahead. Prado has seven airbags, stability and traction control, an emergency brake signal that automatically flashes the stop lights to warn other motorists and a rear view camera.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Engines remain the same with 202kW of power from the 4.0-litre petrol V6, or a 127kW 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel with a useful 410Nm of torque over a good spread of revs. Unusually in these times, Toyota Prado GX and GXL come with a six-speed manual transmission, a five-speed sequential auto is an option. Prado VX and Kakadu come standard with the automatic transmission.
During a week’s testing we found it enjoyable to drive both on-road and off, though, as is usually the case there was a lot more of the former than the latter. There are a host of ways that the drive experience is made very easy, whether on or off road, or even towing. Trailer sway control assists the driver if a towed vehicle becomes unsettled by crosswinds, sharp change of direction or bumpy roads.
The Kakadu has a sophisticated 4WD system with off-road settings for: rock; mogul; loose rock; mud and sand, and (new for this upgrade) rock and dirt. The latter gives more traction control on slippery rocks when ascending hills.
VX and Kakadu models use a different Australian-developed suspension system to the GX and GXL, with an emphasis in the former on providing more comfort than the working models. This new model has an improved version of the technology which benefits handling stability and ride comfort with smoother front-rear weight transfer during cornering. The system enables the stabiliser bars to loosen for off-road work giving longer wheel articulation and then tightens the bars for smoother turning on-road.
Prado has been a huge seller for Toyota Australia for many years. It provides and unusual combination of off-road ability with reasonable on-road comfort. Meaning it’s way ahead of the typical crossover when it comes to providing transport for the adventurous Aussie families.
Makes life easy, and is bound to make easy sales for Toyota.