TOYOTA PRADO GXL
The Pajero has tried and true tech and the Prado enjoys popularity at a premium price. Peter Barnwell checks their relative strengths.
Tradies and grey nomad buyers get reliability, resale and Toyota dealer back-up. The GXL 2.8-litre turbo diesel (130kW/450Nm) with six-speed auto claims 8.0L/100km. This is by far the most popular and best value, with satnav, ToyotaLink connected mobility, smart entry and start, 220V outlet, Bluetooth, alloys, seven seats, three zone climate control and 150L fuel capacity. Services are capped at $220 a throw.
It is a classic 4WD with body on ladder chassis and a live, solid rear axle with limited-slip diff for extricating oneself from sticky situations. The interior is well laid out and foolproof — even Bluetooth is easy to hook up. The seating layout is simple and with rows two and three folded down, the Prado has van-like load space.
The new diesel turns an “intelligent” auto, whose clever technology adapts to your driving environment and the demands placed on the vehicle. The engine’s balancers counter vibrations while the all-coil spring suspension smooths bumps. ToyotaLink connectivity brings relatively new features. The GXL lacks the more sophisticated driver assist tech but gets hill start and downhill assist. Foolproof constant 4WD, with high and low range and a lockable centre diff. Pretty darn good.
Seven airbags, three rear child seat anchorage points, reverse camera, safety cell body and chassis, rollover protection. The Prado has a well honed array of passenger protection and survival items, among them accident avoidance gear.
The 2435kg Prado is lethargic at best. There’s not much launch action and the mid-range is just acceptable. Soft suspension is great for wafting along but can be a bit too roly poly on some corners — it’s superb off-road, however. Minimal noise or vibration intrudes into the cabin. Steering input is light and indirect so the whole setup is on the comfy side. Towing limit is 2500kg, less than the Pajero and new Toyota stablemate Fortuner.