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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2021 review: Kakadu

The Toyota Landcruiser Prado Kakadu now comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

The great Aussie road trip has become more of a reality this year than ever, which means a large SUV with off road capabilities is suddenly looking even more attractive. 

Enter the 2021 Toyota LandCruiser Prado, a seven-seat 4WD SUV that will fit the whole family. I test drove the Prado Kakadu for a full two weeks. It’s the top of the range Prado, costs $87,030 before on road costs and extras, and competes with cars like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Land Rover Discovery and Ford Everest.  

To give it a proper test and in the spirit of the family road trip, I drove it right up to northern NSW with my family of four. 

 

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✅ How does it look?

The exterior of the Prado really explains its purpose. It’s a muscled up hunk of machinery that you can take practically anywhere. Kind of like the car version of Channing Tatum, but a little less good looking. It positively screams strength, and sports a rather dated square-ish shape that actually suits the functionality of this car. 

The exterior of the Prado really explains its purpose. The exterior of the Prado really explains its purpose.

As this is the top spec, the interiors look much more luxe than you’d expect for a large 4WD. There are leather accented seats that are power adjustable, heated, and ventilated up front, and a premium, wood-look steering wheel that I can attest is comfortable even when driving for hours.

As this is the top spec, the interiors look much more luxe than you’d expect for a large 4WD. As this is the top spec, the interiors look much more luxe than you’d expect for a large 4WD.

There’s a modern, well designed centre console area and everything is within hands reach. 

 

✅ What’s the tech like?

The multimedia screen is now a good 9.0-inches and is nicely integrated into the dash which looks great, but most importantly the Prado now finally comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The multimedia screen is now a good 9.0-inches and is nicely integrated into the dash. The multimedia screen is now a good 9.0-inches and is nicely integrated into the dash.

This makes such a big difference every day, and especially when you’re taking a long road trip because you can so easily navigate with your maps app. I alternated between listening to music and podcasts via a streaming app. 

When I went away in January this year it was in a car that didn’t have CarPlay, and there is a big difference without it because you know how easy the tech could be. It’s been Toyota’s only sticking point in models of previous years so the fact that the LandCruiser Prado now has the latest in tech is a big deal. 

There’s also a screen for rear seat entertainment in this spec, and it came with headphones so the kids could watch something while we listened to something else. Invest in some DVDs and you can’t go wrong. 

There’s also a screen for rear seat entertainment in this spec. There’s also a screen for rear seat entertainment in this spec.

 

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

There’s a step to get up into the car which is super useful. The front seats are power adjustable, heated and cooling and the middle row is also heated. There’s a full size spare tyre on the outside of the boot which means the boot opens sideways - no big deal if you’re on a road trip, but if you’re in Westfield you’ll have to drive nose first into parks. 

There’s a full size spare tyre on the outside of the boot. There’s a full size spare tyre on the outside of the boot.

The storage was particularly helpful with two cupholders in the front, a small slot to hold your phone, plus a large cooled centre storage bin that we found extremely useful as we were travelling for a while and snacks for the kids could be kept cold on the road. Plus there are bottle holders in each door. 

There are two cupholders each in the second and third rows, and my kids used the pockets on the backs of the front seat to store iPads and puzzle books. 

The pockets on the backs of the front seat are useful storage for kids. The pockets on the backs of the front seat are useful storage for kids.

One thing that is lacking is the number of USB ports. There’s one in the front … and that’s it, but there is a 12-volt point in the front and the middle which you can plug an adaptor in. There’s also a standard power outlet in the boot, but that's not ideal when you're on the move with your family and all their stuff.

There’s also tri-zone climate control in this car and the children liked being in charge of their own air. 

 

✅ How spacious is it?

Space in the front is good, there’s enough leg and head room to sit for hours on end even for tall people, it feels very spacious inside the cabin.

My children, aged 7 and 9, also had loads of room in the back, they fit in here quite comfortably with a large backpack each that housed their entertainment for the road and a pillow across the middle armrest for sleeping. 

There is a third row in this Prado, though we didn’t need it over these two weeks it is a great thing to have if you’ve got more children, obviously, but also as spare back seats during school or sporting activities, being able to drive around other kids is a good thing - sometimes. 

The back row is spacious as far as third rows go, and you can move the middle row forward to give the back more leg room if you need it.

The back row is spacious as far as third rows go. The back row is spacious as far as third rows go.

With the third row in use there is 104 litres of cargo space which is enough for some grocery bags or school bags. With the third row down (553L boot capacity), which is how I used it, we managed to fit in two weeks worth of gear, including a number of suitcases, an esky, beach bags, inflatables and more. 

  • With the third row down there is a 553L boot capacity. With the third row down there is a 553L boot capacity.
  • With the third row down there is a 553L boot capacity. With the third row down there is a 553L boot capacity.

You’ll also get a double pram in here easily. 

 

✅ How does it drive?

Driving on the open road is a lot different to driving around suburbia, but the Prado Kakadu handled both quite well. It’s got a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine - which has been upgraded with a bit more oomph for 2021 (now 150kW/500Nm) - and it has good power, so you can get up hills easily. It has enough kick to overtake when you need to on highways. 

I found it travelled best in Sport S+ mode. It was a lot smoother in this mode when going high speeds on long roads, and without it it felt a little less sure of itself. So if you’re doing things like going to work or on the school run stick to eco mode, but if you’re on a long journey, indulge in Sport S+. I think it uses more fuel, but it’s worth it.

The Prado Kakadu has a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine. The Prado Kakadu has a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine.

It’s a 4WD so it has better traction on loose surfaces and there’s more info on this in an Adventure review on the CarsGuide website.

I do think it handles like a big car - it’s not very agile and the steering is not super precise. It feels heavy on the take off also. You can feel the bulk of the car as soon as you get behind the wheel.  

The Prado Kakadu handles like a big car - it’s not very agile and the steering is not super precise. The Prado Kakadu handles like a big car - it’s not very agile and the steering is not super precise.

You get used to this the more you drive it but you always feel it when parking. Leave enough room and you’ll get in the park fine, but it has a very low res reverse parking camera that blacks out some areas for some strange reason, and it has a 360-degree surround view but it’s all quite blurry. If you were going to request improvements for next year, this would be near the top of the list. 

 

✅ How safe is it?

Safety is comprehensive in the Prado Kakadu, with things like lane departure alert, active / radar cruise control, auto emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. 

There are seven airbags and they include rear curtain airbags that extend to the back row. 

There are two ISOFIX points in the second row, and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely - no child seat anchor points are fitted to the third row. The Prado scored a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested - but that was way back in 2011. 

✅ How much does it cost to own?

The Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu 2021 model costs $87,030 before on road costs and extras. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.9L/100km and we did an average of 10.6L/100km with both highway and suburban driving. 

The Prado has a five-year/unlimited km warranty. The Prado has a five-year/unlimited km warranty.

The Prado has a five-year/unlimited km warranty (extendable to seven years for powertrain if serviced on time), and servicing is required every six months/10,000km - more regular than most SUVs.

 


The Wrap

The 2021 Toyota Prado Kakadu is a pretty fab family car that comfortably fit my family of four over a two-week road trip. While it’s not my favourite car to drive on a long journey, it does feel safe and has all the features you want when travelling hundreds of kilometres. It’s got good tech thanks to the media screen upgrade, and feels stylish and comfortable enough to drive. 

I gave it a family rating of 8 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same. They loved the idea of having a screen to watch movies - even though we didn’t use it!

Likes

Interior space
Practical features
Now with Carplay and Auto!

Dislikes

Not great driving if not in Sport S+ on the open road
Lack of refinement
Price

Scores

Nedahl:

4

The Kids:

4

$87,030

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.