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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
$36,990 - $77,990
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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VS Mercedes-Benz GLB

$59,900 - $88,900

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado


Mercedes-Benz GLB

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

Mercedes-Benz GLB

We all know by now Mercedes-Benz loves to fill a niche, and if it can't find a niche to fill, it will create one. So, please welcome its latest niche-filler, the GLB.

Despite shaping up as a mid-sizer, the GLB is a small SUV… with a twist. Whereas other small SUVs have five seats, the GLB has seven, lending itself to unrivalled practicality.

So, does the GLB operate in the 'Goldilocks Zone', or is it an answer to a question no-one asked? We put its mid-range GLB 250 variant to test to find out.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.7L/100km
Seating7 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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB8.1/10

Well, Mercedes-Benz has done it again, finding (or creating, depending on your position) a niche and filling it. But unlike some others that preceded it, this example is a good one.

Despite its safety and handling shortcomings, the GLB 250 looks the part, is undeniably practical and serves up surprising performance, which means it's a winner in our books.

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLB a jack of all trades but master of none? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB9/10

These days, so many SUVs try to toe the coupe line by incorporating a sloped-back roofline –and yes, the same is predominantly true of those that call themselves traditional wagons.

That said, prepare yourself for a bit of a throwback, because the GLB 250 is about as faithful to the classic two-box design as it gets in 2020, which we absolutely love.

Up front, it's undoubtedly a Mercedes-Benz SUV, albeit with a much squarer appearance. Simply put, the GLB 250 looks butch.

We particularly love its simple LED headlights, classic grille and strong bumper, which make it look smart but capable.

Around the side, the GLB 250 is a typical small SUV with black plastic cladding covering its wheelarch extensions and connecting skirts.

The otherwise plain design is spiced up by a sporty set of alloy wheels (our test vehicle was fitted with 18-inch items with 235/55 runflat tyres) and an unusual kink in the glasshouse, around the C-pillar.

The GLB 250 is at its best at the rear, where it exudes presence, with the tough look punctuated by the droopy LED tail-lights and a prominent bumper, which houses a diffuser element flanked by dual exhaust tailpipes.

Inside, the GLB 250 quickly reveals itself to be a technological tour de force. And yes, if its cabin looks familiar, it's because its mechanical relatives (A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA) more or less have the same cockpit.

As expected, a pair of 10.25-inch high-resolution displays sit side by side proudly atop the dashboard, with one the central touchscreen and the other the digital instrument cluster.

Both are items powered by Mercedes-Benz's new-generation 'MBUX' multimedia system, which is arguably the best there is today thanks its speed and breadth of functionality and input methods.

The GLB 250 is properly premium where it counts. Sure, trainspotters will notice the black 'Artico leather' upholstery covering the steering wheel, seats, armrests and door shoulders is of the artificial variety, but it's inoffensive, unlike in some of its SUV siblings.

Soft-touch materials are used for the upper dashboard, leaving hard plastics for the lower sections, which is exactly what you'd hope for at this price.

While a black headliner lends itself to a dark cabin, brighter highlights come by way of the metallic trim used throughout, notably on the steering wheel, dashboard, doors and centre console. And let's not forget the sensational ambient lighting. It's very, very cool.

And mercifully, gloss-black accents are limited to the surrounds of the steering wheel, turbine-style front air vents, dual-zone climate controls and centre console. The less scratches and fingerprints the better, we say.

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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB9/10

Measuring 4638mm long (with a 2829mm wheelbase), 1834mm wide and 1659mm tall, the GLB250 is closer in size to the GLC than the GLA, making it a small SUV on paper only. And that only means good things when it comes to practicality.

For example, cargo capacity with the 50/50 split-fold third row stowed is strong, at 565L, but it can be increased to a massive 1780L with the 40/20/40 split-fold middle bench also out of action. If six or seven seats are in use, though, there's limited space to play with.

That said, the boot is still very well thought out, as evidenced by its massive aperture, lack of a load lip, and flat floor, which make loading bulkier items a lot easier. And yes, its load cover can actually be stored underfloor when not in use!

There are also four tie-down points, two bag hooks, a side storage net and a 12V power outlet to make things that little bit easier, while the rear seats can be operated from behind.

Speaking of which, let's cut straight to the point: Mercedes-Benz claims the third row can accommodate occupants that are up to 168cm tall thanks to the middle bench's ability to slide fore and aft by up to 140mm.

Therefore, my 184cm (6.0ft) frame is a little too tall, but I was still able to sit in the back, albeit not in complete comfort, with about a centimetre of legroom and negligible headroom and toe-room on offer.

The biggest challenge for any occupant is getting in and out in the first place, as the middle bench doesn't tumble forward for easy access. Needless to say, you're not going to look graceful here. Children can learn to deal with it, but adults won't be excited by the prospect.

So, the middle bench is where it's at, even when slid all the way forward. Behind my driving position, it provides about a centimetre of legroom, but this can be increased to a generous 8.0cm by sliding it all the way back.

Either way, plenty of toe-room is available alongside more than an 2.0cm of headroom – and that's with a dual-pane panoramic sunroof fitted.

The second row can accommodate three adults at a pinch, partly thanks to the short transmission tunnel that ensure there's just enough space for three pairs of fully grown feet across the two footwells. Children will be fine.

While we're on the topic, four ISOFIX and five top-tether anchorage points are on hand for fitting up to four child seats across the second and third rows, making the GLB250 a genuine option for families.

In-cabin storage options are numerous, with the central storage bin on the larger side despite housing a pair of USB-C ports, and the glove box is also pretty handy, even if it does have an odd shape. There's also a sunglasses holder in front of the rearview mirror.

The centre console's cubby doesn't lend itself to storage, though, as it's more or less taken up by two cupholders, another USB-C port and a wireless smartphone charger.

The front door bins can take one small and two regular bottles each, while their rear counterparts can carry one small and one regular apiece.

Second-row occupants are further treated to a fold-down armrest with another pair of cupholders, although they're of the retractable (flimsy) variety.

These passengers also have access to two USB-C ports, which fold out below a small cubby and a pair of air vents, which are located at the rear of the front centre console. There are also storage nets on the front seat backrests.

And don't make the mistake of thinking the third row misses out on the action, as two cupholders (one regular, the other small) divide the seats, which have their own USB-C ports and device straps to the sides.

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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB8/10

Priced from $73,900 plus on-road costs, the GLB 250 sits in the middle of the GLB range, above the $59,900 GLB 200 and below the $88,900 AMG GLB 35.

Standard equipment not already mentioned in the GLB 250 includes dusk-sensing lights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding side mirrors, aluminium roof rails and a power-operated tailgate.

Inside, satellite navigation with live traffic, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, digital radio, a 225W sound system with nine speakers, keyless entry and start, power-adjustable comfort seats with heating and memory functionality, auto-dimming mirrors and illuminated scuff plates feature.

As with most Mercedes-Benz models, the GLB 250 has a long and expensive options list, so the purchase price can blow out quickly if you're a little too keen.

That said, aside from some safety equipment we'll cover momentarily, there's really not that much missing to begin with, making the GLB 250 the sweet spot in the GLB range.

Either way, our tested vehicle was finished in $1490 'Mountain Grey' metallic paintwork, which is one of six extra-cost exterior colour options.

As mentioned, the GLB 250 is a unique proposition, so it's only comparable rival, the $67,852 Land Rover Discovery Sport P250 SE, is from the segment above, despite its similar size.

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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB8/10

The GLB 250 is motivated by a peppy 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine that produces 165kW of power from 5500-6100rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1800-4000rpm.

This unit is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that's solid on debut, while Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is also in tow.

Thanks to this combination, the GLB250 can sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in a brisk 6.9 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 236km/h. It also enables a maximum braked towing capacity of 2000kg.

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.


Mercedes-Benz GLB8/10

The GLB250's fuel consumption on the combined-cycle test (ADR 81/02) is 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres, while its carbon dioxide emissions are 173 grams per kilometre. Both claims are pretty solid.

In our real-world testing, though, we averaged 8.9L/100km over 180km of driving skewed towards country roads over highways. As such, it's a strong result, especially when you consider my lead foot.

For reference, the GLB 250's 60L fuel tanks takes 95RON petrol at minimum.

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. 


Mercedes-Benz GLB7/10

Families are sure to be pleased by the way the GLB 250 drives, because it can be summed up in one word - comfortable.

A lot of the credit has to go to the GLB 250's independent suspension set-up, which consists of MacPherson-strut front and trailing-link rear axles with adaptive dampers.

The ride is sensational, with the GLB just wafting along on the highway. Take it onto a coarse-chip road and this quality does suffer, but not much. That said, road noise does become more of a factor on lower-quality tarmac.

It's worth reiterating that our test vehicle was fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, which are an inch smaller than the GLB 250's standard set that come with lower-profile tyres (235/50), so the chances are our glowing review doesn't apply across the board.

There were also some noticeable underbody creaks when navigating speed bumps and the like, but hopefully they're just specific to our test vehicle.

What will be more consistent, though, is the wind noise generated by the side mirrors at highway speeds. It penetrates the cabin and disturbs its serenity more than any underbody creak ever could, so turn up the sound system.

Handling-wise, the GLB 250 performs just as well as any other non-performance SUV with seven seats and a high centre of gravity, with body roll prominent when cornering with intent.

Put the aforementioned adaptive dampers into their sportiest setting and body control improves somewhat, but you'll still be conscious of the GLB 250's 1721kg kerb weight.

Either way, grip is quite good due to the all-wheel drive system, which works hard to keep things on track. Its front bias is apparent, though, with the GLB 250 running wide of its line at times.

While it's not the sharpest handler, the GLB 250 is far from awful, partly thanks to the electric power steering's variable ratio set-up.

This system goes from lock-to-lock with ease at low speed, making parking manoeuvres much easier to perform, while it's far more stable at high speed.

However, it's not the first word in feel despite being well-weighted… until you make the mistake of engaging the GLB 250's Sport drive mode, which adds too much artificial weight.

Speaking of sporty, the GLB 250 is surprisingly fun in a straight line thanks to its strong engine and transmission combination.

I particularly enjoyed the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine's mid-range, headlined by a useful 350Nm of max torque from 1800-4000rpm.

Once it comes and goes, though, it's a 'long' wait until 165kW of peak power kicks in from 5500-6100rpm, so best to up-shift early.

Doing so is very easy due to the new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which serves up gear changes that are only smooth, but quick.

Engage Sport drive mode and the engine and transmission become that little bit sharper, with the former's throttle response improved, while the latter adopts more aggressive shift patterns.

That said, it's best to resist that temptation, as the GLB 250 is at its best when driven calmly, while it exudes family-friendly comfort.

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


Mercedes-Benz GLB7/10

ANCAP awarded the GLB range its maximum five-star safety rating in 2019.

Advanced driver-assist systems extend to autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, driver attention alert, tyre pressure monitoring, hill-descent control, hill-start assist, high-beam assist, park assist, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.

What's missing? Front cross-traffic alert, steering assist and adaptive cruise control all form part of the $1990 'Driving Assistance Package', which was fitted to our test vehicle but should be standard for the money.

Other standard safety equipment includes nine airbags (dual front, front-side, curtain and rear-side plus driver's knee), anti-skid brakes (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) 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. 


Mercedes-Benz GLB9/10

As with all Mercedes-Benz models, the GLB 250 comes with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, which is the gold standard for the premium market. It also comes with five years of roadside assistance.

The GLB 250's service intervals are every 12 months or 25,000km, whichever comes first. It is available with a three-year capped-price servicing plan for $2650, but its pricing can be reduced by $500 if paid upfront alongside the vehicle.