Toyota Land Cruiser VS Isuzu D-Max
Toyota Land Cruiser
- Excellent off road
- Comfy cabin
- Good all-round package
- Lacking safety tech
- Short service intervals
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Reversing camera as standard
- Suspension upgrade
- Off-road capability
- No AEB
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Still noisy when driven hard
Toyota Land Cruiser
If you’ve seen our most recent comparison test where we put the Toyota Prado up against some of its fiercest rivals, you will know that the Toyota impressed us on many levels.
That comparison - where it went up against the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Ford Everest and its sibling, the Toyota Fortuner - saw us put the GXL variant of the Prado range through plenty of stress tests.
Read More:Best off-road 4x4 SUV: We compare the Toyota Prado, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest & Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
But we thought we’d do a standalone deep dive review on the Toyota Prado GXL 2020 model - in case you don’t really care how it compares, and just want to figure out if you’re making the right decision choosing this variant. This review will help. We promise.
|Engine Type||2.8L turbo|
Last year heralded a raft of significant changes in Isuzu Ute Australia’s (IUA) D-Max and MU-X line-up.
In its first-quarter 2017 launch on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Isuzu officially revealed the range’s new 3.0-litre engine, new six-speed automatic transmission, and upgraded Aussie-specific suspension – all engineered for Australian drivers and our unique driving conditions – as well as a few nifty styling improvements, including a new front-end.
Well, this year Isuzu chose the Mt Cotton driver training centre, just outside of Brisbane, as the venue to let Australian motoring journalists loose in some new D-Maxs and MU-Xs. The changes this time around aren’t anywhere near as big as they were last year but Isuzu is hoping that extra safety features as standard, styling tweaks and value-added service intervals will help to build on growing buyer interest in its ute and SUV range.
|Engine Type||3.0L turbo|
Toyota Land Cruiser7.6/10
There’s a reason so many people opt for the Toyota Prado, and plenty of those choose the GXL model, too. It’s a very impressive family off-roader that can tackle rough terrain straight out of the showroom, but also offer comfortable, family-friendly progress in daily driving as well.
It is showing its age and starting to lack some tech, but there’s no doubt it will continue to sell well because if you can overlook those shortcomings, it’s a highly impressive four-wheel drive.
The D-Max was already a solid choice for those interested in a functional family-friendly ute and it seems Isuzu might be justified in banking on the new LS-T’s premium appeal, as well as the range’s safety upgrades, extended service intervals and styling tweaks for even more sales.
What do you think of the new D-Max? Tell us in the comments below.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
In terms of dimensions and size, the Prado is pretty compact when it has the Flat Tailgate pack. The length is 4825mm (on a 2790mm wheelbase), width is 1885mm and height is 1890mm. Add the spare tyre to the back door, and it pushes out to 4995mm.
I actually think the Flat Tailgate pack is one of the most interesting elements of the Prado’s design. The company has gone to the trouble of eradicating the rear-mounted spare, but still kept the side-swinging back door, which can be a pain in the neck if you’re trying to access the boot but have parked close to a wall or a car behind has parked you in.
But there is a trick - the tailgate glass opens separately to the boot, which can be a saviour in situations like that… unless you’re loading or unloading something long, awkwardly shaped or heavy, or you’re shorter in stature as you might struggle to reach.
The exterior design of the Prado has been treated well over the years it has been around, and it still looks smart enough to catch your eye despite being ubiquitous. The muscular grille, squared-off haunches and beefy stance help.
While design is more often equated with styling, or how a car looks, in 4x4s like this there is more than just the aesthetic of the metalwork to consider. They’ve also gotta be designed to deal with the rough stuff.
So, cue important specs for off-road enthusiasts: approach angle - 30.4 degrees; departure angle - 23.5 degrees; break-over/ramp-over angle - 21.1 degrees; ground clearance (mm) - 219; wading depth (mm) - 700; turning circle/radius - 11.6m.
Nothing has changed on the D-Max’s outside – it looks chunky, solid and purpose-built for adventure – but the LS-T’s interior now has that perforated leather on body-contact areas and soft-touch leatherette elsewhere. Inside the cabin remains functional but it now has a more premium feel.
Toyota Land Cruiser9/10
Unlike some of its closest competitors, the Prado is a purpose-built off-roader family SUV, where the others are derived from dual-cab utes. That means it’s wider and a bit more passenger friendly - even if there are things that we wish were a bit better, like the space on offer with all seven seats in play.
The Prado offers a meagre 104 litres (VDA) with all seven seats up, which is less than all of its main rivals. With five seats up there’s 553L (VDA), and if you fold down all the rear seats you should have 974L (VDA) at your disposal.
There are roof rails if you want to fit a roof rack and luggage pod, or if you don’t need all seven seats and plan to use the boot all the time, a cargo barrier is available. Maybe get a luggage liner while you’re at it.
As mentioned, all three rows have air vents and there’s a fan controller as well, and there’s a third climate zone so those in the rear can set the temp as desired.
If you happen to draw the short straw and end up in the back row, you’ll be pleased that the ingress and egress is excellent. The door opening is large, meaning easy access, but taller occupants might struggle for head room, and you’ll need to make sure those in front slide the seats forward to allow better third row space. Some other SUVs in this space don’t offer a sliding second row.
In the middle row there’s good width to the seat, feeling comfortable and accommodating for adults. There’s easily enough knee room, headroom and shoulder space for three adults to fit side by side. There are cup holders in a flip-down armrest (though they are weirdly shaped), and bottle holders in the doors. Rearmost occupants have cup holders as well.
Up front the seats offer good adjustment, and there’s a level of intuitiveness to the way the Prado’s cockpit is laid out. Everything falls to hand easily, and the storage is mostly good, with bottle holders in the doors, cup holders between the seats, a storage box below the media screen, and even a centre console bin with cooling, which is ideal for family drives.
The media screen is decent, but not great. At least there are hard buttons either side and knobs for tuning and volume, rather than on screen touch controls like you find in some other Toyotas.
We didn’t have the opportunity to spend very much time in the D-Max this time around but it appears to have retained the previous generation’s easy-to-live-with attributes. Everything is clear to see (the 8.0-inch touchscreen is a good unit), easy to use (big buttons, dials and knobs abound) and the cabin is roomy, comfortable, and hard wearing. Build quality and fit and finish remains solid and touring-ready.
The D-Max's tray is 1552mm long (at floor level), 465mm deep and 1530mm wide across the top, 1105mm wide, between wheel arches. It has four tie-down points in the tray, one at each corner.
This D-Max has a 1024kg payload, 3050kg GVM, a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg and 750kg unbraked.
Price and features
Toyota Land Cruiser8/10
The 2020 Toyota Prado GXL has a list price of $63,690 before on-road costs. That’s for the automatic model - deduct $3000 if you’re going with a manual.
Our car had the $3463 Premium Interior option pack, which added leather seats, heated and cooled front seats, and heated second row seats. That pack, as well as its optional premium paint ($600) pushed its as-tested price to $67,753.
If you’re interested, there’s a Flat Tailgate pack available for the GXL automatic (also the VX and Kakadu), which deletes the tailgate mounted spare wheel in favour of a spare mounted under the car body. It downsizes the fuel tank from 150L to 87L and that’s how our car came - it doesn’t cost any extra.
In addition, the Prado comes decently kitted out for the cash, with standard items including 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED front fog lights, auto headlights, side steps, and keyless entry with push button start.
Other standard inclusions comprise a three-zone climate control with rear vents and rear fan controller, leather steering wheel, a 230-volt powerpoint in the boot, a nine-speaker sound system teamed to an 8.0-inch touchscreen media unit with sat nav, USB port (x1), AM/FM radio and CD player. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
Safety spec is adequate for the class, but certainly not exceptional - read the safety section below for a rundown.
If your curious about colours available for the Prado, there are a few to choose: Glacier White and Ebony are the only no-cost choices, while optional premium ($600) colours include Peacock Black metallic, Dusty Bronze metallic, Graphite grey metallic, Wildfire red metallic, Crystal Pearl white, Silver Pearl and Eclipse Black mica.
There are 23 variants in the D-Max line-up, ranging from the 4x2 single cab chassis SX manual ($28,600) through to the new LS-T (formerly known as the LS-Terrain), costing $54,700 (recommended retail price).
There are four variants in the crew cab (dual-cab) range – SX, LS-M, LS-U and the new LS-T (formerly known as the LS-Terrain), which we’ll focus on in this yarn. There are 4x4 and 4x2 variants for everything in the 2018 D-Max range; and manual or auto transmissions for a lot of the line-up everything.
The LS-T is auto only and costs $54,700 (recommended retail price). Available in 4x4 or 4x2 guise, the LS-T gets, above and beyond what came before, perforated leather on body-contact areas, soft-touch leatherette in other spots (also in LS-m and LS-U), 18-inch wheels, sat nav, roof-rails, and two USB charge points.
Safety upgrades include trailer sway control for all new D-Maxs – except the 4x2 low-ride SX single cab chassis manual – and rear bumper and reversing camera as standard on everything, except cab chassis models, but it is an option on those.
There are also three new exterior colours available for the D-Max: 'Magnetic Red Mica', 'Cobalt Blue Mica' and 'Graphite Grey Metallic'. The new MU-X also has the Magnetic Red Mica option.
Engine & trans
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
The engine specs are familiar if you’ve encountered a Prado in recent years. The motor is a 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine, producing 130kW of power (at 3400rpm) and 450Nm of torque (at 1600-2400rpm).
In this part of the market, most models are close on horsepower and torque - only the Ford Everest Bi-turbo breaks away from the pack with 157kW and 500Nm.
Weighing up manual vs automatic? In GXL spec you can have the Prado with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission, as tested here. If you get the manual you miss out on 30Nm, too.
It has permanent four-wheel drive (4WD), so you could consider it to be all-wheel drive (AWD). What that means is there’s no need to switch to 4x4 mode when you depart the sealed stuff: there’s no 4x2 or 2WD mode.
Curious about whether the engine has a timing chain or timing belt? The answer is a timing chain.
What about towing capacity and towing specs? The Prado is capable of towing 750kg unbraked, while maximum towing capacity is 3000kg. If you’re thinking how that stacks up vs competitors, it’s there or thereabouts: the Everest and Pajero Sport can both manage 3100kg.
Love numbers? The gross vehicle mass GVM) for the Prado is 2990kg, and the gross combined mass (GCM) is 5490kg. Its maximum payload, according to Toyota, is 665kg - so keep that in mind if you’re planning to fill all seven seats and also tow a load behind.
While Toyota has made strides in the world of hybrid SUVs in other parts of the market, the Prado has no such variant available in this generation. There’s no electric, LPG, plug-in hybrid or petrol models sold here either.
Toyota Land Cruiser8/10
Fuel consumption for the Toyota Prado GXL automatic is claimed at 8.0 litres per 100 kilometres. Choose the manual and the consumption claim is 7.9L/100km.
During our on road testing - across urban, highway, and back roads - we saw an impressive diesel fuel economy return of 8.3L/100km at the pump. And there’s not even an eco mode, that’s just how efficient it was.
When it came to dirt road and off road testing, the consumption was a little less impressive, using 12.7L/100km. That may matter to you, or not.
All told, though, our combined average fuel use of 10.5L/100km over the entire testing period was decent.
The fuel tank capacity of the Flat Tailgate-equipped Prado is 87 litres - which is still bigger than an Everest or Fortuner (both 80L) or Pajero Sport (68L) - but it loses the 63-litre sub tank. So if you think you want a long range tank, you’re best off getting the standard tailgate design.
We only got the chance to spend very little time in any new models and we’d have to drive it for a week or more to get a good handle on real-world fuel consumption but Isuzu claims the D-Max gets through 7.9L/100km (combined cycle). It has a 76-litre fuel tank.
Toyota Land Cruiser8/10
We drove the Prado GXL on a mix of roads to see what it was like in everyday situations - and there were very few complaints, really - so long as you’re not rocketship acceleration or sports car handling, it’ll tick most of the boxes you need it to.
It is wider than its ute-based rivals and as a result it feels more planted on the road. That comes down to a wider track than most other rugged off-roaders, which gives a surefooted feel on all surfaces across a range of speeds.
The Prado’s permanent four-wheel drive ensures confident progress on damp roads, too, and it felt confident for passengers and for the driver, too.
The Prado’s steering was a bit slow and it felt slightly larger than its rivals negotiating tight streets. But it was manageable and predictable to drive.
The Prado’s engine didn’t feel punchy, but it did offer honest progress. The Prado weighs a couple of hundred kilograms more than the Fortuner, which runs the same powertrain, and in comparison the Prado feels the extra weight - it never really shoots away from a standstill.
But it is considerably more refined than its stablemate, offering a more agreeable driving experience. Not thrilling, but fine. And the six-speed automatic offered smooth and clever shifts at all speeds on road.
What about the off road review? Here it is.
The Prado made it simple to place the wheels right where you want them, no matter how rutted the tracks or slippery the sand. We had no issues with grip from the Dunlop AT20 Grandtrek tyres fitted, either - if you’re spec-curious, they were 265/65/17.
The suspension - comprising double wishbone front suspension and four-link coil spring rear suspension - allowed plenty of wheel travel, and the Prado’s well calibrated off-road traction control system and a permanent four-wheel drive system ensured smooth progress on unsealed roads. It is arguably the best bush-ready 4WD you can buy and drive into the distance from the showroom floor. And there’s a rear diff lock if you think you need it.
Sure it doesn’t have as much torque as a Ford Everest, but the Prado was excellent at delivering its grunt to the dirt effectively - all while feeling easy to drive and direct in its communication with the driver. The engine hardly ever felt stressed, and the auto transmission was effective at all speeds.
We only did brief drive loops on the launch, including a decent off-road course and towing a 1750kg boat with a D-Max on a twisting bitumen road, designed to replicate real-world driving conditions.
Running 20 psi (pounds per square inch) in our Bridgestone Dueler or Toyo Open Country tyres, the Isuzus handled everything on the 4WD loop with ease, including runs up and down steep greasy-muddy hills peppered with rocks and tree-root hazards, tight turns in between trees, plowing through mud puddles and more.
No surprise at its efficacy on rough terrain because it works off the proven 4X4 'Terrain Command' system, operated via a dial near the auto shifter, and which can be switched on the fly from 2High to 4High at speeds of up to 100km/h. To engage 4L you need to be stationary.
The LS-T is 5295mm long, 1860mm wide (excluding wing mirrors), 1855mm high (excluding roof rails) and has a 3095mm wheelbase and 1570mm track. It has a 12.6m turning circle. Kerb weight is listed as 2026kg.
It has 235mm ground clearance, 30 degrees approach angle, 22.7 degrees departure angle, and 22.3 degrees ramp-over angle. The LS-T's wading depth is 600mm.
The Isuzu ute retains the previous generation’s hill start assist (designed to hold gear during climbs) and hill descent control (which maintains engine-braking speed on downhills and is able to be regulated with acceleration or braking).
The D-Max’s underbody protection includes under-front steel plate skid/splash shield and steel plate guards on the sump, transfer case and fuel tank leading edge; and sheet steel under the fuel tank.
It has double wishbones and coil springs up front and leaf springs at the rear, reduced from a five-span spring set-up to three, which has resulted in a softer and more comfortable D-Max ride than before.
We had the opportunity to drive a 2017 and a 2018 model back-to-back through lumpy sections at different speeds and the newer model exhibited a clear advantage in the ride and handling stakes over its older version.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
The Toyota Prado has a five-star ANCAP crash test rating - but it was awarded almost a decade ago, with the local safety body having conducted its tests way back in 2011.
They include auto emergency braking (AEB) that works from 10km/h-180km/h with pedestrian detection (that works between 10km/h-80km/h), as well as lane departure warning, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control.
Missing items at this price point include cyclist detection, active lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree camera and front parking sensors.
There are seven airbags (dual front, driver’s knee, front side and full-length curtain), and the Prado has two ISOFIX child seat anchors and three top-tether attachments for baby seats.
Where is the Toyota Prado built? Japan is the answer.
The D-Max has a maximum five-star ANCAP rating from November 2016. As mentioned, noteworthy safety upgrades include trailer sway control for all new D-Maxs – except the 4x2 low-ride SX single cab chassis manual – and rear bumper and reversing camera as standard on everything, except cab chassis models, but it is an option on those.
Other standard safety gear includes six airbags (dual front, side and full-length curtain), ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, ESC, traction control and EBA (emergency brake assist), 'Hill Start Assist' and 'Hill Descent Control', plus three top-tether ISOFIX child-seat points in the rear seat.
Toyota Land Cruiser7/10
Toyota has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty for all of its models. But if you maintain logbook servicing - it doesn’t have to be through Toyota’s network, just so long as you keep the owners manual up to date with the stamps - you will be eligible for an extended drivetrain warranty, out to seven years. That’ll help when it comes to resale value, too.
The Prado also has a capped price servicing plan, but it only spans three years/60,000km. And the service intervals are far more regular than most rivals, at six months/10,000km.
At least the maintenance is reasonably priced. Per visit you’re looking at $260. But remember, you have to go twice a year for servicing, which means an annual cost of $520.
There’s no roadside assistance included in the Toyota ownership plan.
If you’re worried about common problems, complaints, issues, engine problems, DPF issues, transmission complaints or any other defects and recalls, you should check out our Toyota Prado problems page.
It has a five-year/130,000km warranty, with five years of roadside assist and five-year/75,000km capped price service costs. Servicing is recommended at 12-month/15,000km intervals. Prices are: $350 (at 12 months/15,000km), $450 (at 24 months/30,000km), $500 (at 36 months/45,000km) $450 (at 48 months/60,000km) and $340 at 60 months/75,000km – for a total cost of $2090.