LOOK AT THAT FACE
THE updated Toyota Prado has gone to 2009 with the starting price for the facelifted four-wheel-drive.
The Prado GX is $55,990 plus on-road costs, while the rest of the range increases by less than $500 despite the addition of new tech and kit. In addition to the unusual nose — the over-sized grille appears to be inspired by Mahindra of India, and elephant-ear headlights — it gets trailersway control, a new audio and infotainment system and a digital speed display.
Third-row seat access has been improved with a wider-opening second row seat. The option for the additional two seats on the GX is $2500. it’s standard on the rest of the range.
As before, most of the heavy-duty 4WD hardware (suspension and rear diff lock) and technology (hill crawl modes and front-view camera) are available only on the dearest models, which buyers are presumably loath to scratch let alone take off-road.
GX gains a rear view camera, new 17-inch sixspoke alloys, audio controls on the steering wheel and a new six-speaker display audio. GXL gets the display audio, plus heated and power-retractable exterior mirrors. VX gets new 18s, LED lights and daytime running lights, radar cruise, blind zone warning, and an updated KDSS system (to adjust the suspension to better clamber over obstacles). Inside there’s a new touchscreen 17- speaker JBL premium multimedia audio system and digital radio, and heated second-row seats.
Kakadu gains rear diff lock, radar cruise, blind zone warning and a nineinch Blu-ray screen with three wireless headphones.
The unchanged 4.0-litre V6 petrol and 3.0-litre fourcylinder turbo diesel engines remain among the most frugal in the large 4WD class (11.5L/100km and 8.5L respectively).
Much quieter thanks to the addition of noise deadening between the cabin and the engine bay, the Prado still drives like the previous model.
The Prado may be able to conquer mountains but caution is still required for anyone considering making the leap from a regular car and into the driver’s seat of one of these. Its tall narrow body can feel nervous in corners. The chunky tyres are designed to avoid punctures in the desert, so they don’t have as much grip on regular roads. Only enthusiasts should apply.
If you want a large sevenseater for the school run buy a Kluger or Mazda CX-9. They’re nicer to drive and cheaper to buy.