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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado


BMW X5

Summary

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

The heavily updated Toyota LandCruiser Prado range sees some big changes for 2018, with a new look, updated interior and added equipment across most models in the range.

The good news for buyers is that prices are lower across the line-up, with reductions of between $600 and $1200 depending on the variant. That should be enough to see it retain its spot at the top of many customers’ shopping lists – it sure as hell can’t do much wrong on the sales charts, where its easily the best-seller in the large SUV segment. 

And with four trim levels available to choose from, each offering new kit and lower pricing, buyers are undoubtedly better off with the Toyota Prado 2018 model range. But has it improved over the previous model? And which is the one you should be looking at?

Read on, and we’ll figure it out together.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.8L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency8L/100km
Seating5 seats

BMW X5

Can you believe it’s been nearly two and a half years since the fourth-generation BMW X5 went on sale? Buyers clearly have short memories, though, because the first X model BMW ever unleashed on the world is still the best-seller in its large SUV segment.

Try as the Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volvo XC90 and Lexus RX might, but the X5 simply cannot be dethroned.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, there’s no better way to find out than to take a detailed look at the X5’s volume-selling xDrive30d variant. Read on.

Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.2L/100km
Seating5 seats

Verdict

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado7.5/10

The updated 2018 Toyota LandCruiser Prado might not have needed to see changes in order to remain the biggest-selling large SUV on the Australian market, but the facelifted model has seen the Prado take some steps forward to keep it on the shopping lists of buyers looking for family-focused SUVs with a breadth of ability. 

It looks better and is better value – and there is one model that seemingly stands apart as the best buy of the bunch: the GXL. It’s just a shame it can’t be had with the extra safety kit of the VX and Kakadu models.

What spec Prado would you buy? Let us know in the comments section below.


BMW X58.5/10

There is no doubt that BMW seriously stepped up its game with the fourth-generation X5, raising its levels of luxury and technology, all the way to that of the flagship 7 Series.

The X5’s mix of imposing looks and relatively well sorted dynamics is complemented by the xDrive30d’s brilliant engine and transmission.

It’s no surprise, then, that the X5 continues to be its best in xDrive30d form. There really is no need to consider any other variant.

Design

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado8/10

The facelifted version of the Toyota LandCruiser Prado undoubtedly takes the boxy off-roader and makes it more appealing to the majority of consumers. It is, dare I say it, good looking now.

 

That certainly is the case for the exterior of the Kakadu model you see here, with its brilliant LED headlights and DRLs, which look so much better than the old dot-matrix numbers in the pre-facelift car. The new shape of the headlights accentuates the width of the Prado, as does the new grille treatment.

And while nothing has changed if you look at it from side-on (aside from different wheel designs), the Prado somehow looks more muscular than it did. The tail-lights have black surrounds which helps, and the rear door has been neatened up a touch, too. 

While you get a rear spoiler on all Prado models, you have to spend up on the VX or Kakadu to get side steps. And if you want a body kit, you’ll have to look up eBay’s UAE sellers.

The interior design has seen a big workover, with a new centre stack and media interface, new steering wheels and other refinements. But the interior dimensions haven’t changed, because the size hasn’t either: check out our interior images to get a better idea.

This is a facelift done right. And this writer in particular thinks the flat tailgate version looks even smarter again.


BMW X59/10

Few SUVs are as imposing as the X5 xDrive30d. Simply put, it commands attention on the road, or even from across the road. Or a mile away.

The sense of commanding presence starts at the front, where the first signs of its sports body kit are. As impressive as the trio of large air intakes is, it’s the engorged version of BMW’s signature kidney grille that gets people talking. It’s simply appropriately sized for a vehicle this big, if you ask me.

The adaptive LED headlights integrate hexagon-style daytime running lights, which look the business, while the LED foglights below also help to light the way.

Around the side, the X5 xDrive30d is also pretty slick, with our test vehicle’s optional bi-colour 22-inch alloy wheels ($3900) filling its wheelarches nicely, with blue brake callipers tucked behind. The ‘air curtains’ also look sporty alongside the high-gloss Shadow Line trim.

At the rear, the X5’s three-dimensional LED tail-lights look superb, combining with the flat tailgate to deliver a strong impression. Then there’s the chunky bumper, with dual exhaust tailpipes and a diffuser insert. Not bad at all.

Step inside the X5 xDrive30d and you’d be excused for thinking that you’re in the wrong BMW. Yes, it could very well be a body-double for the 7 Series luxury sedan. In fact, in many ways, it’s just as luxurious as BMW's flagship model.

Granted our test vehicle had optional Walknappa leather upholstery covering its upper dashboard and door shoulders ($2100) , but even without that it is still a seriously premium affair.

Vernasca leather upholstery is the X5 xDrive30d’s standard choice for seats, armrests and door inserts, while soft-touch materials are pretty much found everywhere else. Yep, even on the door bins.

The ambience is further heightened by the Anthracite headliner and ambient lighting, which makes things feel even sportier.

Speaking of which, while it might be a large SUV, the X5 xDrive30d still has a genuinely sporty side, as exhibited by its chunky steering wheel, supportive front seats and grippy sports pedals. They all make it feel that bit more special.

The X5 also has cutting-edge technology, highlighted by the pair of sharp 12.3-inch displays; one being the central touchscreen, the other a digital instrument cluster.

Both are powered by the now-familiar BMW OS 7.0 multimedia system, which was a stark departure from its predecessor in terms of layout and functionality. But that’s no bad thing, as it still raises the stakes, especially with its always-on voice control.

Users will also be stoked by this set-up’s seamless support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the former connecting with ease upon re-entry, although it does consistently dropout if the iPhone involved is placed in the cubby directly beneath the dash...

That said, the instrument cluster is fully digital, having abandoned the physical rings of its forbear, but it looks dim and still lacks the breadth of functionality that some rivals offer.

And let’s not forget the brilliant windshield-projected head-up display, which is large and crisp, giving you few reasons to look away from the road ahead.

Practicality

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado7/10

The revisions to the dashboard are really quite nice. In the lower-spec versions there is more storage space in front of the shifter, while higher-spec models, like the Kakadu you see here, have a smaller little caddy (big enough for a wallet) because the stack has all the serious off-road controls – check out the Prado interior pictures attached for a better idea.

Even so, every Prado has good storage options on offer: you will find more than one cupholder to suffice – in fact, there are cupholders in the first, second and third rows, and holsters for bottles in all four doors. The higher-spec models have a cooled/refrigerated centre console area, which is great to keep your drinks chilled on longer trips. 

Of course the entry-grade GX with five seats is a better bet if you need the ultimate in luggage capacity, rated at 640 litres, and there’s a cargo cover (plus you could fit a cargo barrier if you wanted to) – well and truly better than the 480L in the seven-seat model.

Because the vast majority of Prado models are seven-seaters, the measurement with seven seats in use is 120L – small by class standards. If you need more boot space, you could consider adding roof racks to the rails on GXL, VX and Kakadu models. The flat tailgate setup available on those variants includes a very practical opening tailgate glass, which makes putting shopping bags in even easier, especially in tight parking spaces.

While the GXL and VX feature very simple third-row seat operation, the electric seats in the Kakadu are daft. They take more than 10 seconds to raise or lower completely, and – like many of the Prado’s electronic items – the controller beeps every time you use it. And that’s really, really annoying. One nice counterpoint is a 220-volt powerpoint in the boot in high-spec models.

In terms of space, adults will be able to comfortably slot in the second row seating and allow enough space behind them for smaller adults or children. The back row isn’t the roomiest place, but for adults – even taller ones – it is definitely bearable for short trips. Headroom is good throughout the cabin, and legroom in the second row is pretty good, too.

For customers with kids, there are dual ISOFIX seats in the second row, and three top-tether points as well. There are air-vents to all three rows (in seven-seat models) but entry-grade models will need those up front to control the climate for those in the back.

The 8.0-inch media system is typical Toyota – that is to say, it’s reasonably easy to use but the on-screen buttons are a bit small, and it certainly doesn’t set any new standards. There is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, and the Bluetooth system – while easy to connect and reasonably clever at reconnecting – requires the car to be at a standstill to search contact lists and operate the pairing function: that may sound like a safety feature, but what if your child or partner wants to connect their phone on the move? It’s a fail.

It may also be worth noting for those parents out there with device-addicted children that the Prado only has one USB Port. I reckon it’s a bit of a miss, especially for the Kakadu: I mean a Blu-ray player might have been okay five years ago, but times have changed, and kids are very much about BYO device, these days.


BMW X59/10

Measuring 4922mm long (with a 2975mm wheelbase), 2004mm wide and 1745mm, the X5 xDrive30d is a large SUV in every sense of the term, so it’s no surprise that it does practicality very well.

The boot’s cargo capacity is generous, at 650L, but it can be expanded to a very helpful 1870L with the 40/20/40 split-fold rear bench stowed – an action that can be taken via the boot’s manual-release latches.

The split power-operated tailgate ensures that access to the wide and flat rear storage area couldn’t be any easier. And there are four tie-down points and a 12V power outlet on hand.

There are plenty of genuine in-cabin storage options, too, with both the glovebox and central bin on the larger side, while the front door bins can carry a stunning four regular bottles. And don’t worry; their rear counterparts can take three apiece.

Better yet, two cupholders are located at the front of the centre console, while the second row’s fold-down armrest has a pair of pop-out cupholders as well as a shallow tray with a lid.

The latter joins the small driver's side cubby and the two trays at the rear of the centre console as the most random storage spaces on hand, while map pockets are attached to the front seat backrests, which integrate USB-C ports.

Speaking of the front seats, sitting behind them, it becomes apparent how much space there is inside the X5 xDrive30d, with oodles of legroom available behind our 184cm driving position. We also have about an inch of headroom, even with the panoramic sunroof fitted.

What’s really impressive is how well the second row accommodates three adults abreast. There’s enough room on offer that a fully grown trio could go on a long journey with few complaints, partly thanks to the almost non-existent transmission tunnel.

Child seats are also easy to fit, thanks to the three top-tether and two ISOFIX anchorage points, as well as the generous aperture of the rear doors.

Connectivity-wise, there’s a wireless smartphone charger, a USB-A port and a 12V power outlet ahead of the aforementioned front cupholders, while a USB-C port is found in the central bin. Rear occupants also get a 12V power outlet below their central air vents.

Price and features

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado8/10

Yes, there have been price drops across the model line-up, but there are also much more affordable alternatives to the Prado if what you want is a rugged, off-roadable seven-seat SUV with a diesel engine and good towing ability.

Those competitors, clearly, are the likes of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Isuzu MU-X, Holden Trailblazer and – to a lesser extent because it’s a bit expensive – the Ford Everest. Even the Toyota Fortuner could be considered a more affordable alternative.

But the Prado is bigger than those models, and some would argue more comfort-focused, too. For the most part, I’d be one of those people – the Prado can be surprisingly comfortable, depending on the spec you choose – but we’ll get to that later.

Let’s run through the variants: GX vs GXL vs VX vs Kakadu, a sort of models comparison. I don’t just put a price list with how much each will cost, but rather run through the recommended retail price (plus on-road costs) of the models in the range. You can check out the Toyota site for a drive-away price

The GX model is the entry-grade variant with a manufacturer’s list price of $53,490 – that’s before on-road costs, and that’s $600 less than before. 

How many seats in the GX? It’s a five-seat model, but if you choose the automatic version (priced at $56,490) you also get the option of a seven-seat layout, but that adds a further $2550 to the price. 

Standard inclusions: lane departure warning, a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection, auto high-beam lights, and automatic cruise control – that’s only on the auto model, though - the manual misses out. The manual also misses out on the 'electroluminescent combimeter with colour multi-information display', or driver info screen. You do get cruise control, even on the manual.

The GX comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry (smart key) and push-button start, an 8.0-inch touch screen media system with reversing camera and satellite navigation/GPS  (with live traffic updates for the navigation system), Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB connectivity and a nine-speaker sound system. It has radio and a CD player, too. There’s no DVD player, and you can’t get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, either. 

The next model up the range is the GXL, which comes with seven seats as standard, but can be had as a manual (from $59,990) or automatic ($62,990). Price drops for the GXL model equate to $1200. 

It gets a bunch of worthwhile extra equipment over the base model, including LED headlights (a big improvement), LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps, and lamps in the sun-visors. There’s also the addition of privacy glass, roof rails, side steps, a leather-lined steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, and a rear diff lock (auto only).

The GXL can be had with what Toyota is labelling a 'premium interior', which adds $3500 to the price and includes leather-accented seat trim, ventilated front seats with power adjustment, and heated front and second-row seats. Sounds like money well spent to me.

The third rung up the ladder in the 2018 Toyota Prado range is the VX, which is only available as an automatic and sees a considerable price jump over the GXL auto – it lists at $73,990 plus on-road costs, but that’s $911 less than 2017.

The VX brings additional items such as 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic/surround-view camera monitor with low-speed forward view setting, ventilated front seats, heated seats front and rear, a cool box between the front seats and LED fog lamps. It also sports leather seats, and a 14-speaker JBL sound system.

And if you spend this much you also secure more safety equipment: blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. 

The top-of-the-range variant in the Toyota Prado 2018 model range is the Kakadu, which is auto only, and lists at $84,490, representing a drop of $1121 compared with the model it succeeds. It’s the model you see in the images here.  

You certainly get plenty of additional equipment over the VX for your $10,500 extra expenditure – the Kakadu is the only model in the range with Toyota’s 'Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System' (KDSS) – a high-tech set-up that reacts to forces felt by the suspension that can modulate or disable the anti-roll bars. 

Further additions to the Kakadu include 'Crawl Control' (Toyota’s advanced traction system that monitors slippage at each wheel and works to ensure optimal traction), 'Multi-Terrain Select' (with rock, rock & dirt, mogul, loose rock, mud & sand settings), a new drive mode select system that changes the settings of the drivetrain, chassis and air-conditioning (with Comfort, Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ settings). There’s no denying the Kakadu seems like the one you’d pick if you want to go off-road – like, to Kakadu, for instance…

Other additions for this spec include a sunroof, woodgrain trim, power folding third-row seats, and a rear seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray entertainment screen, plus three wireless headsets.

A newly added no-cost option for August-onward 2018 Toyota Prado models is a flat tailgate setup, which was previously reserved for the Prado Altitude limited edition models. Available for GXL, VX and Kakadu grades, the  sees the removal of the tailgate-mounted spare wheel and cover, with the spare wheel instead mounted under the boot floor. There is an impact on fuel tank size, with the 63L reserve tank removed to make room for the spare wheel (leaving an 87-litre capacity). But flat-back Prado buyers will get an opening tailgate window, making quick access to the boot even easier. 

No matter which model you choose, if you want one of Toyota’s ‘premium paint’ finishes you’ll have to pay $550 (only one of the black options and white are exempt from extra cost). The colours include three different black hues, a dusty bronze/gold/beige/orange/brown finish, grey, red, two choices of silver, and white – no green, blue or yellow here. 

Of course if you want to further customise your Prado, there are plenty of accessories you can choose beyond rims and floor mats in each of the trim levels.

The genuine accessories list features two options for your choice of bullbar, a nudge bar, snorkel, and you’ll want the cargo barrier if you need to haul your tool kit with you.


BMW X58/10

Priced from $121,900 plus on-road costs, the xDrive30d slots between the xDrive25d ($104,900) and xDrive40i ($124,900) at the lower end of the X5 range.

Standard equipment in the X5 xDrive30d that hasn’t been mentioned yet includes dusk-sensing lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-folding side mirrors with heating functionality, roof rails, keyless entry and a power-operated tailgate.

Inside you'll also find push-button start, satellite navigation with live traffic, digital radio, a 205W sound system with 10 speakers, power-adjustable front seats with heating and memory functionality, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and M-branded scuff plates.

In typical BMW fashion, our test vehicle was fitted with several options, including Mineral White metallic paintwork ($2000), bi-colour 22-inch alloy wheels ($3900) and Walknappa leather upholstery for the upper dashboard and door shoulders ($2100).

Rivals for the X5 xDrive30d include the Mercedes-Benz GLE300d ($107,100), Volvo XC90 D5 Momentum ($94,990) and Lexus RX450h Sports Luxury ($111,088), meaning it’s relatively expensive, although specification isn’t exactly like for like.

Engine & trans

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado7/10

Every variant in the Prado range is powered the same engine, with the same size - a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. The entry-grade models (GX and GXL) have the choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed auto, while the top two grades (VX and Kakadu) are auto only.

There are no changes to specifications for power outputs of the diesel drivetrain, be it the manual gearbox with retained power and torque outputs of 130kW/420Nm, or an automatic transmission, which bumps the torque spec up to 450Nm. 

Competitor SUVs out there can be had with more power and torque – even some that are smaller, like the Holden Trailblazer (2.8-litre turbo-diesel, 147kW/500Nm). 

Unlike a lot of those other competitors, though, the Prado runs a permanent four-wheel drive (4WD or 4x4) set-up with 4H and 4L modes – there’s no 4x2 mode. You need to get an automatic to be able to get a rear diff lock, and even then it’s not available on the base model GX. So, manual gearbox enthusiasts need to think twice.

Some buyers may not be too impressed by the Prado’s comparatively low braked towing capacity weight of 2500kg (750kg un-braked) for manual models – but the automatic pushes that braked capacity to 3000kg, which is what you’ll likely need for a big off-road caravan. Our test vehicles didn’t have a towbar, so there’s no towing review here. 

And there’s no argument for petrol vs diesel, as the 4.0-litre V6 has been axed. And there’s never been an LPG model here. 

You might want to check out our Prado problems page for any relevant information on potential diesel engine problems or issues with injector performance, automatic transmission or clutch / gearbox problems, suspension issues or cruise control complaints. And any concerns over diesel particulate filter problems should be allayed by the addition of a new DPF forced burn-off switch, to give a manual override control to the owner.

Timing belt or chain? The 2.8-litre engine has a chain, thank you very much.


BMW X59/10

As its name suggests, the X5 xDrive30d is motivated by the same 3.0-litre turbo-diesel inline six-cylinder engine used in other BMW models, and that’s a very good thing, because it’s one of my favourites.

In this form, it produces 195kW of power at 4000rpm and a very useful 620Nm of torque from 2000-2500rpm – perfect outputs for a large SUV.

Meanwhile, an eight-speed ZF torque-converter automatic transmission (with paddle-shifters) – another favourite – and BMW’s fully variable xDrive system are responsible for sending drive to all four wheels.

As a result, the 2110kg X5 xDrive30d can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in a hot-hatch-like 6.5 seconds, on the way to its top speed of 230km/h.

Fuel consumption

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado8/10

Toyota claims diesel fuel consumption of 7.9L/100km for the manual Prado, while the automatic model uses 0.1L/100km more, claiming 8.0L/100km. 

Realistically you can expect fuel economy around 9.5L/100km in most situations, or a tad more if you’re running around with adults accompanying you in the other four seats.

If you venture off-road the fuel use number will probably rise to about 11.5L/100km, which is pretty good given the size of the Prado. Towing will likely see that figure jump a tad, but not to excessively high levels (depending on the weight of what you’re towing, of course!).

The Prado’s huge 150-litre fuel tank capacity (with an 87L main tank size and 63L sub) will assure long range mileage between visits to the pump, but expect a big bill if you run it to empty. If you get the flat tailgate version of the GXL, VX or Kakadu, you will only get the 87-litre capacity, which will still be able to get you plenty far. And it's a little bit smaller (length is down from 4995mm to 4825mm) and lighter (reduced about 60kg across the range), so you may even see better fuel consumption, not to mention easier parking in small spots.

As mentioned above, there’s no petrol option anymore.


BMW X58/10

The X5 xDrive30d’s fuel consumption on the combined cycle test (ADR 81/02) is 7.2L/100km, while its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are 189g/km. Both claims are strong for a large SUV.

In the real world, we averaged 7.9L/100km over 270km of driving that was slightly skewed towards highways over city roads, which is a very solid result for a vehicle of this size.

For reference, the X5 xDrive30d has a large, 80-litre fuel tank.

Driving

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado8/10

If you plan on spending the vast majority of your time on paved surfaces – be that running around town or cruising country highways – you ought to choose the GX, GXL or VX models.

Why? It all comes down to the Kakadu’s suspension system. It’s undeniably brilliant when it comes to scrambling up craggy hills, especially if there are heaps of offset bumpy sections because of the way it can adjust the anti-roll bars. Admittedly there is adaptive front and rear variable suspension (not air suspension) on the Kakadu, but even in the most passenger-friendly Comfort setting it isn’t as comfy as it should be, with the four-link rear suspension abruptly rebounding over bumps. The front suspension is a trailing arm double-wishbone type, and it is more resolved over bumps.

It is ridiculously capable when it comes to off road ability, with the permanent 4WD system (with 4H high range and 4L low range), a locking rear diff, and the brand’s dependable drive-mode selector system allowing for assured progress on gnarly surfaces.

That said, it mightn’t be quite as terrific as it once was: we didn’t get the pre-facelift model and the new model together for a head-to-head, but the numbers don’t lie: the new-look Prado has worse approach and departure angles vs the old one. The approach angle is now 30.4 degrees, where it used to be 32.0deg, and the departure angle is now 23.5deg (was 25.0deg). Ground clearance is down by a millimetre, to 219mm.

And while that anti-roll bar adjustment certainly makes the Prado Kakadu hold itself flatter through a series of sharp corners, that’s not what this SUV is all about. Nor what this review is about. 

In the lower-spec models there is better bump absorption – the smaller alloy wheels help, though we know some buyers will be tempted to upsize to 22-inch chrome wheels…The steering response largely remains the same between the four variants – the wheel action is light and easy to twirl at lower speeds with a decent turning circle of 11.6m, and it has good weighting at highway pace, too. 

And no matter which model you choose, you’ll be getting a diesel engine that feels suited to day-to-day life: the 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo unit isn’t excessively grunty, but with the clever six-speed automatic the Prado definitely offers enough punch to jump a gap or two in traffic. 

Even so, I have often thought to myself ‘there is no faster car on the road than a Prado driver who is late to drop the kids at school’ – and the performance lives up to that expectation. There’s some turbo lag to contend with from stand-still, but its roll-on acceleration is convincing below 70km/h. 

It isn’t quite as sprightly once you get above that, presumably because aerodynamics starts to play a more integral role in forward progress. But realistically if you want to know what 0-100km/h acceleration it’ll do, or what top speed it’ll hit, maybe you shouldn’t be looking at a Prado.

My biggest annoyance with the Prado is its brake pedal feel. While the response from the stoppers is good, the squelchy feel of the pedal and the fingernails-on-a-blackboard screechiness as you apply pressure is frustrating. The body of the Prado can pitch forward when you apply the brakes, too. 


BMW X58/10

When it comes to ride and handling, it would be easy to argue that the X5 xDrive30d’s combination is class-leading.

While its suspension (double-wishbone front and multi-link rear axles with adaptive dampers) has a sports tune, it stills rides comfortably, wafting over uneven surfaces with ease and quickly regaining composure over bumps. It all feels suitably luxurious.

However, the optional bi-colour 22-inch alloy wheels ($3900) fitted to our test vehicle often catch sharper edges and spoil the ride over poorer surfaces, so you should probably stick to the standard 20-inch rims.

Handling-wise, the X5 xDrive30d does naturally lean into corners during spirited driving when in its Comfort drive mode.

That being said, overall body control is relatively strong for a large SUV, and the Sport drive mode does go some way towards tightening things up, but the fact is, it’s always going to be hard to defy physics.

Meanwhile, the X5 xDrive30d’s electric power steering is not only speed-sensitive, but its weight is adjustable via the aforementioned drive modes.

In Comfort, this set up is well-weighted, with just the right amount of heft, however, change it to Sport and it becomes heavier, which might not be to everyone’s taste. Either way, it’s relatively direct and offers solid levels of feedback.

That said, the X5 xDrive30d’s sheer size is reflected by its 12.6m turning circle, which makes low-speed manoeuvres in tight spaces more challenging. The optional rear-wheel steering ($2250) can help with that, although it wasn’t fitted to our test vehicle.

In terms of straight-line performance, the X5 xDrive30d has a thick wad of maximum torque available early in the rev range, which means its engine’s pulling power is effortless all the way through to the mid-range, even if it can be a little spiky initially.

While peak power is relatively strong, you rarely need to approach the top end to make use of it, because this engine is all about those Newton-metres of torque.

Acceleration is therefore spritely, with the X5 hunkering down and charging off the line with intent when full throttle is applied.

A lot of this is performance is thanks to the transmission’s intuitive calibration and general responsiveness to spontaneous inputs.

Gear changes are quick and smooth, although on occasion they can be a little jerky when decelerating from low speeds to a standstill.

The five drive modes – Eco Pro, Comfort, Sport, Adaptive and Individual – allow the driver to alter engine and transmission settings while on the move, with Sport adding a noticeable edge, but Comfort is what you'll be using 99 per cent of the time.

The transmission’s Sport mode can be summoned at any time, with a flick of the gear selector leading to higher shift points that are complementary to spirited driving.

Safety

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado8/10

The facelifted Prado model hasn’t been crash tested by ANCAP, but this generation was tested all the way back in 2010, when it scored the maximum five-star safety rating. It is unlikely the facelifted version will get the crash-test treatment again.

The manual models miss out on the added safety gear that every automatic Prado gets as standard as part of the update, which is disappointing, and you don’t even get a hill-hold function on the base model GX. 

The kit every auto Prado now gets includes auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automated high-beam headlights. 

Manual or auto, the Prado comes with a reversing camera with active steering guidelines and rear parking sensors. All Prado models have seven airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain, driver’s knee), stability and traction control, ABS, EBD and trailer-sway control.

If you step up to the VX you also get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, not to mention the surround-view camera and low-speed off-road front-view camera, and front parking sensors. The Kakadu model gets the lot, plus all of the off-road hardware and tech.

Parents will appreciate the two second-row ISOFIX child-seat anchor-points


BMW X59/10

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the X5 xDrive30d its maximum five-star safety rating in 2018.

Advanced driver-assist systems in the X5 xDrive30d extend to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep and steering assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality, traffic-sign recognition, high-beam assist, driver-attention alert, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, park and reversing assist, surround-view cameras, front and rear parking sensors, hill-descent control and tyre-pressure monitoring. Yep, there’s not much missing here.

Other standard safety equipment includes seven airbags (dual front, side and curtain plus driver’s knee), anti-skid brakes (ABS), brake assist and the usual electronic stability and traction-control systems.

Ownership

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado6/10

Toyota’s unbreakable reputation is well founded, and reliability issues are reportedly few and far between. The brand offers an expansive dealer network providing access to professional Toyota care pretty much anywhere you think you’ll take your Prado.

The company isn’t unbeatable for warranty cover, however. It offers the bare-minimum three-year/100,000km plan for all of its cars, utes and SUVs.

Likewise Toyota’s maintenance schedule remains annoyingly short - intervals are every six months or 10,000km, which could be painful if you do a lot of mileage. At least the visits are affordable, with service costs capped at $240 each time for the first three years/60,000km.

Resale value is hard to argue with for the Prado – and most Toyota’s for that matter. But if you’re concerned about a used car purchase maybe check out our problems page for common problems, issues, faults and complaints about the Prado. 


BMW X58/10

As with all BMW models, the X5 xDrive30d comes with a three-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is two years behind the premium standard set by Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Genesis. It also gets three years of roadside assistance. 

The X5 xDrive30d’s service intervals are every 12 months of 15,000km, whichever comes first. Five-year/80,000km capped-price servicing plans start from $2250, or an average of $450 per visit, which is more than reasonable.