Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

You are here

Toyota Kluger 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.1
Toyota's Kluger is one-third of Toyota's assault on the seven seat SUV segment, along with the Prado and Fortuner. Between the three cars, Toyota owns a quarter of the big SUV market.

Toyota's Kluger is one-third of Toyota's assault on the seven seat SUV segment, along with the Prado and Fortuner. Between the three cars, Toyota owns a quarter of the big SUV market. That's a lot of cars.

The Kluger has been a mainstay of Toyota's range for well over a decade, forging ahead with the same formula, resisting fashionable swoopy styling or the trend for diesel or downsized engines. It's a classic Toyota - what you see is what you get.

Toyota Kluger 2017: GX (4x2)
Safety rating
Engine Type3.5L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency9.1L/100km
Seating7 seats
Price from$29,488

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   6/10

There are six distinct Toyota Kluger models across three trim levels - GX, GXL and Grande. In each level you get the choice of front or all-wheel drive but the whole range comes with the same eight-speed automatic and a 3.5-litre V6 for motivation.

The steering is light and, occasionally, vague but it suits the character of the car. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The steering is light and, occasionally, vague but it suits the character of the car. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Pricing quoted below is RRP, or MLP as manufacturers prefer us to call it.

All Klugers are fitted with a total of seven seats, reversing camera, front and rear air-conditioning zones, cruise control, three 12 volt power points (two in the front, one in the back), auto headlights, power windows and mirrors, rear parking sensors and rear privacy glass.

The six-speaker sound system arrives with AM/FM radio and CD player with bluetooth and USB. In the GX the stereo is powered by Toyota's familiar ho-hum media software allied to a 6.1-inch touchscreen. In the GXL and Grande, add sat nav and an 8.0-inch screen, but using the same software.

So, how much will you pay? The price range starts at $43,550 for the GX front-wheel drive (FWD) vs $47,550 for the all-wheel drive (AWD). They're identically specified.

The GXL and Grande trim levels add sat nav and an 8.0-inch screen, but use the same software. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The GXL and Grande trim levels add sat nav and an 8.0-inch screen, but use the same software. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Moving up the price list means you arrive at the GXL. For FWD you'll pay $53,550 and $57,550 for the AWD. 

Compared with the GX, the GXL spec level adds GPS navigation with SUNA traffic updates, the bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen, DAB+ digital radio, keyless entry and start and an electric driver's seat. You also get partial leather seats, the front ones heated.

The Grande starts at $65,935 for the FWD and $69,906 for the AWD. To the GXL spec add 19-inch alloys, sunroof, front parking sensors, around-view camera, window shades for rear seat passengers, plus heated and cooled front seats. Finally, a suite of safety gear which includes front collision warning, blind spot monitoring, reverse cross traffic alert, AEB, lane departure warning and reversing guides.

  • The GX and GXL miss out on the Grande's heated and cooled front seats. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The GX and GXL miss out on the Grande's heated and cooled front seats. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • Head and legroom are scarce in the third row, but not any worse than most in the segment. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Head and legroom are scarce in the third row, but not any worse than most in the segment. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

You have a choice of nine colours - Eclipse Black, Cosmos Blue, Rustic Brown, Rainforest Green, Predawn Grey, Deep Red, Merlot Red, Silver Storm and White Pearl. Helpfully, all those names actually describe the colour. Only one of those colours is a freebie (black), the rest cost $550 extra.

How practical is the space inside?   9/10

The Kluger's is one of the most thoughtfully laid-out cabins in the class for getting people and their stuff in, the generous interior dimensions giving Toyota's designers plenty to work with. 

  • Interior boot space starts at 195 litres with all seats in play. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Interior boot space starts at 195 litres with all seats in play. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • Tumble the seats forward and the capacity grows to 1900 litres. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Tumble the seats forward and the capacity grows to 1900 litres. (GXL AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Front seat passengers sit on a pair of high-set thrones with two cupholders, bottle holders in each door and a huge 24-litre centre console with a sliding tray. A small dog could ride along in the centre console... and I'm not joking. 

The dash is also split open by a shelf, lined with soft material, so your phone, keys, wallet and glasses have somewhere to go and won't rattle around.

Rear seat passengers have a sliding 60/40 bench seat, two cupholders in the centre armrest and bottle holders in each door, along with their own air-conditioning zone (GX) or climate control zone (GXL and Grande).

Finally, the third row folds 50/50, is easily accessible with a single action lever to tilt and slide the middle row out of the way. Those trapped back there can luxuriate with four cupholders. Head and legroom are scarce, but not any worse than most in the segment.

  • There are three trim levels across the Kluger range, the GX, GXL and Grande. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) There are three trim levels across the Kluger range, the GX, GXL and Grande. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • Each trim level is offered with either front or all-wheel drive. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Each trim level is offered with either front or all-wheel drive. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • A 3.5-litre V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission powers the entire Kluger range. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) A 3.5-litre V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission powers the entire Kluger range. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

The full-size spare tyre is slung underneath and outside so you can get at it without pulling everything out of the car. Toyota has rather thoughtfully put a plastic cover around it to reduce the amount of grime it might collect.

Interior boot space starts at 195 litres with all seats in play, expanding to a minimum of 529 litres with the rear seats folded. 

Tip the middle row's seatbacks forward and you're up to a fairly conservative 1117 litres. If you fill it to the headlining, bank on around 1900 litres.

The Kluger's exterior dimensions mean it might be a challenge for an inner-city garage - 4.89m long, 1.96m wide and and 1.73 metres tall. Despite that not-insignificant length, the turning circle is a reasonable 11.8m

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Kluger is typical Toyota - understated, doesn't shout about itself. The Kluger is a high-rider, with a 200mm ground clearance only telling part of the story. From the front, the big, full depth grille makes it an imposing presence, the big headlights sweeping up to further increase the impression of height.

The side profile is entirely conventional, with squared-off wheel arches filled with 18 or 19-inch wheels depending on grade. The big doors and a gently rising glass line make the cabin look huge.

  • The Grande adds lane departure warning, sway control, auto emergency braking, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and auto high beam. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The Grande adds lane departure warning, sway control, auto emergency braking, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and auto high beam. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • Some of the safety features on the Grande aren't even options in the GX or GXL, which is disappointing. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Some of the safety features on the Grande aren't even options in the GX or GXL, which is disappointing. (Grande AWD spec shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

The roof doesn't drop away, meaning good headroom for the first two rows. The tailgate is almost upright, maximising space and keeping the glass away from the third row.

The rear is probably the most Toyota angle one can imagine, with big blocky taillights reminiscent of the RAV4.

It's a well-finished exterior, but completely lacking in flourish like the Hyundai Santa Fe or Euro-chic like the Mazda CX-9.

The cabin is from the same school of the thought. Generic but beautifully put together, the interior will take a good hammering. Everything is clear, well laid-out and made for real humans to be in rather than look at.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

Engine specifications are identical across the range, Toyota's 2GR-FKS does duty under the bonnet. It's a 3.5-litre V6 with 218kW of power and 350Nm of torque, with a choice between 4 wheel drive and front-wheel drive. An eight speed automatic puts the power through both all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive versions. There is no manual transmission option, nor is there a diesel or LPG version.

Toyota's 2GR-FKS with 218kW and 350Nm does duty under the bonnet. (image credit: Peter Anderson) Toyota's 2GR-FKS with 218kW and 350Nm does duty under the bonnet. (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Instead of a timing belt, the V6 uses a timing chain to avoid any surprise breakages or costly scheduled belt replacements 

Towing capacity specs are the same for all, with 700kg for unbraked trailers and 2000kg braked. We're yet to perform a towing review for the Kluger.

Few of the Kluger's competitors can boast an engine size this big. The V6 seems a sturdy unit, with no widespread reported engine problems. The eight-speed automatic is called 'Direct Shift' and there are as yet no common reports of transmission problems.

There is no manual transmission option, nor is there a diesel or LPG version. (GX 2WD spec shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson) There is no manual transmission option, nor is there a diesel or LPG version. (GX 2WD spec shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Weight differs slightly between the versions - GX and GXL two-wheel drivers tip the scales at 1980kg while the AWD adds 45kg to take it to 2025kg. Grandes are separated by 75 kilos, with the 2WD coming in at 2025kg and the 4WD at 2100kg.

Kluger V6s swallow standard mineral motor oil, no need for synthetic.

0-100 acceleration times are around nine seconds across the range.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Toyota claims fuel consumption figures of 9.1L/100km for the 2WD GX and GXL and 9.3 for the Grande front-driver. For the all-paw GX and GXL the claimed figure is 9.5L/100km for all three spec levels. Both official mileage figures are an improvement on the 10.6L/100km for the 2015 model AWD and 10.2L/100km for the FWD.

Our most recent GX FWD test yielded 13.1L/100km. With a fuel tank capacity of 72 litres, that works out at a range of just under 550km to a bone-dry tank. Slightly better was our time with the GXL AWD, which yielded 11.7L/100km (including two long highway runs) and the Grande AWD returned 11.6L/100km in our hands.

  • Weight differs slightly between the versions - GX and GXL two-wheel drivers tip the scales at 1980kg, while the AWD adds 45kg. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) Weight differs slightly between the versions - GX and GXL two-wheel drivers tip the scales at 1980kg, while the AWD adds 45kg. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • 0-100 acceleration times are around nine seconds across the range. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) 0-100 acceleration times are around nine seconds across the range. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • The Kluger's thirst is somewhat tempered by the fact it's more than happy to consume standard unleaded. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The Kluger's thirst is somewhat tempered by the fact it's more than happy to consume standard unleaded. (GX variant shown.) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Fuel economy doesn't seem to be a gripe with owners but does seem quite variable depending on usage. A heavy right foot will send the figure into the mid-teens.

The Kluger's thirst is somewhat tempered by the fact it's more than happy to consume standard unleaded.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

The Kluger's suspension tune is definitely more about comfort around town and on the freeway than it is about excitement or, heaven forbid, off-road shenanigans. The V6 is powerful and smooth on road, while off-road performance might be hampered slightly by a lack of low-down torque. But really, nobody is buying a Kluger to go rock-hopping - the Prado and Fortuner are better bets for that kind of tomfoolery.

  • The GX gets Toyota's familiar ho-hum media software allied to a 6.1-inch touchscreen. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The GX gets Toyota's familiar ho-hum media software allied to a 6.1-inch touchscreen. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • It's a clear, well laid-out interior made for real humans to be in rather than look at. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson) It's a clear, well laid-out interior made for real humans to be in rather than look at. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson)
  • The roof doesn't drop away, meaning good headroom for for the first two rows. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson) The roof doesn't drop away, meaning good headroom for for the first two rows. (GX 2WD variant shown) (image credit: Peter Anderson)

Off-road ability in the AWD models is modest but capable. Downhill ascent control, diff lock and snow modes are fitted to help with the loose and wet stuff, but deep bumpers front and rear will keep you from getting too ambitious. The quoted approach angle is 18 degrees with a departure of 23.1 - hardly world-beating.

The Kluger is all about tarmac. The steering is light and, occasionally, vague but it suits the character of the car. The engine is a very distant whirr, wind noise is practically non-existent and road noise a barely perceptible rumble. The new eight-speed transmission is pretty good at picking the right gear for every occasion and quickly skips to the best gear to help rein in consumption.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The Kluger scored a five star ANCAP safety rating in March 2014, the highest available.

Both GX and GXL have the same seven airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

The Grande adds lane departure warning, sway control, auto emergency braking, forward collision alert, rear cross traffic alert and auto high beam. These aren't available even as options in the GX or GXL, which is disappointing.

There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether child seat anchors for the middle row. The rear row does not have seatbelt warnings.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

Like all Toyotas, the Kluger comes with a three year/100,000km warranty and a fixed price servicing plan will set you back $1080 for the recommended six month/10,000km visits over the first three years, which is very good value, especially considering the service intervals are tighter than most of its rivals.

Roadside assist is included for the first year in case you run into any problems, but given Toyota's reputation for reliability, you're unlikely to meed it.

Reining in the service costs partly offsets the upfront cost of the Kluger.

An internet search yielded little in the way of complaints against the Kluger, with no widespread faults or issues.

As you can imagine, the resale value for the Kluger is strong. The third-gen was introduced in 2014 when a GX cost $40,990 and a top-spec Grande AWD cost $67,520. Selling a GX privately will net you between 70 and 76 percent of its price when new, with dealers offering between 58 and 64 percent. Values seem about the same for GXL and Grande, remembering that these older cars have a little less power and two fewer gears in comparison to the 2017 model.

Verdict

The Kluger has plenty of space for your cargo of people and luggage, a strong V6 petrol engine, Toyota's bulletproof reputation and, of course, high quality fit and finish. It holds an almost unassailable sales lead over its competition, most of whom are quite a bit cheaper and/or better-equipped. The Kluger clearly hits all the right buttons with its buyers.

We reckon the GX is the pick of the range. Moving up to the GXL costs $10,000 more and brings little to the party that's especially useful. You'll have to spend almost $23,000 more to nab the safety gear sorely lacking in the GX and GXL models. Worse, there aren't even LED or xenon headlights options available, a better stereo or the sorts of things you expect as you swing further up the range.

Everything that's good about the Kluger is in the GX - it's quiet, rides beautifully and does what it's supposed to do - get you from here to there without fuss, and do it for many, many years.

Pricing Guides

$36,980
Based on 653 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$29,488
Highest Price
$59,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Grande (4x2) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $45,988 – 53,990 2017 TOYOTA KLUGER 2017 Grande (4x2) Pricing and Specs
Grande (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $43,990 – 55,990 2017 TOYOTA KLUGER 2017 Grande (4x4) Pricing and Specs
GX (4x2) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $30,588 – 35,990 2017 TOYOTA KLUGER 2017 GX (4x2) Pricing and Specs
GX (4x4) 3.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $32,960 – 41,500 2017 TOYOTA KLUGER 2017 GX (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.1
Price and features6
Practicality9
Design7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety7
Ownership7
Peter Anderson
Contributing journalist

Share