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.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

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.

DE­SIGN/TECH

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.

EN­GINE

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.

SAFETY

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.

DRIV­ING

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.

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